Our JumpStart C compiler technologies are built from the ground up to best address the specific requirements of embedded systems programming. Our compilers are small, fast, and generate excellent and efficient code. 

(for information on the GCC compiler in the JumpStart Embedded Tools for Cortex products, please see the official page from GNU)

The source of a C program is typically separated into multiple source files, so that it is easier to write and maintain. The source files are processed by multiple programs, eventually resulting in a “program image” that can be download to the microcontroller. The term “C Compiler” is commonly used to refer to the entire chain of tools, even though properly speaking, a C compiler is only one part out of many. In a narrow definition, a C compiler translates a C source file into assembly code for the target CPU.

JumpStart C compilers feature:

  • C processing tools written from the ground up, load and runs fast, not based on GCC or Small C, etc.
  • User-friendly messages
  • ANSI C (C90 and C99) compatible, including anonymous structs/unions, interspersed declarations and statements, "C with Classes", 64-bit long longs, and double precision floating point.
  • Support for a subset of MISRA Safety checks.
  • Multiple optimizations, including function-level Machine-Independent Optimization, algebraic and switch table optimizations, generation of optimal code using target instructions and addressing modes.
  • Atmel AVR compilers include the industry's first Whole Program Compression optimizer.
  • Target-specific instructions generations and optimizations. The Cortex-M compilers generate IT instructions when appropriate. The Atmel AVR compilers have additional __flash keywords for "no-work" access to the AVR's Harvard architecture features.
  • Generated interspersed C and assembly listings, symbolic debug files.

For more information regarding our JumpStart tools, please see "Why JumpStart Tools".

A Customer Comment on JumpStart C for AVR Efficiency:

I have been using Imagecraft AVR compilers for a decade now and there have been massive improvements over the years. Apart from the aforementioned support which is very good, I feel that the code generated is also very good. I am using this compiler for a product where processing time is critical and I have made it a habit to often check the generated assembly and also measure parts of code using one of the timers. I go to great lengths to save a few microseconds if possible.

A few examples: If I need to run through an array of structs and have to access individual fields, I never take the the indexed approach. {ImageCraft - traditionally, it is said that using pointers may produce faster code, even though it may make the code less readable } Instead, I run the loop and at the beginning I set a pointer to the list member and access all struct fields through this pointer. So I also to the same approach when using arrays of bytes where I also have to keep track of the byte pointer, such as in a fifo. After the update to V8 it turns out that accessing an array was much faster. Below is a clipping of my notes at the time:

In store_nmea_char() a received character is stored with the following code:

    *sbuf->ptail++ = c;


This takes 27 cycles. When this is replaced with

     sbuf->data[sbuf->length++] = c;

it takes 14 cycles.

Now for the floating point part: In this same product, I need to store and process sensor values like wind speed and direction. To speed up things, I avoided floats as long a possible. Since I only need to process at 1/10th or 1/100th (digital places), and values are received in ASCII strings, I had replaced atoi() by my own atoi10() and atoi100() functions. So a value received as 25.67 would be stored and processed internally as 2567. At a later stage, these values needed to be converted back to either text or a real float value.

After the update to JumpStart C for AVR, it turned out that some of these calculations were actually faster when using floats right from the start.

-- Meindert Sprang

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