Umberto Zanghieri

I work at ZP Engineering [1 ], located in Rome (Italy), doing firmware and DSP development. I started playing with Tcl in 1999 after a friend suggested to use it for rapid testing and prototyping. The quality and friendliness of the tcl newsgroup has been an incentive to work with Tcl.

Since then, we have been using it for PCI card testing (nothing comes close to Tcl during debug when specs are not completely clear), parallel port access, verification of serial low-level protocols, testing of socket-based protocols.

On top of that, there is Tcl available in the VisualDSP environment by Analog Devices for DSP development [2 ], and it proves to be very powerful; we made very quickly profiling reports on file when optimizing voice compression algorithms on the simulator.

We decided to make LPTTCL [3 ] for Windows freely available as it's simple and requires no additional driver licenses.

We are currently investigating integration of scripting engines in embedded industrial devices (with custom OS or uClinux).

2007-12-21: we are now selling ThePod, an USB-based debug adapter [4 ] which offers a master SPI interface, up to 6 Mbps, and a separate UART. Currently we support the Windows platform. We include a TCL extension in addition to a DLL for compiled (VB, C/C++)applications. Several designs have been using ThePod for interacting with FPGA registers, testing embedded memories, verifying communication protocols over SPI. Typically, we provide a single executable (freewrapped) plus DLLs to our customers.