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ARM releases free Android development toolkit

Nov 28, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

ARM announced a free edition of its Eclipse-based development toolkit that's aimed at Android developers. ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5) Community Edition (CE) helps create performance- and power-optimized native software by integrating a graphical debugger for code generated for the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) and a version of the ARM Streamline Performance Analyzer, the company says.

Over the last year, there has been growing pressure from Linus Torvalds and others in the Linux community to clean up the increasingly messy ARM code base within the Linux kernel. Linux 3.0 was said to have consolidated some of this code — marked by versioning issues related to the numerous development components available for a growing number of ARM processors. Standardized Linux and Android tools developed by the ARM-backed Linaro development firm are also helping to address the challenge.

Now, ARM is tackling the problem head-on with an ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5) Community Edition (CE) toolkit for Android, supplied as an Eclipse plugin. DS-5 CE integrates with and complements the Android SDK and NDK kits, and offers an "easy to use environment for debugging and optimizing C/C++ code," says the processor IP design firm.


DS-5 CE's new ARM debugger

(Click to enlarge)

DS-5 CE permits development of Java and C/C++ code in the same Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE), says ARM. The new toolkit also helps exploit performance and energy-efficiency features in ARM native code, resulting in apps that can run up to four times faster than Java code, claims the company.

DS-5 CE includes "limited, but essential functionality" from the premium DS-5 toolkit, developed by ARM's Keil tools division. The key new tool is an integrated graphical debugger Eclipse plugin for NDK-generated code, according to ARM. Pictured earlier, the debugger is said to build on the Android Debug Bridge (adb) with a customized version of gdbserver that can be deployed with a debuggable application package (.apk).

The debugger eliminates the need for users to edit and run scripts from the command line. As explained in a ReadWriteWeb report, this solves a problem encountered by Android developers working within the Windows version of Eclipse. Typically, these developers use the Cygwin Linux hosting environment to run the "clunky" ndk-gdb command-line debugger, according to author Scott Fulton. Now, they can instead use a friendlier GUI app within Eclipse on Windows.

The new gdbserver application is said to offer more control over multithreaded applications, whether one is working with Windows or Linux versions of Eclipse. It also provides greater visibility to processor registers such as the multimedia-focused ARM NEON Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) registers, says the company. Fulton notes that this should help app developers improve video performance.


ARM Streamline Performance Analyzer, Community Edition

(Click to enlarge)

In addition, DS-5 CE features a tailored version of the ARM Streamline Performance Analyzer, which captures detailed, system-wide performance statistics from a variety of sources, says ARM. The DS-5 CE version of Streamline (pictured above) is said to help developers locate trouble-making "hotspots" in their code and isolate potential causes. An open source driver for Streamline is said to be available from the Linaro website.

According to a statement from Linaro platform technical director Alexander Sack, his company is working with ARM to deliver a "convenient developer experience for DS-5 CE as part of our Android images." This upcoming release will help DS-5 CE users "take full advantage of Linaro optimized images," he added.

Availability

ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5) Community Edition (CE) is now available at no cost to individuals and organizations with annual revenue of $100,000 or less, and up to 10 employees, says ARM. More information may be found at ARM's DS-5 CE web page.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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