4700 Software Development

From Technologic Systems Manuals

Most of our examples are going to be in C, but Debian will include support for many more programming languages. Including (but not limited to) C++, PERL, PHP, SH, Java, BASIC, TCL, and Python. Most of the functionality from our software examples can be done from using system calls to run our userspace utilities. For higher performance, you will need to either use C/C++ or find functionally equivalent ways to perform the same actions as our examples. Our userspace applications are all designed to go through a TCP interface. By looking at the source for these applications, you can learn our protocol for communicating with the hardware interfaces in any language.

The most common method of development is directly on the SBC. Since debian has space available on the SD card, we include the build-essentials package which comes with everything you need to do C/C++ development on the board.


Vim is a very common editor to use in Linux. While it isn't the most intuitive at a first glance, you can run 'vimtutor' to get a ~30 minute instruction on how to use this editor. Once you get past the initial learning curve it can make you very productive. You can find the vim documentation here.

Emacs is another very common editor. Similar to vim, it is difficult to learn but rewarding in productivity. You can find documentation on emacs here.

Nano while not as commonly used for development is the easiest. It doesn't have as many features to assist in code development, but is much simpler to begin using right away. If you've used 'edit' on Windows/DOS, this will be very familiar. You can find nano documentation here.


We only recommend the gnu compiler collection. There are many other commercial compilers which can also be used, but will not be supported by us. You can install gcc on most boards in Debian by simply running 'apt-get update && apt-get install build-essential'. This will include everything needed for standard development in c/c++.

You can find the gcc documentation here. You can find a simple hello world tutorial for c++ with gcc here.

Build tools

When developing your application typing out the compiler commands with all of your arguments would take forever. The most common way to handle these build systems is using a make file. This lets you define your project sources, libraries, linking, and desired targets. You can read more about makefiles here.

If you are building an application intended to be more portable than on this one system, you can also look into the automake tools which are intended to help make that easier. You can find an introduction to the autotools here.

Cmake is another alternative which generates a makefile. This is generally simpler than using automake, but is not as mature as the automake tools. You can find a tutorial here.


Linux has a few tools which are very helpful for debugging code. The first of which is gdb (part of the gnu compiler collection). This lets you run your code with breakpoints, get backgraces, step forward or backward, and pick apart memory while your application executes. You can find documentation on gdb here.

Strace will allow you to watch how your application interacts with the running kernel which can be useful for diagnostics. You can find the manual page here.

Ltrace will do the same thing with any generic library. You can find the manual page here.