Series On Embedded Development (Part 1)

This is the first in a series of entries on developing applications for the embedded environment. Most of this information is relevant to any type of embedded development (and even for desktop and server too), not just Java. This information is based on a talk Hinkmond Wong and I gave at JavaOne 2012 entitled Reducing Dynamic Memory in Java Embedded Applications.

One thing to remember when developing embeddded applications is that memory matters. Yes, memory matters in desktop and server environments as well, but there's just plain less of it in embedded devices. So I'm going to write about saving this precious resource as well as another precious resource, CPU cycles...and a bit about power too. CPU matters too, and again, in embedded devices, there's just plain less of it. What you'll find, no surprise, is that there's a trade-off between performance and memory. To get better performance, you need to use more memory, and to save more memory, you need to need to use more CPU cycles.

I'll be discussing three Memory Reduction Categories:

- Optionality, both build-time and runtime. Optionality is about providing options so you can get rid of the stuff you don't need and include the stuff you do need.

- Tunability, which is about providing options so you can tune your application by trading performance for size, and vice-versa.

- Efficiency, which is about balancing size savings with performance.

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Darryl Mocek

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