A few months back I began noticing ads in my email window about a tool for VHDL design called, “Sigasi HDT”. Being a hardware developer, I was naturally intrigued and looked at their website. The picture on the landing page soon had me chuckling, and as I read about Sigasi HDT and the philosophy behind it, I realized how apt it was to show a caveman staring in wondrous surprise at a computer screen.
Programmers in the software industry generally have it better than hardware designers in terms of development IDEs, wouldn’t you agree? The GUIs are easier to use and have features that have more to do with the actual code under development rather than just syntax highlighting. For example, tracing a variable in all its incarnations throughout a software project is made a lot easier with some of the better IDEs out there. Some help to simple avoid making common errors would be a boon.
In the hardware world, I haven’t heard of any IDE like that. Until Sigasi HDT came along, that is. In Sigasi’s words, “It differs from other development tools in that it contains an ultra-fast VHDL parser and compiler that runs transparently in the background.” There seems to be many features of note with refactoring a highlight. Refactoring, in my crudely-expressed terms, means cleaning up code, making it shorter and better.
I’ll be looking to dive into Sigasi HDT a little more, but it seems like the Sigasi folks understand the little details that would make life easier for hardware designers. In terms of logistics they have Sigasi HDT in the form of an Eclipse plugin so that it’s easier for people to install Sigasi HDT into their current design environment. (We hope there will be a web version too, in future!)
Through a series of Tweets and blogs, Kirvy and I had the pleasure of connecting and eventually speaking with Philippe, one of Sigasi’s founders. We exchanged ideas and talked a little about the visions for our respective companies. It was nice to learn that they are now offering free educational licenses to academia.
It’s a breath of fresh air to see products like this.