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Reviews of
Register Design Tools

Register Design Tools are tools that generate hardware, firmware, and documentation files from one register design file. These tools align with efforts to improve collaboration between hardware and firmware teams, helping them to more effectively develop embedded products. Read this book excerpt for a discussion on the benefits of this type of tool.

The following table compares the different brands of tools, though not all parties have provided the requested information. Last updated: Nov 8, 2011.

 
Product
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Version 10/24/2011 1.32 3.8 5.3 1.11 464
Webpage Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link
Vendor Semifore, Inc. Chuck Benz ASIC and FPGA Design Atrenta Agnisys Inc. Magillem Duolog Technologies PDTi Veripool
Product type Commercial Open Source Commercial Commercial Commercial Commercial Commercial Open Source
Interview Interview Interview Interview Interview Interview
 
System Specifications
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Tool Location
Local Yes Yes TBD Yes Yes Yes TBD Yes
Client/server Yes Yes Yes
Server Yes Yes Yes
Private cloud Yes
Public cloud Yes Yes
Operating System
Windows XP, Vista, 7 Any Any XP, Windows 7 XP, Windows 7 Any
Linux Red Hat 4, 5, 6
Centos 4, 5, 6
Suse 10,11
Any Any Redhat Redhat
Centos
Suse
Ubuntu
Any
Cloud Windows or Linux
Other Any OS with Perl Any OS with Perl
Licensing
Open source Yes Yes
One per site Yes Yes Yes Yes
One per seat Yes Yes Yes
Design size Yes
Trial Available Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other GPL or Perl Artistic
 
Using the Tool
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Primary User Interface
Text editor Yes Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes
Vendor GUI Yes
Third-party tool Yes Yes Yes Yes
Browser
Register Design Files
Plain text or binary Plain text Plain text Plain text and binary Plain text Plain text
File format name CSRSpec, SystemRDL,
IP-XACT, CSV
csrGen format,
.csrs extension
Word, Excel, OpenOffice, Text XML .vregs
Format basis CSRSpec is a superset Developed for csrGen, includes some verilog XML IP-XACT XML Internal format
Version controllable Yes Yes Yes Yes2 Yes
Diffable Yes Yes Yes3 Yes2 Yes
 
Register Design
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Architecture
Hierarchy Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes
Multiple instantiations Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Parameterized instantiations Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multi-core Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bit Fields
Supported bit types Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Specify bit width Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Reset value Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Registers
Data bus width Yes Yes Yes Yes
Specify bit types and mix Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multi-core assignments Yes Yes Yes
Documentation
Long text Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Text formatting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Extended character sets Yes Yes Yes
Tables Yes Yes Yes Yes
Objects Yes Yes Yes Yes
 
Process Files
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
How?
Within editor application Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes TBD
Separate application
Command line Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Batch Yes Yes Yes
Build Specification
Subset build Yes Yes Yes
Make-like facility Yes Yes Yes
Documentation contents Yes Yes Yes Yes
Error Checking
Real-time checking Yes Yes
Compile-time checking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Error details Yes Yes Yes Yes
Attempts to keep processing Yes Limited Yes Yes Yes
Context-sensitive help Yes Yes
 
Import File Formats
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Industry Formats
IEEE 1685 (IP-XACT) Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes TBD
SystemRDL Yes Yes Yes
XML Yes Yes Yes Upon request
CSV Yes Yes Yes
Competitor's Formats
Bitwise Upon request Yes
Blueprint Yes Upon request Upon request
csrGen Yes Upon request Upon request
CSRSpec Yes Upon request Upon request
GenSys Registers Upon request Upon request
IDesignSpec Yes Upon request
SpectaReg Upon request Upon request
Vregs Upon request Upon request Yes
Others Word, Excel, OpenOffice
Customizable Import
User customizable Limited user customizable Fully user customizable Fully user customizable Fully user customizable
Leverage built-in parsers No Yes Yes Yes
Learning curve for user Hard Easy Easy Medium
Importing framework Perl User specifies templates Ruby, Perl, structured templates Perl
 
Output File Formats
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Hardware: Design Formats:
Verilog Yes Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes
VHDL Yes Yes Yes
SystemC Yes Yes Yes Yes
SystemVerilog Yes Yes Yes
Hardware: Verification Formats
OVM Yes Yes Yes
VVM Yes Yes Yes
UVM Yes Yes Yes
RALF Yes Yes Yes
RAL Yes Yes Yes
openVera Yes Upon request Upon request
Hardware: Virtual Prototypes
Synopsys Innovator Yes Yes
Hardware: Processor Support
X86 Yes Yes Yes
ARM Yes Yes Yes
Hardware: Bus Protocol Support
AMBA-AHB Yes Yes Yes
AMBA-APB Yes Yes
AVALON Yes Yes Yes
OCP Yes Yes
Firmware: Languages
C Yes Yes Yes Yes
C++ Yes Yes Yes Yes
C# Upon request Yes
Java Upon request Upon request
Firmware: Operating Systems
Windows Yes Yes Yes
WinCE Upon request Yes
Linux Yes Yes Yes
Android Upon request Yes
Firmware: Processor support
X86 Yes Yes
ARM Yes Yes
Documentation Formats
HTML Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
DHTML Yes Yes Yes
PDF Yes Yes
RTF Yes Yes Yes
FrameMaker Yes Yes Yes Yes
MS Word Yes Yes Yes Yes
SVG Yes Yes
DITA Upon request Yes Yes
DocBook XML Yes Yes Yes
 
Export and Customized Output
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Industry Formats
IEEE 1685 (IP-XACT) Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes TBD
SystemRDL Yes Yes Yes
XML Yes Yes Yes
CSV Yes Yes Yes
Competitor's Formats
Bitwise Upon request Yes
Blueprint Yes Upon request Upon request
csrGen Upon request Yes Upon request Upon request
CSRSpec Yes Upon request Upon request
GenSys Registers Upon request Upon request
IDesignSpec Yes Upon request
SpectaReg Upon request Upon request
Vregs Upon request Upon request Upon request Yes
Others Word, Excel, OpenOffice
Customizable Output
User customizable Fully user customizable Limited user customizable Fully user customizable Fully user customizable Fully user customizable
Leverage built-in generators Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Learning curve for user Easy Medium Easy Easy Medium
Exporting framework Perl Perl Tcl API, XML, Perl, Python Perl, Ruby, Freemarker templates Perl
 
Sequencer Tool
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Sequencer Tool Info
Name of sequencer tool n/a n/a n/a ISequenceSpec TBD Socrates Sequencer n/a n/a
Syntax for specifying sequences MS Word table with C and natural language C plus extensions
Generate flowcharts Yes Yes
Import Formats Supported
C No
C++ No
Files Generated
C Yes Yes
C++ Yes
Customizable Yes
SpecmanE Yes
OVM Yes
UVM Yes Yes
VVM Yes
HVL Yes
PDF Yes?
HTML Yes
DOC Yes
Doxygen
 
Service/Support
Tool name1 CSRCompiler™ csrGen GenSys® Registers IDesignSpec™ MRV - Magillem Register View Socrates Bitwise™ SpectaReg™ Vregs
Service
Porting support Yes TBD Yes TBD Yes TBD
Customization support Yes Yes
Methodology consultation Yes Yes
On-site support Yes Yes
Phone support Yes Yes Yes
Email/online-form support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Training/Help
Printed manuals/tutorials Yes Yes Yes Yes
Installed help files/tutorials Yes Yes Yes Yes
Online help files/tutorials Yes Yes Yes
Context-sensitive help Yes Yes
Classroom with live instructor Yes Yes
Live webinar Yes Yes
Pre-recorded webinars/videos Yes Yes
Self-paced computer instruction Yes
FAQ Yes Yes
Users forum Yes Yes
Other
  1. All names of the tools are trademarked as indicated by their respective companies.
  2. In addition to using third-party version control and diff tools, this tool has built-in version control and diff capabilities.
  3. A diffing capability also exists for the binary files.

Disclaimer: Gary Stringham & Associates may be in a non-exclusive partnership agreement with one or more of these vendors for the purpose of improving and promoting these tools but is not being compensated for the promotion or sales of these tools.


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