Why Build Pigweed?#
Our goal is to make embedded software development efficient, robust, and heck, even delightful, for projects ranging from weekend Arduino experiements to commercial products selling in the millions.
Embedded software development is notoriously arcane. Developers often have to track down vendor toolchains specific to the hardware they’re targeting, write their code against hardware-specfic SDKs/HALs, and limit themselves to a small subset of C. Project teams are on their own to figure out how to set up a build system, automated testing, serial communication, and many other embedded project fundamentals. This is error prone and takes effort away from developing the actual product!
There are solutions on the market that promise to solve all of these problems with a monolithic framework—just write your code against the framework and use hardware the framework supports, and you get an efficient embedded development environment. But this approach doesn’t work well for existing projects that weren’t built on the framework from the beginning or for projects that have specific needs the framework wasn’t designed for. We know from experience that this approach alone doesn’t meet our goal.
So we have set out to build a platform that supports successful embedded developers at every scale by allowing them to adopt as much or as little of what Pigweed provides as they need, in the way that works best for their project.
How Pigweed Works#
Pigweed provides four foundational pillars to support your embedded development:
Embedded Development Libraries#
Pigweed enables you to use modern C++ and software development best practices in your embedded project without compromising performance or increasing memory use compared to conventional embedded C.
These modules are designed to work both on your host machine and on a wide variety of target devices. We achieve this by writing them in an inherently portable way, or through the facade/backend pattern. As a result, you can write most or all of your code to run transparently on your host machine and targets.
Managing toolchains, build systems, and other software needed for a project is complex. Pigweed provides all of this out of the box for Linux, Mac, and Windows systems in a sealed environment that leaves the rest of your system untouched. Getting new developers started is as simple as cloning your project repository and activating the Pigweed environment.
Pigweed modules are built to integrate seamlessly into projects using GN. We are rapidly expanding our good support for CMake and nascent support for Bazel so you can use your build system of choice. For new projects, Pigweed provides a build system you can integrate your own code into that works out of the box.
Full Framework (coming in 2022)#
For those who want a fully-integrated solution that provides everything Pigweed has to offer with an opinionated project structure, we are working diligently on a Pigweed framework. Stay tuned for more news to come! In the meantime, we invite you to discuss this and collaborate with us on Discord.
Is Pigweed Right for My Project?#
Pigweed is still in its early stages, and while we have ambitious plans for it, Pigweed might not be the right fit for your project today. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Many individual modules are stable and are running on shipped devices today. If any of those modules meet your needs, you should feel safe bringing them into your project.
Some modules are in very early and active stages of development. They likely have unstable APIs and may not work on all supported targets. If this is the case, it will be indicated in the module’s documentation. If you’re interested in contributing to the development of one of these modules, we encourage you to experiment with them. Otherwise they aren’t ready for use in most projects.
Setting up new projects to use Pigweed is currently not very easy, but we are working to address that. In the meantime, join the Pigweed community on Discord to get help.
Supported language versions#
Most Pigweed code requires C++17, but a few modules, such as pw_kvs and pw_tokenizer, work with C++14. All Pigweed code is compatible with C++20. Pigweed defines toolchains for testing with C++14 and C++20; see host target documentation for more information.
Pigweed officially supports Python 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10.