Software Engineering Consultant, Zühlke
Google’s “Protocol Buffers” for Embedded
Morgan Kita has been one of Zühlke Engineering GmBH’s expert software engineering consultants for nearly 4 years. There he focuses on the development of embedded firmware for their clients as well as infrastructure for improving testing and deployment cycles. In conjunction with 10 years in the biotechnology and game programming sectors, he is a developer with a broad range of software experience and enjoys both learning and sharing ideas on how to get the most out of today’s technologies.
The software industry relies more and more on the wealth of reusable assets available from the open source community. Assets that span all branches of software and which allow teams to rapidly speed up development times while simultaneously providing more stable products. However, open source has not always been a clear-cut choice for embedded firmware running on deployed devices. Instead such software is traditionally tailor made or relies on propriety middle ware and is often viewed as closely tied to the intellectual property of the owner. In this case study, a success story is presented from applying Google’s open source “Protocol Buffers” framework as the basis for the core communication stack of a pre-production medical device. Included is an overview of the where’s and why’s of the technology, alternatives, a look at the integration and implementation, licensing considerations, and an analysis of the costs and benefits of the technology in the realm of embedded software.