porting - .TH "porting" 3 "Thu Aug 12 2010" "Version 1.6.8" "avr-libc"
porting - .SH "Introduction"
C language was designed to be a portable language. There two main types
of porting activities: porting an application to a different platform
(OS and/or processor), and porting to a different compiler. Porting to
a different compiler can be exacerbated when the application is an
embedded system. For example, the C language Standard, strangely, does
not specify a standard for declaring and defining Interrupt Service
Routines (ISRs). Different compilers have different ways of defining
registers, some of which use non-standard language constructs.
This chapter describes some methods and pointers on porting an AVR
application built with the IAR compiler to the GNU toolchain (AVR GCC).
Note that this may not be an exhaustive list.
IO header files contain identifiers for all the register names and bit
names for a particular processor. IAR has individual header files for
each processor and they must be included when registers are being used
in the code. For example:
IAR does not always use the same register names or bit names that
are used in the AVR datasheet.
AVR GCC also has individual IO header files for each processor.
However, the actual processor type is specified as a command line flag
to the compiler. (Using the -mmcu=processor flag.) This is usually done
in the Makefile. This allows you to specify only a single header file
for any processor type:
The forward slash in the <avr/io.h> file name that is used to
separate subdirectories can be used on Windows distributions of the
toolchain and is the recommended method of including this file.
The compiler knows the processor type and through the single header
file above, it can pull in and include the correct individual IO header
file. This has the advantage that you only have to specify one generic
header file, and you can easily port your application to another
processor type without having to change every file to include the new
IO header file.
The AVR toolchain tries to adhere to the exact names of the registers
and names of the bits found in the AVR datasheet. There may be some
descrepencies between the register names found in the IAR IO header
files and the AVR GCC IO header files.
Interrupt Service Routines (ISRs)
As mentioned above, the C language Standard, strangely, does not
specify a standard way of declaring and defining an ISR. Hence, every
compiler seems to have their own special way of doing so.
IAR declares an ISR like so:
__interrupt void MotorPWMBottom()
In AVR GCC, you declare an ISR like so:
AVR GCC uses the ISR macro to define an ISR. This macro requries the
The names of the various interrupt vectors are found in the individual
processor IO header files that you must include with <avr/io.h>.
The names of the interrupt vectors in AVR GCC has been changed to
match the names of the vectors in IAR. This significantly helps in
porting applications from IAR to AVR GCC.
IAR has a number of intrinsic routine such as
__enable_interrupts() __disable_interrupts() __watchdog_reset()
These intrinsic functions compile to specific AVR opcodes (SEI, CLI,
There are equivalent macros that are used in AVR GCC, however they are
not located in a single include file.
AVR GCC has sei() for __enable_interrupts(), and cli() for
__disable_interrupts(). Both of these macros are located in
AVR GCC has the macro wdt_reset() in place of __watchdog_reset().
However, there is a whole Watchdog Timer API available in AVR GCC that
can be found in <avr/wdt.h>.
The C language was not designed for Harvard architecture processors
with separate memory spaces. This means that there are various non-
standard ways to define a variable whose data resides in the Program
IAR uses a non-standard keyword to declare a variable in Program
__flash int mydata = ....
AVR GCC uses Variable Attributes to achieve the same effect:
int mydata __attribute__((progmem))
See the GCC User Manual for more information about Variable
avr-libc provides a convenience macro for the Variable Attribute:
int mydata PROGMEM = ....
The PROGMEM macro expands to the Variable Attribute of progmem.
This macro requires that you include <avr/pgmspace.h>. This is the
canonical method for defining a variable in Program Space.
To read back flash data, use the pgm_read_*() macros defined in
<avr/pgmspace.h>. All Program Memory handling macros are defined there.
There is also a way to create a method to define variables in Program
Memory that is common between the two compilers (IAR and AVR GCC).
Create a header file that has these definitions:
#if defined(__ICCAVR__) // IAR C Compiler
#define FLASH_DECLARE(x) __flash x
#if defined(__GNUC__) // GNU Compiler
#define FLASH_DECLARE(x) x __attribute__((__progmem__))
This code snippet checks for the IAR compiler or for the GCC compiler
and defines a macro FLASH_DECLARE(x) that will declare a variable in
Program Memory using the appropriate method based on the compiler that
is being used. Then you would used it like so:
FLASH_DECLARE(int mydata = ...);
To declare main() to be a non-returning function in IAR, it is done
__C_task void main(void)
To do the equivalent in AVR GCC, do this:
void main(void) __attribute__((noreturn));
See the GCC User Manual for more information on Function
In AVR GCC, a prototype for main() is required so you can declare the
function attribute to specify that the main() function is of type
'noreturn'. Then, define main() as normal. Note that the return type
for main() is now void.
The IAR compiler allows a user to lock general registers from r15 and
down by using compiler options and this keyword syntax:
__regvar __no_init volatile unsigned int filteredTimeSinceCommutation @14;
This line locks r14 for use only when explicitly referenced in your
code thorugh the var name 'filteredTimeSinceCommutation'. This means
that the compiler cannot dispose of it at its own will.
To do this in AVR GCC, do this:
register unsigned char counter asm('r3');
Typically, it should be possible to use r2 through r15 that way.
Do not reserve r0 or r1 as these are used internally by the
compiler for a temporary register and for a zero value.
Locking registers is not recommended in AVR GCC as it removes this
register from the control of the compiler, which may make code
generation worse. Use at your own risk.