Inquiry about a VHDL signal tracer tool...

Discussion in 'VHDL' started by Debashish, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Debashish

    Debashish Guest

    Hi guys,

    This is my 1st message to the group.I work as a VHDL programmer. I
    have a hard time in analyzing the hierarchy and then tracing the
    signals i.e. where a signal is generated and to which component it
    goes to. Now i am personally vewing...or verifying the
    code. Will some help me to find a tool that automatically generates
    this kinda report thus saving enormous amount of precious time..

    Debashish Hota
    Developemnet Engineer
    Xalted Networks
    Debashish, Aug 8, 2003
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  2. Load your design into any good simulator (ModelSim, NC, etc, etc)
    running in GUI mode. The simulator will give you a graphical
    (tree) view of the hierarchy, and should also offer you a "dataflow"
    or similar display that lets you locate sources and destinations
    of any signal, and which signals are connected to any hierarchy

    Jonathan Bromley, Consultant

    DOULOS - Developing Design Know-how
    VHDL * Verilog * SystemC * Perl * Tcl/Tk * Verification * Project Services

    Doulos Ltd. Church Hatch, 22 Market Place, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 1AW, UK
    Tel: +44 (0)1425 471223 mail:
    Fax: +44 (0)1425 471573 Web:

    The contents of this message may contain personal views which
    are not the views of Doulos Ltd., unless specifically stated.
    Jonathan Bromley, Aug 8, 2003
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  3. debussy from Novas ( and HDL Designer
    ( from Mentor Graphics are excellent tools for
    tracing signal hierarchy graphically.

    Michael P. Jenkins Brown, Aug 8, 2003

  4. To quickly find the files and line numbers,
    if you have the system command "grep" available,
    from the source directory you can say:

    grep -n my_sig_name *.vhd

    For maintainable wires, make your top level
    entity out of direct instances with named
    associations. Like this:

    -- Component instances are direct to eliminate component
    -- declarations. The only component that might need indirect
    -- instances is the device level entity because we might want
    -- to configure the top level for a source code architecture and or
    -- for a timing netlist architecture from quartus. Since these are
    -- all internal entities, only the source architectures will ever
    -- be needed.

    hdlc_1 : entity work.hdlc
    port map (reset => reset, -- [in]
    rx_clk => rx_clk, -- [in]
    rx_clk_dis => rx_clk_dis, -- [in]
    sys_clk => sys_clk, -- [in]
    bitstream => bitstream, -- [in]
    crc32not16 => crc32not16, -- [in]
    octet_valid => octet_valid_wire, -- [out]
    octet_count => octet_count_wire, -- [out]
    eop => eop_wire, -- [out]
    sop => sop_wire, -- [out] -- not used

    octet_out => octet_out_wire, -- [out]
    error_code => error_code); -- [out]

    hdlc2packet_1 : entity work.hdlc2packet

    port map (reset => reset, -- [in]
    clk => sys_clk, -- [in]
    octet_in => octet_out_wire, -- [in]
    octet_valid => octet_valid_wire, -- [in]
    octet_count => octet_count_wire, -- [in]
    eop => eop_wire, -- [in]
    packet_bus => packet_bus,
    word_valid => word_valid, -- [out]
    packet_start => packet_start, -- [out]
    packet_end => packet_end, -- [out]
    end_ona_byte => end_ona_byte); -- [out]
    --- etc, etc
    Then all the wires and ports are in one file.
    All you need is an editor search to check or fix them.

    Use some suffix like _s or _wire on wire signals so you can tell
    port to port connections from wired connections.

    There are graphical hierarchy viewers available,
    but I find these ponderously slow for large designs.

    Note that emacs vhdl-mode will do a lot of this work for you.

    -- Mike Treseler
    Mike Treseler, Aug 8, 2003
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