Improving VHDL soft-cores reuse with software-like reviews and audits procedures

Design reuse of electronic components is clearly a key issue. Hard virtual component reuse is a reality, and mechanisms to properly perform it are already in place. However, soft-core reuse is not as well developed, due to the lack of similar mechanisms and specific tools to support the involved processes. Addressing this point, three VHDL navigation tools are presented, together with a reference to the suggested processes for improving VHDL soft-core library reuse. The tools are integrated in the VHDL-ICE environment to obtain design library management support, through an intranet and the Internet, tightly coupled to the specific build mechanisms of VHDL descriptions. These tools are useful to both the intellectual property producer and the customer. They help to better understand and reuse soft-cores and to ease the adoption of mechanisms coming from the software development world, such as those associated with source code inspection and walkthrough processes, to perform soft-core reviews and auditing procedures

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