BUGSENG’s 2019 review and 2020 vision

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 11:29

Launching new products, speaking at international conferences, running training courses and publishing papers. It’s been an incredibly busy and successful year for BUGSENG. We asked CTO, Roberto Bagnara, to give us a brief round up of what’s been happening in 2019 and reveal some of BUGSENG’s plans for next year.

It’s been a highly successful year for BUGSENG; are there any particular achievements that stand out for you?

The launch of our ECLAIR Qualification Kits was a great achievement that has had a significant impact on the way we work. They are the culmination of three years of intensive research, development and learning by the BUGSENG team. Most importantly, they can save development, Quality Assurance, and functional safety teams an enormous amount of time and money.

On a personal level, in November I visited India for the first time. Our distributor for APAC, Menlopark Technologies Limited, organized a series of successful events in Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai, where we gave presentations on static analysis and MISRA C. As well as being a fascinating experience for me personally to travel around some of this great country, I was also delighted to receive such a warm welcome at all the events.

We had lots of audience participation and interesting questions. It was obvious to me that there is a high level of expertise in the industry there. They have an understanding and appreciation of the importance of high quality tools in safety related software development.

You have also published some important papers this year. Can you tell us a little about those?

My colleague Dr Patricia Hill and I have been working on a joint paper with Michael Barr. As co-founder of the Barr Group, Michael became famous for his role as an expert witness testifying in the Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration Litigation case in the USA in 2013. Our paper discusses the relationship between BARR-C: 2018 and MISRA C: 2012 and will be officially published at the Embedded World conference in Nuremberg in February next year.

I also published the ‘That’s C, Baby, C!’ paper. This was a much shorter paper but one that had a surprisingly significant impact. I wanted to write this because I felt there were some fundamental aspects of the C/C++ programming languages that were very difficult to explain in a clear and accessible way. These aspects have a crucial impact on static analysis, so it is very important they are fully appreciated: this is one area where our ECLAIR tool is miles ahead of our competitors.

The idea for the paper has been swirling around in my head for a long time but I was not sure exactly how to approach it. Obviously, I simply had to wait until the time was right because, when I was ready, I wrote the paper in less than a day. I’m extremely glad I did; we’ve used it in several presentations and courses and people have said that now it is all very clear.

You’ve run more training courses this year. Has that been a useful experience?

We had an explosion in requests for courses on MISRA coding standards so we ran lots of training courses across Italy. That can be exhausting but it is also hugely valuable to us. It means we are in touch with our customers and indeed engineers who are using other verification tools.

The big advantage for us is that we get a much deeper understanding of their needs. This is enlightening. I guess as a university professor I am used to doing a lot of the talking but it is also good for me to listen. I enjoy discussing our customers’ needs and understanding what is missing in the tools they use; this customer feedback is invaluable to us.

Has this customer feedback informed your plans for 2020?

Very much so. We’ll be launching two new, technical updates to our ECLAIR tool next year as a direct result of some of the conversations we’ve had with people at our events. The new versions of ECLAIR will include a brand new approach to IDE integration. This required us to solve a number of technical and commercial problems: we are now able to offer to all our customers (including those who only have a 1-user license) IDE integration without sacrificing the power of the interaction with the ECLAIR detailed report browser. We will start with the Eclipse IDE and proceed with other IDEs later in the year.

Another feature that will be available in 2020 releases of ECLAIR is a powerful mechanism for report tagging and selection that will allow users to easily deal with adopted code (e.g., legacy, library, third party or automatically generated code) as well as prioritize their work.

In many vital aspects, our ECLAIR tool already offers some of the best functionality on the market. Now, with these improvements, I believe we will also offer the best functionality in the area of IDE integration and work productivity.

Do you have any other plans for 2020 that you can tell us about?

We will start the year with more travelling and events. I will be giving a joint talk on “The Use of C in Compliance with ISO 26262: MISRA C and Compiler Qualification” with Marcel Beemster of Solid Sands at Functional Safety Training. Then in February, we are returning to Embedded World.

Now in its 18th year, Embedded World is the leading international exhibition and conference for embedded systems. It attracts over 30,000 trade visitors to meet and learn from over 1,000 exhibitors and speakers from across the world. I presented there for the first time in 2019 and I’m delighted to have been invited back.

This year, my presentation will be based on our joint paper with Michael Barr about the relationship between BARR-C: 2018 and MISRA C: 2012. We’ll also have a stand at the exhibition as that is a good opportunity for our team to meet with current and potential customers. We’ll be sharing more details about the conference in the New Year and we hope to see some of you in Nuremberg.

Thank you, Roberto.


Finally, we would like to wish all our readers a happy and peaceful holiday season, wherever you are in the world. Our office will be closed for our own celebrations between December 23rd and January 6th but we look forward to meeting and working with many of you again in 2020.

Roberto Bagnara, Ph.D is CTO of BUGSENG, a leading provider of solutions and services for static code analysis. He is also a member of the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG14 - C Standardization Working Group and the MISRA C Working Group.




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