C and C++ are widely used languages in the development of embedded systems. But both languages have their pitfalls which need to be avoided when the systems are safety-critical. One strategy is the usage of coding guidelines that define how the language should be used and which constructs should be avoided.
Some of the most well-known standards are the MISRA family, which are widely supported by commercial tools. The new AUTOSAR specification "Guidelines for the use of the C++14 language in critical and safety-related systems" is an important contribution to the field.
Seven years ago, we already blogged about using the Eclipse C-Development environment (CDT) for interactive MISRA checks that are displayed directly while the developer edits the code (find the article here). At that time, we did not pursue the activity much further, since MISRA-C licensing was quite incompatible with an open source implementation.
The AUTOSAR guidelines with their licensing offer new opportunities.
Technology behind Eclipse CDT
The Eclipse CDT project contains a subproject called CODAN, which provides a framework for extending code checks in the C/C++ IDE. The check-developer registers an Eclipse extension and implements a class, which will get called during validation. The class is being passed the information about the source code as an abstract syntax tree (AST), so no parsing is required.
The AUTOSAR C++ specification contains the following code guideline:
Rule M6-3-1 (required, implementation, automated)
The statement forming the body of a switch, while, do ... while or for statement shall be a compound statement.
This can easily be implemented through Codan:
While the MISRA licenses seemed very limiting for open source / community source activities, the AUTOSAR license provides more options. The Artop community already provides a framework for the implementation of AUTOSAR tools, which is freely available to all AUTOSAR members and would be a candidate for hosting such an activity. It would really be interesting to see if there is enough interest in the industry to collectively drive such a project.