Each PCA card comes standard with a royalty-free software development kit, or SDK. The software development kit contains all basic board support routines for the PCA card. This provides an advanced starting point for customers to develop their own VHDL or Verilog firmware that runs on the PCA card. A simple-to-use application programming interface (API) allows access to all PCA capabilities without writing hardware-specific code. This frees PCA customers to concentrate on developing customer-specific firmware, such as signal processing algorithms.
SDK also contains a hardware device driver, used to access the PCA card from a customer's host computer system. Shell scripts are provided to install the PCA device driver automatically. Accessing the device driver from a customer's program is easy, using an intuitive set of application programming interface routines, written in C. Using the C-API, customer software running on the host computer system can monitor the PCA card, exert control, and transfer high-speed data to and from the card via its PCI Express bus.
OEMs and end users alike can come up to speed quickly, using the comprehensive design example provided in the SDK.