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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Embedded Systems Programming: Accessing Databases from Esterel

EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems20092008:961036

  • Received: 18 March 2008
  • Accepted: 11 November 2008
  • Published:


A current limitation in embedded controller design and programming is the lack of database support in development tools such as Esterel Studio. This article proposes a way of integrating databases and Esterel by providing two application programming interfaces (APIs) which enable the use of relational databases inside Esterel programs. As databases and Esterel programs are often executed on different machines, result sets returned as responses to database queries may be processed either locally and according to Esterel's synchrony hypothesis, or remotely along several of Esterel's execution cycles. These different scenarios are reflected in the design and usage rules of the two APIs presented in this article, which rely on Esterel's facilities for extending the language by external data types, external functions, and procedures, as well as tasks. The APIs' utility is demonstrated by means of a case study modelling an automated warehouse storage system, which is constructed using Lego Mindstorms robotics kits. The robot's controller is programmed in Esterel in a way that takes dynamic ordering information and the warehouse's floor layout into account, both of which are stored in a MySQL database.


  • Relational Database
  • Controller Design
  • Application Programming Interface
  • External Data
  • Publisher Note

Publisher note

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Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Computer Science, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK


© D.White and G. Lüttgen. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.