One design in one folder

Posted on 2011-12-29 by Philippe Faes
Tagged as: best practiceshdt-2.0howto

As discussed in How do you organize the source code of your hardware project?, you can organize your VHDL files in many ways in Sigasi. The three recommended ways are:

  1. No organization
  2. One design in one folder (described in this article)
  3. One IP block per project

This article deals with the “one design – one folder” way of organizing a project. The basic idea is that all of the files for your new hardware design are in one folder on your hard drive. In addition to your own files, there might be some third party libraries that you need for your project, like the XilinxCoreLib or Altera_MF files.

Let’s assume your file list looks something like this. You have a bunch of files in c:\my_home\project_dir and you are using the altera_mf library files that come with Intel Quartus.

  + my_home
    + project_dir
      + file1.vhd
      + file2.vhd
      + more_files_here.vhd
      + subfolder
        + more_files_here.vhd
  + altera
    + 11.0sp1
      + quartus
        + libraries
          + vhdl
            + altera_mf
              + altera_mf_components.vhd
              + stratixgx_mf_components.vhd

Setting it up

First, we will create a Sigasi project that lives in the directory where you have your files.

  1. File > VHDL Project
  2. Un-tick Use default location
  3. Browse to your folder: c:\my_home\project_dir.
  4. Fill in a name for your project
  5. Click Finish.

You now have a project with your own VHDL files, and the a folder with Common Libraries. This folder contains the IEEE and STD libraries needed to compile your project.

Next, we will add the directory with vendor VHDL code.

  1. Open your windows explorer (or another file browser) and find the altera_mf folder.
  2. Drag this folder to your Sigasi project explorer, into your project folder.
  3. In the pop-up dialog, select Link to files and folders and uncheck Create link locations relative to:.
  4. confirm with OK.

Drag and drop library folder

Finally, we have to map the vendor directory to the correct library name. Right-click the altera_mf directory in your Sigasi project explorer and select Library Mapping > New Library …. Now give the correct library name, in this case: altera_mf.

Building your project

Make sure your project is set to build automatically: Project > Build Automatically. If you have VHDL files in the project folder that are not really a part of the folder, you should unmap them from your VHDL libraries. Read more about excluding files. Your project should not have any errors (red markers). If it does, try to figure out what went wrong: Is it a legacy junk file? Is there a bug in your VHDL code? Did you forget to add a library?

Extra tips

Sigasi creates a few hidden files in your project directory. If you use a revision control system, we recommend you check in these files:

  • .project
  • .library_mapping.xml
  • .settings (This directory is only created when you have configured extra options.)

Pros and Cons

This is a relatively easy way of organizing your project. There is some extra effort in setting up a project, but that should only take a few minutes. If your files are not neatly organized in a single folder, or if you have a bunch of junk files in your folder,

When to use

If you are just learning to use Sigasi, or if you are studying VHDL, we strongly recommend the one design – one folder approach. We also recommended it for small and moderate sized projects:

  • If you have up to 100 files
  • You are using a small number of vendor libraries (up to 5 libraries), such as the FPGA vendor libraries.

If you have a six or more separate libraries and IP cores, or if your files are stored in locations across your hard drives or network drives, we recommend you use One IP block per project.

See also

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