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One animation video - Patch Like The Wind - is worth a thousand words :)
If you don’t use Specman or don’t use Specman correctly, you spend most of your time waiting for compilation to finish.
One of the most frustrating (and common…) scenarios is when you know more or less what the fix should be (such as, “wait additional cycle before sending” or “the variable should be int and not uint”) and the fix can be done in a matter of minutes. However, you are forced to spend hours waiting for the compilation to end in order to analyze the results and decide if you are satisfied with the fix. While fixing the code, usually you do not write the exact right code the first time. So, you adjust your code – another matter of few minutes – and then you have few more hours to wait for compilation.
But not if you use Specman.
With Specman, you can fix a file loaded on top of the compiled environment. Here, you don’t need to wait for hours of compilation. You can create a small ‘patch’ file, in which you implement the changes, and then you can load this patch file on top of the compiled environment. Once you are happy with the changes you made – you can move the fixed code to the relevant file/s and compile. Loading one or two files instead of compiling the whole environment can save you hours, if not days, for every fix of your code.
If you want to save some more time – don’t run the test from the start. Save the test before the interesting point (before sending the item, when calling the checker), and dynamic load the fixed file.
The capability to modify the testbench with code loaded on top is also very helpful when it comes to getting fixes from other teams/companies. Instead of waiting for the VIP or any other tool provider to create a fixed version – they send you one e file which you can load on top. Even Specman, as it is written in e, can be extended with patches. No need to wait for an official hot fix - you can get a patch file from the Support team with the required fix.
Yes, this is no news to Specman users. In meetings with Specman users, asking them “What is your favorite feature?”, one of the top answers is “the Great Patching Capability”. Next time you are asked “Are you still using Specman?”, you can reply “Sure, and are you still compiling?”