1.4.5 Hierarchical systems

The terms system and component are both used to describe the output from System Canvas. The main difference is whether the output is intended as a standalone system or is to be used within a larger system.

The block diagram shows the advantage of using a hierarchical system with a complex model.

Figure 1-5 Block diagram of top-level VE model
Block diagram of top-level VE model


The main component in the system is a VE motherboard component. To open this item, select it and select Open Component from the Object menu. It is a complex object with many subcomponents.

Figure 1-6 Contents of VE motherboard component
Contents of VE motherboard component


Hiding the complexity of the VE motherboard in a component simplifies the drawing and enables the VE motherboard component to be shared between different FVP models.

For example, the ClockDivider component located at the top-left of #rob1371045406336/motherboard has a connection to an external port called masterclk.

Figure 1-7 Self port detail
Self port detail


By double-clicking a component, in this case a clock divider, you can open it to see the LISA code, and the resulting Block Diagram window displays the external ports for that subcomponent.

Figure 1-8 Clock divider component external ports
Clock divider component external ports


The clock divider component contains only external ports, and it has no subcomponents. The behavior for this component is determined by the LISA code.

A component communicates with components in the higher-level system through its self ports. Self ports refer to ports in a system that are not part of a subcomponent, and are represented by a hollow rectangle with triangles to indicate data flow, and a text label in the rectangle.

Self ports can be internal or external.

Internal ports

These ports communicate with subcomponents and are not visible if the component is used in a higher-level system. Unlike hidden external ports, you cannot expose internal ports outside the subcomponent. Right-click on a port and select Object Properties... to identify or create internal ports. Set the port attributes to Internal for an internal self port.

External ports

These ports communicate with components in a higher-level system, and by default are external.

If you use the Block Diagram editor to make a connection between an external port and a subcomponent, the LISA code uses the keyword self to indicate the standalone port:

self.clk_in_master => clkdiv_ref25.clk_in;
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