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DTSL is designed to support many different trace capture devices, such as DSTREAM, ETB, TMC/ETB and TMC/ETR. It is also possible to extend DTSL to support other trace capture devices. Each of these capture devices can present its data to DTSL in a different format.
Within a platform, trace data can originate from several trace sources. This data is mixed together into the data stream which the trace capture device collects. For simplicity, trace clients (software packages which receive or read trace data from DTSL) are usually designed based on the assumption that the only trace data they receive from the trace source is data which they know how to decode. For example, if a trace client knows how to decode PTM data, then it only expects to receive PTM data when it reads trace data from DTSL.