Quickstart Guide for HDL Explorer

Stelar Tools HDL Explorer™ is an RTL Closure tool that can save designers considerable
design time. HDL Explorer gives users visibility into downstream implications of their RTL, early in the design process, which has enormous impact on design convergence and on-time schedule performance. HDL Explorer has an extensive set of design creation, exploration, navigation and analysis functionality. (more...)

Description Steps Video
Loading a new design To add new files to the design:
  1. Select File>Add File to Design
  2. Navigate to directory containing HDL files
  3. Click to select file. Select multiple files with clicking the first file name, and then shift-clicking the last file name rx-med.net

To set a default path to include files or modules:

  1. Right-click the top of the file list
  2. Select Properties
  3. Fill in locations of include files and modules
Configuring the Editor HDL Explorer is configured by default to use the advanced internal editor. This is the recommended configuration, as it is tightly integrated with the HDL Explorer navigation features.

If you want to change from the recommended default editor to another external editor:

  1. Select Tools>Options
  2. Click Editors
  3. Clear the Use Internal Editor checkbox
  4. Fill in the editor form
    1. Click New, then type in a name for this configuration.
    2. Click the "..." to browse to the location of the editor executable file
    3. Determine what command line arguments your editor uses to position to a specific line and column number in the file, and enter this into the Command Line Arguments field
Identifying and fixing errors Errors and warnings are shown in both the textual and graphical design views, enabling you to choose the most convenient means for viewing.  Errors are typically shown in red, warnings in yellow, and an OK status is shown in green.

When a item that is associated with an error or warning is clicked, all the errors and warnings for that item are displayed in the Item Status window. Click the file name and line number associated with the error to open the editor to the location of the error.

To get a summary of all errors and warnings, type M, or select Tools>Message Summary Report. Expanding an error message and clicking it will also invoke the editor at the location of the error.


Fixing An Unconnected Input
Navigating through the design HDL Explorer has two main views of your design: a textual view in the left window, and a graphical view in the center window. Both views are different ways of showing the same information.

With the textual view, there are multiple tabs to determine which textual view to display:

  • File List:  all files in the design being analyzed.
    • Double-click a file to edit or view it.
    • Single-click a file to see all errors and warnings associated with it in the Item Status window.
  • Present Design: tree-view corresponding to the current graphical design view.
    • Right click an element's name to see all available information on it
  • <alt> Modules - list all the modules in the design.
    • Right click a module name to see all available information on it.
    • Use as a navigation tool - find a module of interest. right mouse click and select Select Instantiations  to see all instances of this module in the graphical view.
  • Dictionary  - all design elements (such as modules, instances, wires).
    • Search alphabetically, and refine search with regular expression matching.
    • Double click to view the HDL source corresponding to the dictionary element.

With the graphical view (center window), there are three main types of views:

    Design View: Displays the entire hierarchy of the design.
    • Use to see how modules are instantiated
    • Right-click on a module or instance to
      • change levels of displayed hierarchy
      • view or attach documentation
      • get more detailed design views, such as connectivity, pinout, or source level views
  • Connectivity view:
    • Use to trace signal flow between instances and other design elements within a module
  • Instance Symbol: Displays a pinout view of a module or instance.
    • Use to quickly see the external interface of a module or instance.

Running custom rule checks HDL Explorer has a large number of best-known methods that can be run on your design. BKMs are scripts that read the design database and generate reports or color design components based on a variety of different criteria. For example, a BKM can check bus ordering throughout your design, and ensure all buses are ordered consistently (LSB:MSB or MSB:LSB)

To see what BKMs are currently installed, and run a selected BKM:

  1. Select Tools>View Graphics Legend  -OR- enter Control-L.
  2. Select the desired BKM from the Graphical Color Legend
  3. Click the Run BKM Check button

Creating and adding new BKMs is an advanced process, and requires understanding of both TCL and the HDL Explorer API. This will be covered in detail in the soon-to-be-created HDL Explorer User Manual.

Associating documentation with a design element HDL Explorer enables you to attach one or more documents to modules and instances in your design.

To attach a document:

  1. Right-click the object
  2. Select External Associations>Add External File
  3. Navigate to the document you want to attach and click Open on the file dialog
  4. A document icon indicates which object have attached documents.

To view attached documents:

  1. Right-click the object with the document icon
  2. Select External Associations>Open External Files, select the file you wish to open.
Saving your design and settings in a project You can save all your setting for a project, such as BKMs, colors, and messages, by saving your project configuration. When you later reload the project, HDL Explorer will restore the settings as you saved them.

To save your product configuration:

  1. Select File>Save Project
  2. Pick a name for your product configuration information.

To restore your product information:

  1. Select File>Load Project
  2. Browse and select the name of your project file
  3. The design will be reloaded and restored to the state as you saved it.


Drag and drop support To drag and instantiate a module in your HDL source:
  1. Open the HDL file you wish to change
  2. On the Present Design or Module Library tab, left-click and drag the module into your HDL code
    • You can only drag into a location that would be syntactically correct
    • Pins will be automatically connected, if possible, to like-named ports or wires within the instantiating module

To copy a signal name into your HDL source:

  1. Open the HDL file you wish to change
  2. On the Present Design or Module Library tab, left-click and drag the signal name of a wire, port, or pin into your HDL code
    • You can only drag into a location that would be syntactically correct


Drag and Drop