Is SVUnit a legit verification framework?
I get that question periodically from folks who are looking into incorporating SVUnit into their verification flow. Of course it’s always phrased a little differently depending on who’s asking – How many users are there? What is the bug rate? What teams have integrated it into their verification flow? Have people published papers about it? Is it actively being developed? Do others contribute to the development? – but the intent behind the question always feels the same. We developers want to know that others have blazed the trail before us, that the tools we’re considering have a proven track record, that the major bugs and issues are long since fixed and that tools are truly ready before we get started with them.
Unfortunately, it’s a tough question to answer. Being that SVUnit is open-source and usage is basically anonymous, unless people reach out to me personally I can’t make any definitive claims.
That said, I’m confident we have enough anecdotal evidence for a solid yes. SVUnit is a legitimate test framework for design and verification engineers looking for an alternative that addresses low level code quality.
Here’s a few stats to support that yes:
- Since I switched over to GitHub for hosting, I’ve counted 1027 downloads initiated from AgileSoC.com. That’s 1027 since May of 2016 which means ~500 downloads/year over the last 2 years. Decent.
- Prior to the GitHub move, there were 1036 downloads from the old Sourceforge repository. Based on the initial commit timestamps in Nov 2011, that’s ~230 downloads/year from the old repository. Also decent.
- A total of 2036 downloads initiated from AgileSoC.com doesn’t count downloads by people that go directly to the repository. I don’t have a number for those but I’m assuming it’d be more than a handful.
- 32 developers have starred the GitHub respository. Some of them I know, some I don’t.
- 4 developers have initiated pull requests on the GitHub repository for bug fixes and new features. This is particularly exciting because it shows people see the value in chipping in to make the framework better.
- The SVUnit user guide has been viewed just over 4800 times since I posted it 3 years ago. That’s a steady ~5 views/day.
- There’s a 1-hour SVUnit training course posted on Mentor’s Verification Academy site. I did that. People have said it’s a good introduction to get them going.
- SVUnit has been referenced in 4 DVCon papers (full disclosure: I was co-author on 2 of them but had nothing to do with the other 2):
- SystemVerilog, Batteries Included: A Programmer’s Utility Library for SystemVerilog – Jonathan Bromley, Andre Winkelmann – DVCon 2014
- Benefits of TDD and Unit Testing – Josh Rensch, Neil Johnson – DVCon 2016
- Testing the Testbench – Stan Sokorac – DVCon 2016
- Verify thy Verifier via SVUnit – Ajeetha Kumari – DVCon India 2017
- 99 people have joined the SVUnit google group since March 2016. If you’re looking for answers, this is a good place to go.
- 3 of my XtremeEDA colleagues have used SVUnit in client engagements. 4 colleagues have used it on internal projects. (I use it for both too but didn’t count myself). <shameless-plug>There’s a lot of smart people on staff at XtremeEDA so the fact they’ve made the investment in our client’s product quality and the quality of our internal work says quite a lot to me.</shameless-plug>
- Folks other than me have written blog posts about it
So that’s a few things. Of course, if you’re looking for irrefutable evidence complete with 100% guarantee SVUnit will take you to the next level this won’t be good enough. But if you’re interested in SVUnit and all you need is the confidence that you’re not alone, I see this list as more than credible evidence (if there’s supporting evidence you think I’m missing, let me know and I’ll add it if I can).
If you’re new to SVUnit, your journey continues on the SVUnit Project Page.
As always, I’m on the lookout for torch bearers willing to go public with their experience. If you’re interested in doing a short write-up or you’re willing to share your experience, I’d be happy to hear from you! Get a hold of me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.