CAPL Introduction


CAPL is the most used programming language for the development of automatic tests and simulations in the automotive world. It is the main programming language for the most powerful CAN tools delivered by Vector.
The programming language is based on C/C++ syntax and offers some key features for embedded systems to the programmers. CAPL programmers can develop complete car simulations in CAPL and, in the same time, develop automatic test environments for their systems. CAPL and the corresponding Vector tools offer:
  • support for one or more communication channels
  • control of the test scenarios and all test operations
  • event based operations to be used in simulations or tests
  • interconnections with other PC applications
CAPL is an event driven software because the execution of the test script or the execution of the simulation cannot be considered a linear execution. At any time the program can jump to another procedure based on three different types of events.



The CAPL browser in which the complete development for automatic tests or car simulations is done includes a very useful text editor for the CAPL program and also a CAPL compiler.
A program written in CAPL represents parts or the full behavior of one network node available in the car. For more complex systems and simulations, the developer can create several different nodes connected on the same CAN bus, each node with its own CAPL software behind. A simulation of all nodes is possible to verify the behavior. Once this is done, the developer can deactivate any node from the communication BUS and connect the real system in order to test it.
Besides the general CAPL program execution, most of the tools offer other capabilities, useful for testing and debugging embedded systems:
  • accurate and easy to use trace window
  • bus statistics
  • graphic display of sent/received messages and signals
  • logging / replay capabilities


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