Applications for the Sedona Framework are designed and deployed according to the component model, which separates the code from the application. In this architecture you have a clean boundary between the code packaged into kits and the application defined as a tree of components defined in those kits. This model allows you to build applications simply by assembling components, configuring their properties, and linking slots together to define control flow. This style of programming is especially amenable to graphical programming.

So when we refer to a Sedona Framework application, we are really talking about a tree of components assembled together. An application is purely declarative, all the code is encapsulated in the kits. The application itself is stored as a file using one of two file formats:

You can convert between the two file formats using sedonac.

Boot Strap

Applications are boot-strapped in the following phases:

  1. Loaded: Each component is loaded from the SAB file into memory and its Component.loaded() callback is invoked.
  2. Start: Once all the components are loaded, each component has its Component.start() callback invoked.
  3. Running: The application enters the main execution loop (described next).


The Sedona Framework's execution model is based a single-threaded main loop with a fixed scan rate:

  1. Recursively execute components. For each component:
    1. Step through the component's list of children and execute them first
    2. Propagate incoming links to this component
    3. Call this component's execute() virtual method
  2. Give any remaining time in the scan cycle to services via
  3. If no services have remaining work, then relinquish CPU (via yield or sleep) until next cycle

Controlling child execution rate

For Sedona 1.2 a new virtual method was added to the Component class. If a component's allowChildExecute() returns false, then the app will skip (1a), the recursive step through the component's child components. It will simply call execute() on the current component and then go on to the next one at the same hierarchy level. (The base class version of the method always returns true, which preserves pre-1.2 behavior.) This method can be overridden to force child components to be executed at a slower rate than the main loop. As an example, there is a new component sys::RateFolder that uses this strategy to provide multi-rate app functionality.

Yield vs Sleep

Depending on the underlying execution environment, the App can either return control to the OS (exit the SVM) or sleep until it's time to run again.

Preemptive multithreaded OS

These include Windows, Linux or QNX. When a thread calls the OS sleep primitive, other threads are given a chance to run. The SVM thread may be swapped in and out several times during an execute cycle.

Main Loop

In this environment, the Sedona VM executes as the main loop and all other work is done at ISR level. Once the App completes an execute cycle, it can delay by entering a busy-wait loop.

Cooperative tasking OS

In this environment, a task must return control to the scheduler to allow other tasks a chance to run. The sleep and busy-wait approaches won't work here since the SVM will never exit, so the SVM must support a clean exit and re-entry. This is accomplished by the yield mechanism described below.


The Sedona Framework supports yielding to provide a graceful exit (and subsequent reentry) of the SVM, allowing the platform CPU to perform other operations.

Systems that require yield functionality must override the following methods of PlatformService:

If a PlatformService subclass returns true to yieldRequired(), then the App will exit with the error code ERR_YIELD after each execution loop. On exiting, the App will call yield(yieldTime) to determine how soon it needs to be resumed.

Native code should resume the SVM via vmResume(SedonaVM*) as soon as possible, but before the requested time. If vmResume is not called before yieldTime expires, App cycle overruns could occur.


When entering hibernation, the App exits and returns control to the bootstrap code. It is similar to yield but it is expected that the hibernation time will be much longer than a typical yield time. Hibernation is driven by application logic and most likely will not occur each App execute cycle, whereas yield must occur each cycle.

To enter the hibernation state, an application calls App.hibernate(). This will set a flag on App and when the current execution cycle is complete, it will cause the App to exit with error code ERR_HIBERNATE. This will gracefully unwind the call stack, returning control to the boot code. The device's boot code should then put the device to sleep. It is a device dependent issue to decide how it will wake up from hibernation. When the device does wake, it should restart the SVM with a call to vmResume(SedonaVM*). If your device doesn't support hibernation, then you will need to simulate it using code such as the following:

result = vmRun(&vm);
while (result == ERR_HIBERNATE)
  //printf("-- Simulated hibernate --\n");
  result = vmResume(&vm);

If you are developing Sedona Framework components, applications, or drivers you should keep hibernation in mind. Any software that might run on a battery powered device needs to support hibernation cleanly. This means that function blocks should assume the scan rate might have hibernation pauses. If you have services that need to do something special when hibernating or waking, then you will need to override the functions Service.onHibernate() and Service.onUnhibernate(). Service.onHibernate() will be called prior to SVM exit. Service.onUnhibernate() will be called after the SVM is resumed and prior to the App execution loop starting back up.

Steady State

Most apps will be fully operational by the end of the first cycle. When hardware I/O is involved, however, an app may need to allow additional time for the hardware to warm up, or for complex logic results to propagate fully to all components. For this purpose, the Sedona Framework provides a "steady state" timing feature that should be used to protect the hardware from reading or writing transient values while the app is starting up.

The steady state feature consists of two pieces:

Note: This feature is not used internally within the App. It only affects behavior of components that use the isSteadyState() method. It is the responsibility of each kit developer to call this method as needed to protect the hardware.

By default, App.timeToSteadyState applies only to the first time the SVM is started. Once steady time has elapsed, hibernate/yield will not affect it. If App.hibernationResetsSteadyState is set to true, then the steady state flag will be cleared each time device exits hibernation.


Links are the mechanism used to define control flow in an app. Links are said to be from a given component's slot to another component's slot.

Currently links are supported only between properties; you cannot link to an action slot. During link propagation, the from-property value is copied into the to-property. This mechanism could be used, for example, to link sensor inputs through control logic to control actuator outputs.


Services are special components that subclass from sys::Service. Services have three primary characteristics that set them apart from other types of components:

Services are often used to provide functionality to other components. For example the UserService is used to lookup and authenticate user accounts. Many services such as protocol drivers also perform background work to service network messages.

SAX File Format

A SAX file is structured as follows:

  <kit name='sys'/>
  <comp name="play" id="1" type="sys::Folder">
    <comp name="rampA" id="7" type="control::Ramp">
      <prop name="min" val="20.00000"/>
      <prop name="max" val="80.00000"/>
  <link from="/play/rampA.out" to="/play/something.else"/>

<sedonaApp> root element that contains:

<kit> defines the kits used by the application:

<comp> defines each component in the application:

<prop> defines the property value of a component within a <comp> element. Supported attributes:

<link> element defines a link between two slots using the format of "/path/comp.slot":

SAB Files

While XML is a nice representation for tools to work with app files, XML is too big and difficult to work with in an embedded device. So we use the SAB format when we need a compact binary representation. Sedona Framework devices typically store their application as an SAB file (although often it might just be a location in flash memory versus a real file system).


Sedona Framework application files, whether stored as SAX or SAB format, always contain a schema. This is simply a list of the kits (with matching kit checksums) that the app requires in order to run. The Sedona VM cannot start the app if its current scode image does not contain all the kits in the app's schema.


If you want to develop tools for managing Sedona apps, check out the sedona.offline Java APIs for working with both SAX and SAB files: