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Libsmbios Overview

Libsmbios - A BIOS Access library

Many BIOS tools exist today. However, there are few, if any, libraries for accessing BIOS information. Libsmbios was designed with the following goals in mind.

Libsmbios Goals

Best-Practice Design Principles

Libsmbios uses the current best-practice in design principles:

Extensible Access

Libsmbios provides two layers of access to BIOS data. The first layer uses table numbers, address, and offsets to access data. An example is the using table number 0, offset 5 to access the BIOS Version string inside the SMBIOS BIOS Information table. This layer relies on the basic formats of each BIOS interface, i.e. the table format of SMBIOS is standardized. Therefore, new tables can be accessed through layer 1 even though the code has no knowledge of the new table content.

The second layer uses XML to model BIOS data. The XML file contains human-readable strings to identify table numbers, address, and offsets. To build on the example above, the same data could be accessed as "BIOS Information", "BIOS Version". Layer 2 uses the XML to interpret the type of data within the table. At layer 1, the code can only provide the integer value 0x02040020. At layer 2, the code can identify that the value is a bit field and, according to the XML, means that PCI, ISA, EISA, and Boot from CD is supported by the BIOS. Naturally, layer 2 accesses data through layer 1 with the enhanced capabilities of XML modeling.

The image below shows the logical model of the Libsmbios design. This should not be misinterpreted as a class diagram or hierarchy. For that type of information, please see the Class Hierarchy page.


Logical Model of Libsmbios

Unit Test Design

Software-based unit testing of the Libsmbios code is one of the key features of the library. Simply put, over 80% of the code path can be tested without the use of hardware platforms. This is possible because layer 1 is designed to use files or memory interchangeably when accessing BIOS data. That means the memory of a particular server can be dumped to a file and stored in a unit test tree. Every time the code is unit-tested it can use memory files from multiple servers as input. There is no limit to the number of these "virtual systems" that can be captured, stored, and tested in the unit test framework.

The image below shows the use of multiple virtual systems within the unit test framework.


Unit Testing of Libsmbios

Generated on Wed Apr 11 16:25:11 2007 for SMBIOS Library by doxygen 1.3.5