Since the Barracuda Embedded Web Server has many uses, it also has many audiences. Whether you are a C/C++ programmer embedding the server into your firmware, web developer writing Lua scripting applications, system administrator, or just the casual user looking to learn more about what the Barracuda Embedded Web Server has to offer, this documentation aims to help you understand and get the most out of this product.
This documentation covers everything you need to know about the Barracuda Embedded Web Server, from the low level C/C++ API to the high level Lua Scripting Language API.
The Barracuda Web Server includes the following:
For an embedded system with limited memory, you may select to only use the Embedded Web Server and the C and/or C++ API. Many of the examples in this documentation focus on the Lua API's and not the C API's since the Lua API's are much easier to understand. Even if you choose not to use the LSP plugin, it is still recommended to read the introductory Lua examples for a good introduction to the Virtual File System (VFS).
The Barracuda Embedded Web Server is an embeddable web server component specifically designed for being embedded into another computer program. The server, designed in ANSI C, is a library designed to be linked into and be an integral component of the computer program being designed.
Typical uses of the Barracuda Embedded Web Server include:
A traditional web server runs as a standalone process and requires that the operating system supports the "process" model. The Barracuda Embedded Web Server can be assembled with a few lines of C code to run as a standalone web-server, though Barracuda's strength is that it can also be embedded into a computer program.
An example of a standalone web-server designed using the Barracuda Embedded Web Server is BarracudaDrive.
A monolithic embedded system, aka firmware, is software designed for an embedded device in which the operating system, the application, and third party libraries are linked into one unit.
The Barracuda Embedded Web Server is specifically designed for being embedded into firmware. The server abstracts TCP/IP, kernel primitives, and I/O access, thus making sure it can easily port to any embedded systems.
In contrast, a traditional web server is not easily integrated into a monolithic system since it is designed to run in a standalone process, and it cannot be extended in the traditional way. Typically, a web server is extended by use of external processes such as CGI, which cannot be accomplished if the kernel , "the operating system", is not designed to load external modules.
The Server has been ported to many embedded operating systems including: ThreadX/NetX (Express Logic), INTEGRITY (Green Hills), VxWorks (WindRiver), QNX (QNX Software Systems), Embedded Linux, Windows CE, embOS (SEGGER), SMX (Micro Digital), MQX (Freescale) to name a few.
The Barracuda Embedded Web Server can easily be ported to any embedded device. At a minimum, the device must have a functioning TCP/IP stack. It is possible to use the server without an operating system, but not recommended. A file system is not mandatory, but a file system enhances the server's functionality. The server includes a plugin that uses ZIP files as read only file systems. A ZIP file can be integrated into the firmware or stored directly onto flash memory in devices without a file system.
The Barracuda server is designed for microprocessors with external memory and is not suitable for microprocessors with internal memory only. The server requires at a minimum 250K ROM and 60K RAM. All plugins, including LSP and the virtual machine, require at a minimum 600K ROM and 500K RAM.
The Barracuda Embedded Web Server runs on several microprocessors including, but not limited to: the X86 family, the PowerPC family, the ColdFire family, and the ARM family. The server is designed to run on 32 and 64 bit microprocessors and is not suitable for 8 or 16 bit microprocessors.
The Barracuda Embedded Web Server may also be called an Application Server. An application server is an extended web server that can also run "server side web applications". A web application typically includes multiple server pages. A server page includes code that is executed by the server when a client accesses the page.
In contrast, an ordinary web server cannot function as an application server unless it is extended by external plugins. To get the same functionality as Barracuda provides, an ordinary web server must be extended with frameworks such as PHP or ASP. These plugins are huge and very slow in an embedded device. Another possibility is to use the low level CGI API, but loading an external CGI process in a device is still very slow.
Also, an embedded system using CGI typically requires that the CGI code is designed in C code, thus taking a considerably longer time to develop the product.