Modifying and Rebuilding Slush

Abstract: This application note describes the steps to take if need to change MxTNI's user shell, slush. You will learn how to add your own commands, modify the functionality, rebuild the application, and reduce its final size.


A major concern of many embedded device programmers is the robustness of their application. Will the device always be able to start and perform its intended function? One of the easiest ways to gain this reliability on the MxTNI™ microcontroller is to place the main application in flash memory. However, by placing code here, the default application, slush, gets overwritten. Most developers would like to keep the functionality of slush and gain robustness for their application too. This can be accomplished by making modifications to slush, adding the desired functionality. This application note describes the steps required to modify slush, including where to change the code. It also discusses how to rebuild the application and ways to reduce slush's size.

Changing the Source Code

Before you can change the slush source code, you must extract it from the distribution package. All the source code for slush can be found in the SlushSrc.jar file located in the src directory of each MxTNI release. Once you have done this, you can begin making your changes. Two of the most common modifications are adding custom commands to the shell and combining the functionality of another program with the features of slush. The steps required for each task are outlined below.

Adding a Custom Command

The first step is writing the code for the command. Every command in slush must implement the com.dalsemi.slush.command.SlushCommand interface. This interface has two methods:
    String getUsageString();

    void  execute(SystemInputStream in, SystemPrintStream out, SystemPrintStream
    err, String[] args, Hashtable env) throws Exception;
The getUsageString method should return the message you want users to see when using slush's help command. The real work is done in the execute method. This is where you will add the code to be executed when the command is run. The in, out, and err parameters are the console's standard input stream, output stream, and error stream, respectively. The args array will contain all the arguments the user entered when they executed the command. The env parameter will contain various system properties and environmental variables.
Once you have finished coding the command, you need to add it to slush's list of known commands. Find the initializeShellCommands method in the file located in the com.dalsemi.slush package. Inside this method, create an instance of your command and pass it to the addCommand method of the com.dalsemi.slush.CommandInterpreter class. This method has the following prototype:
    public static final boolean addCommand(String name, SlushCommand executer)
The first parameter is the string you want the user to type at the slush command line to run the command. The second parameter is the instance of the command itself.

Adding New Functionality

If you want your code to run every time slush runs, and not just when a certain command is entered, you need to make changes to the com.dalsemi.slush.Slush class. The best place to make these changes is in the main method. In the default implementation of slush, there is only one line of source code, a call to the Slush constructor. In the constructor, the network servers are initialized, all the commands are added, and the startup file is executed. Add your code before or after the call to the Slush constructor, based on your program's needs.

Building the Binary

Now that you have made your changes, you need to compile the new source into a file that can be loaded into MxTNI's flash memory. The first step is to compile your source into class files. Use whatever tool you prefer for this step. If you use javac on a windows system, the following two command lines may be used:
    dir %SlushSource%\*.java /B /S /ON > files

    javac -bootclasspath %TINIBin%\tiniclasses.jar;%TINIBin%\modules.jar -d
        %SlushBin% @files
where %SlushSource% is the directory holding all the slush source code and your modifications, %TINIBin% is the bin directory of the MxTNI SDK, and %SlushBin% is the directory where you want the resulting class files stored. Once you resolve any compiling errors, use the BuildDependency tool to convert the class files into MxTNI's flash file format. The following command is used to build slush for MxTNI releases (Note: this command should be entered on a single line):
    java -classpath %TINIBin%\tini.jar BuildDependency -f %SlushBin% -d %TiniBin%\tini.db
        -o slush.tbin -l -p %TINIBin%\modules.jar -add FTPCLIENT;MAILTO -fake -noreflect-
        ref com.dalsemi.slush.util.FakeMainMaker -ref
        com.dalsemi.slush.command.SlushCommand -ref com.dalsemi.protocol.mailto.Handler
where %TINIBin% and %SlushBin% are the same as in the previous step. This command should be used when building slush for the TINIm390 module. If you need to build slush for the TINIm400, add a "-t 470100" switch to the command line above. Executing this command will result in a slush.tbin file that can be loaded into MxTNI's flash.

Reducing the Size

Many times after making changes to slush, you will discover the resulting slush.tbin file is too large to fit into one bank of the flash on the TINIm390. Unless you've added extra flash to your MxTNI board, you only have 65,280 bytes available, and you must reduce the size of your application. The easiest solution is to remove some of the slush commands you do not need. First, look through the list of commands in the com.dalsemi.slush.command package and decide which ones you would ike to remove. Second, edit the initializeShellCommands method in the file and remove the calls to CommandInterpreter.addCommand where the commands you selected are configured. Next, follow the steps in the previous section to rebuild slush, making sure to remove the class files of the commands you removed before running the last step. Continue removing commands until slush reaches the appropriate size.


By making additions and modifications to slush, you can merge the functionality of your project with the many features already available in slush. Since your application will now be loaded into MxTNI's flash memory instead of residing in RAM, you will also gain robustness for your application.