ARM unveils a new version of CMSIS that adds software deployment methods

February 24, 2014

  • Extended with two specifications that standardize software interfaces, software delivery, and device support.
  • Deliverables now supplied in CMSIS-Pack format to ensure consistent integration into development tools.
  • Contains RTOS independent reference implementations of CMSIS-Drivers.

CAMBRIDGE, UK, FEB 24, 2014 – Version 4 of the ARM® Cortex® Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) is available from today. It standardizes middleware interfaces and software delivery, accelerating time-to-market and cutting application development costs for new ARM Cortex-M processor-based microcontrollers.

Richard York, vice president, embedded CPU marketing, ARM said: "The Cortex-M processor series is extremely successful in the microcontroller marketplace and new devices are released frequently. The new CMSIS methods give additional cost and time-to-market advantages to our already unparalleled ecosystem with consistent device information and peripheral drivers. This accelerates further device adoption across the tool and software industry."


The ARM Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) is a vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for the Cortex-M processor series and specifies debugger interfaces.

The CMSIS enables consistent and simple software interfaces to the processor for interface peripherals, real-time operating systems, and middleware. It simplifies software re-use, reducing the learning curve for new microcontroller developers and cutting the time-to-market for devices.

CMSIS is used by more than 25 ARM Partners including: Altium, Atmel, Atollic, Cypress, Freescale, Infineon, Microsemi, Nordic, NXP, Nuvoton, Raisonance, Silicon Labs, Spansion, ST, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.

CMSIS Version 4

The new version features a new CMSIS-Pack and CMSIS-Driver specification.

The CMSIS-Pack describes a delivery mechanism for software components, device parameters, and evaluation board support. It specifies with an XML-based package description (PDSC) file the content of a file collection that includes:

  • Source code, header files, and software libraries
  • Documentation and source code templates
  • Device parameters along with startup code and programing algorithms
  • Example projects

The PDSC file is designed for software development environments and describes the user and device relevant context for the files supplied within a CMSIS-Pack.

The CMSIS-Driver specification is a software API describing peripheral driver interfaces for middleware stacks. A CMSIS-Driver connects a microcontroller peripheral with middleware that implements for example communication stacks, file systems, or graphic user interfaces. CMSIS-Drivers are RTOS independent and designed to be generic, making middleware reusable across the wide range of supported microcontroller devices.

Partner quotes

"PSoC is the innovative Cypress microcontroller platform that integrates configurable analog and digital logic along with memory and an ARM Cortex-M processor. Fast, efficient and reliable software development is critical for our customers and CMSIS-Pack enables seamless combination of PSoC Creator with professional software development solutions such as Keil MDK.", said John Weil, Senior Marketing Director for PSoC, Cypress.

"Nordic Semiconductor delivers highly integrated RF microcontrollers based on ARM Cortex-M0 for ultra-low power wireless solutions. CMSIS-Pack gives impressive usability advantages while simplifying the deployment of our extensive tool support, along with protocol stacks, and reference designs," said Thomas Ulleberg, Manager System Architect Group, Nordic Semiconductor.


Phil Hughes
Tel. +1 512 330 1844

Notes to Editors

CMSIS Version 4 is available for download from

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