Richard Goering's recent interview with Mitch Weaver on the future of Specman and e put me in a reflective mood about my own evolving opinions. My hands-on experience with Specman is minimal; back in my 0-In applications days I co-developed a joint demo with Verisity (prior to acquisition by Cadence) in which I had the chance to do a bit of e testbench coding. I was very familiar with formal at that point, but it was my first exposure to constrained-random simulation and I was impressed.
Six months later I was working at Synopsys, where I was deeply involved in their SystemVerilog rollout. My impression there, based largely on the fact that I talked almost exclusively to SystemVerilog and Vera users, was that e was dead or dying. Fast-forward a couple of years, and I joined Cadence. I can honestly say that nothing I have seen or learned in my time at Cadence has surprised me as much as finding out as soon as I joined just how powerful and popular e really is.
Mitch does not overstate reality at all - Specman and e continue in very broad usage with very few users switching to SystemVerilog and, in fact, new projects and new companies signing up every year. Of course, by now I've had the chance to talk to many e users and I understand how its technical advantages fuel their passion for the language. It's nothing against SystemVerilog to acknowledge that e has some unique features for advanced verification; it's a simple statement of fact.
However, I do talk to the occasional customer who is "e-lergic" (an old Verisity term) and who doesn't even want to hear e mentioned. Some are actually suspicious that our support for e somehow compromises our support for SystemVerilog! As Mitch explains in the interview, this is simply not the case. We support all IEEE-standard languages equally well, and enable just about any combination of e, SystemVerilog, and SystemC models in customer verification environments.
Since there are such strong opinions about e out there, I'm frankly surprised that there have been no comments on Richard's interview. I'll try for some response here since I'm quite curious to know what all you testbench developers really think. If you're unwilling to consider e, I'd like to know why. If you have an open mind on verification languages but didn't choose e, I'd like to know why. If you did choose e, I'd still like to know your reasons. So ... have you considered e lately?
The truth is
out there...sometimes it's in a blog.