Launching Vitis HLS

To launch Vitis™ HLS, you must first configure the environment to run the tool as described in Setting Up the Environment. This requires setting the environment variables and paths needed for the tool.

To launch Vitis HLS on a Linux platform, or from the command prompt on Windows, execute the following:
$ vitis_hls
TIP: You can also launch Vitis HLS by double-clicking the application from the Windows desktop.

The Vitis HLS GUI opens as shown in the following figure.

Figure 1: Vitis HLS GUI Welcome Page

Under Project, you have the following options.

Create Project
Launch the project setup wizard to create a new project. Refer to Creating a New Vitis HLS Project for more information.
Open Project
Navigate to an existing project.
Clone Examples
Clone Example projects from GitHub repository to create a local copy for your use. See Tutorials and Examples.

Under Resources, you will find documentation and tutorials to help you work with the tool.

If you have previously launched Vitis HLS to create a project, you can also select from a list of recent projects under Open Recent.

Setting Up the Environment

Vitis HLS is delivered as part of the Vitis unified software platform. For instructions on installing the tool, refer to Installation in Vitis Unified Software Platform Documentation: Application Acceleration Development (UG1393).

TIP: For information on the Vitis HLS release, and known limitations of the release refer to AR# 75342.
After you have installed the elements of the Vitis software platform, you need to setup the operating environment to run Vitis HLS in a specific command shell by running the bash script, or settings64.csh script:
#setup XILINX_VITIS and XILINX_VIVADO variables
 source <Vitis_install_path>/
TIP: While the Vitis unified software platform also requires the installation and setup of the Xilinx runtime (XRT) and hardware platforms, these elements are not required for the use of Vitis HLS.

Overview of the Vitis HLS IDE

The toolbar menu shown below provides access to the primary commands for using Vitis HLS. The main menu provides access to all available commands for creating and managing designs. Each of the buttons on the toolbar menu has an equivalent command in the main menu.

TIP: Project control ensures that only commands that can be currently executed are highlighted. For example, synthesis must be performed before C/RTL co-simulation can be executed.
Figure 2: Vitis HLS Toolbar and Main Menus

In the toolbar menu, the buttons are (from left to right):

Open Project
Opens a file browser to let you locate and open an HLS project.
The drop-down menu also provides access to the New File command, which lets you create a new file to open in the text editor.
Solution Settings
Opens the Solution Settings dialog box to modify the settings of the active solution.
The drop-down menu also provides access to:
  • Project Settings to let you configure the settings of the open project.
  • New Solution to let you define a new solution for the open project.
C Synthesis
Starts C source code to RTL synthesis in Vitis HLS as described in Synthesizing the Code. The drop-down menu provides a process overview of Vitis HLS, including:
Open Analysis Viewer
Displays various analysis reports when they have been generated during simulation, synthesis, or C/RTL co-simulation.
The drop-down menu also provides access to:
  • Open Pre-Synthesis Control Flow to display the Pre-Synthesis Control Flow report when it has been generated during simulation.
  • Open Dataflow View to display the Dataflow Viewer report when it has been generated during C/RTL co-simulation.
  • Open Schedule Viewer when the Schedule Viewer has been generated during C synthesis.
Open Report
Displays the report generated during C synthesis.
The drop-down menu also provides access to:
  • Synthesis to display the report generated during C synthesis.
  • Co-Simulation to display the report generated during C/RTL co-simulation.
  • Export RTL to display the report generated while exporting the RTL.
Open Wave Viewer
Displays the Waveform Viewer when the C/RTL Co-simulation includes the waveform from the Vivado simulator.

In addition, Vitis HLS IDE provides three perspectives. When you select a perspective, the windows automatically adjust to a more suitable layout for the selected task.

  • The Debug perspective opens the C debugger.
  • The Synthesis perspective is the default perspective and arranges the windows for performing synthesis.
  • The Analysis perspective is used after synthesis completes to analyze the design in detail.

Customizing the Vitis HLS IDE Behavior

In some cases the default setting of the Vitis HLS IDE prevents certain information from being shown, or the defaults might not be suitable for your purposes. This section explains how the following features can be customized:

  • Console view buffer size.
  • Default key behaviors.

Customizing the Console View

The Console view displays the messages issued during operations such as synthesize and verification.

The default buffer size for this windows is 80,000 characters and can be changed, or the limit can be removed, to ensure all messages can be reviewed, by using menu Window > Preferences > Run/Debug > Console.

Customizing the Key Behavior

The behavior of the Vitis HLS IDE can be customized using the menu Windows > Preferences and new user-defined tool settings saved.

The default setting for the key combination Ctrl + Tab, is to make the active tab in the Information area toggle between the source code and the header file. This is changed to make the Ctrl + Tab combination make each tab in turn the active tab.

  • In Preferences, sub-menu General > Keys allows Toggle Source/Header in the Command column to be selected and the Ctrl + Tab combination removed by using the Unbind Command button.
  • Selecting Next Tab in the Command column, placing the cursor in the Binding field and pressing the Ctrl key and then the Tab key, that causes the operation Ctrl + Tab to be associated with making the next tab active.

A find-next hot key can be implemented by using the Microsoft Visual Studio scheme. This can be performed using the menu Window > Preference > General > Keys and replace the Default scheme with the Microsoft Visual Studio scheme.

Reviewing the sub-menus in the Preferences dialog box allows every aspect of the Vitis HLS environment to be customized to ensure the highest levels of productivity.