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Xilinx Design Tools WebTalk

Let your design data help Xilinx make informed software and hardware decisions

The WebTalk feature of ISE® and Vivado® Design Suite helps Xilinx understand how its customers use Xilinx FPGA devices, software, and Intellectual Property (IP). The information collected and transmitted by WebTalk allows Xilinx to improve the features most important to customers as part of our continuing effort to provide products that meet your current and future needs.

1. WebTalk Introduction

WebTalk is a secure design data collection feature of Vivado and ISE Design Suite that helps Xilinx understand how you are using Xilinx FPGA devices, software, and Intellectual Property (IP).

WebTalk provides Xilinx information about various features and aspects of silicon devices, software and IP that are used by our customers. Knowing customer usage information helps Xilinx to continue to focus its efforts in designing products and features that match customer design trends.

2. WebTalk Participation

Your participation in WebTalk is voluntary, except with the use of either the ISE or Vivado WebPACK license. WebTalk data transmission is mandatory for WebPACK users. No data is sent if you disable WebTalk, except for the use of the WebPACK license to generate a bitstream.

Yes. WebTalk makes decisions on data transmission based on the license used for bitstream generation, and data transmission is always turned on for the free ISE and Vivado WebPACK tools. However, please note that WebTalk will not interfere with or prevent design compilation on a machine that is not connected to the internet.

Yes. WebTalk does not prevent design compilation on a machine that is not connected to the internet.

3. Setting WebTalk Preferences

WebTalk Behavior for Bitstream Generation Flows

This table summarizes WebTalk behavior for data transmission back to Xilinx after bitstream generation based on your ISE Design Suite license, WebTalk install settings and WebTalk user preference settings.

Design Flow ISE Design Suite License WebTalk Install Preference WebTalk User Preference WebTalk data transmission to Xilinx
Bitstream WebPack Ignored Ignored Yes (Send)
  Any Edition Enabled Enabled Yes (Send)
  Enabled Disabled No (Do not send)
Disabled Ignored No (Do not send)

Please note that WebTalk is always enabled for WebPACK users. Thus, WebTalk overrides user and install preference when a bitstream is generated using the WebPACK license. If a design is using a device contained in WebPACK and a WebPACK license is available, the WebPACK license will always be used. For more information, see Answer Record 34746.

WebTalk Behavior for iMPACT

This table summarizes WebTalk behavior for data transmission from iMPACT to Xilinx based on your WebTalk install settings and WebTalk user preference settings. If enabled, iMPACT sends usage statistics data using WebTalk at the end of every session (when iMPACT is closed).

Design Flow WebTalk Install Preference WebTalk User Preference WebTalk data transmission to Xilinx
iMPACT Enabled Enabled Yes (Send)
  Enabled Disabled No (Do not send)
Disabled Ignored No (Do not send)

You can enable or disable WebTalk globally during or after installation as described below. WebTalk installation options can be enabled or disabled by checking or unchecking the “Enable WebTalk to send software, IP and device usage statistics to Xilinx (Always enabled for WebPACK license)” checkbox as shown below.

Figure 1 - Xilinx Design Tools Installer

WebTalk installation options can be changed after installation by using the XWebTalk command line utility. The command line options to enable/disable WebTalk install preference are:

xwebtalk -install on|off

  • on turns WebTalk on for the installation.
  • off turns WebTalk off for the installation. Install settings are saved in the following location:

Windows - %XILINX%\data\reports\webtalksettings

Linux - $XILINX/data/reports/webtalksettings

Note: You will need administrator privileges to be able to write to the install location.

You can enable or disable WebTalk on a per user basis during or after installation as described below. WebTalk user options can be enabled or disabled by selecting Edit > Preferences > WebTalk in Project Navigator as shown below.

Figure 2 - Setting WebTalk User Options Through Project Navigator

WebTalk user options can be enabled or disabled by selecting Tools > Options > General in PlanAhead™ as shown below. Similarly, user options in Vivado can be enabled or disabled by selecting Tools> Options > General.

Figure 3 - Setting WebTalk User Options Through PlanAhead

WebTalk user options can be enabled or disabled by selecting Edit > Preferences > iMPACT-> WebTalk in Impact as shown below.

Figure 4 - Setting WebTalk User Options Through Project Navigator

WebTalk user options can be changed after installation by using the XWebTalk command line utility. The command line options to enable or disable WebTalk user preference are:

xwebtalk -user on|off
        on turns WebTalk on for the current user.
        off turns WebTalk off for the current user.
User settings are saved in the following locations:

Windows 
%APPDATA%\Xilinx\Common\version\webtalk
where 
%APPDATA% is:
C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data

 Linux
/home/user/.Xilinx/Common/version/webtalk

By typing xwebtalk –info from a command console.

4. WebTalk Data Collection

No. WebTalk does not collect your design netlist or any other proprietary information that can be used to reverse engineer your design.

The data that Xilinx may receive through WebTalk includes:

  • ISE or Vivado Design Suite version, platform information (for example, operating system, speed and number of processors and main memory), unique project ID, authorization code, date of generation, targeted device, and family information 
  • A count of device elements used to build the design, such as the number of registers, LUTs, IO, clock resources, intellectual property cores, and other hardware elements
  • Configuration and pin data, such as:
    • Pins used for DCM, Block RAM, DSP48 and other hardware primitives
    • Attribute statistics, such as the properties assigned to clocking and IO components.
  • Net and routing statistics, such as
    • Average fanout and routing resources
    • Command line information, such as which options were used to run the implementation tools and software run statistics
    • Project level statistics such as synthesis, simulation tools used, number of each type of file used and tool options.
  • Help access information
  • Intellectual property parameterization information
  • iMPACT tool usage statistics for flash and FPGA programming

To see the specific WebTalk data being collected for your design, open theusage_statistics_webtalk.html file in the project directory.

An example usage_statistics_webtalk.xml for Vivado bitstream generation flow is attached for your reference.

When enabled, WebTalk transmits information to Xilinx after a bitstream has been generated and when iMPACT is closed. WebTalk data collection is enabled from all design flows (Vivado IDE, Vivado TCL, ISE Command line, Project Navigator, PlanAhead, Xilinx Platform Studio, System Generator, XFLOW, etc.) that provide users a means of generating bitstream for Xilinx devices.

5. WebTalk Data Transmission

WebTalk bundles the collected data in a usage_statistics_webtalk.html (ISE) or usage statistics webtalk.xml (Vivado) file and sends this file to Xilinx by https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) post.

After every bitstream generation, WebTalk bundles the collected data in the usage_statistics_webtalk file and sends this file to Xilinx after bitstream generation by https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) post.

When using iMPACT , WebTalk bundles the collected data in a usage_statistics_webtalk.html file and sends this file to Xilinx by https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) post after every session i.e., when the iMPACT GUI is closed.

WebTalk writes a webtalk.log file that contains additional information about whether theusage_statistics_webtalk file was successfully transmitted to Xilinx. WebTalk also prints a message in the console stating that the file was successfully transmitted back to Xilinx.

No messages are printed in the user console. WebTalk reports in the webtalk.log file the reason why data transmission failed.

Additional Information

WebTalk behavior for ISE Design Suite 11 and before is summarized below:

  • Is enabled only from Project Navigator flow after bitstream generation.
  • Bundles the collected data in a device_usage_statistics.html file and sends this file to Xilinx after bitstream generation by https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) post.
  • Pops up a dialog box stating device_usage_statistics.html file will be transmitted to Xilinx.
  • Can be enabled/disabled during installation or by using Project Navigator.