FPGA programming or FPGA development process is the process of planning, designing and implementing a solution on FPGA. The amount and type of planning vary from application to application.
But creating a requirements document that captures all specific requirements and creating a design document that explains how the proposed solution would be implemented can be very helpful to enumerate potential problems and plan around them. A little bit of time spent creating a quality design document will save tons of time in refactoring, debugging and bug fixing later.
Implementing a solution on FPGA includes building the design using one of the design entry methods such as schematics or HDL code such as Verilog or VHDL, Synthesizing the design (Synthesis, netlist generation, place and route etc..) in to output files that FPGAs can understand and program the output file to the physical FPGA device using programming tools.
Entering the design using schematics is not used in the industry widely anymore. So we will keep the discussion limited to design entry using HDL (Hardware Description Language), specifically Verilog in this article series.
Synthesis and programming are almost completely taken care of the vendor tools such as ISE and Vivado and Numato Lab configuration tools. All necessary steps to be taken by the user as part of design entry, synthesis and programming will be explained in subsequent sections.