I have a DE0 Altera board with a Cyclone III FPGA from my VHDL class, and I want to learn how to use it in an independent device. Right now I have a Raspberry Pi and wanted to try playing with using those two together, but the problem is the way we learned to use the FPGA in class involves loading the VHDL design through Quartus every time, the file seems to be lost without continuous power.
I asked around and someone mentioned that in an embedded system, the .pof or .sof would be saved onto an external memory and the FPGA reprogrammed on startup. Can someone explain what the process behind this is? Do I need to build a JTAG programmer circuit or use a microcontroller to pull this off? Can I maybe use the SD reader on the DE0 board to hold the .pof instead of buying an EEPROM chip? Are there resources available to learn how to do this?