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In this paper we present Worldsens, an integrated environment for development and rapid prototyping of wireless sensor network applications. Our environment relies on software simulation to help the designer during the whole development process. The refinement is done starting from the high level design choices down to the target code implementation, debug and performance analysis. In the early stages of the design, high level parameters, like for example the node sleep and activity periods, can be tuned using WS- Net, an event driven wireless network simulator. WSNet uses models for applications, protocols and radio medium communication with a parameterized accuracy. The second step of the sensor network application design takes place after the hardware implementation choices. This second step relies on the WSim cycle accurate hardware platform simulator. WSim is used to debug the application using the real target binary code. Precise performance evaluation, including real-time analysis at the interrupt level, are made possible at this low simulation level. WSim can be connected to WSNet, in place of the application and protocol models used during the high level simulation to achieve a full distributed application simulation. WSNet and WSNet+WSim allow a continuous refinement from high level estimations down to low level real-time validation. We illustrate the complete application design process using a real life demonstrator that implements a hello protocol for dynamic neighborhood discovery in a wireless sensor network environment.