Embedded Software: Know It All

Jan. 29, 2008
By Labrosse, et. al.
ISBN: 978-0-7506-8583-2
First it was Dummies. Now it is Know It All. Not bad for a brand name and – in this instance — a pretty good book as well. Embedded Software is a collection of papers from a range of authors. The main difference between a compendium and this book (and most in the series) is that the papers/chapters are designed to flow together. The results are fair, albeit much better than many multi-author books I’ve read. One advantage of this approach is a more varied set of examples. The book covers a range of topics from operating systems to networking, which will already be familiar to embedded developers. Since it’s a software book, there’s a chapter on debugging and coding techniques. Topic areas like IDEs — including Eclipse, UML and model-based development — only get minor mentions. Given the size of the book and the other areas it covers, this is a bit meager. And while there’s good coverage of DSPs, the FPGA section is skimpy. Overall, the book gives anyone with a basic knowledge of C a good introduction to embedded programming. I was surprised that some of the examples in the book were in pseudo code instead of C but this depends upon the author and the chapter. In most chapters, C examples abound. I liked the mix of solid examples based on real products like the VxWorks operating system and the Rabbit Semiconductor RCM3200. But I was disappointed that the intro to Dynamic C took up space in the networking chapter. The intro is great, but it takes pages away from network stack and protocol coverage. Still, its networking chapter is one of the better ones. The accompanying CD has a few docs and manuals but not much else. Source for two chapters is included. Each chapter is essentially a standalone item, so it’s easy to go topic-hunting if you don’t want to read cover-to-cover. Almost any reader will be likely to find a useful tidbit even if they are well-versed in the field.

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