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An Embedded Software Primer [Paperback]

David E. Simon
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 62.99
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Book Description

Aug. 5 1999 020161569X 978-0201615692 1
"I sincerely wish (this book) had been available when I had to learn all this stuff the hard way."
--Steve Vinoski
"An excellent job of introducing and defining the jargon associated with embedded systems. This makes the text extremely easy to read."
--David Cuka

An Embedded Software Primer is a clearly written, insightful manual for engineers interested in writing embedded-system software. The example-driven approach puts you on a fast track to understanding embedded-system programming and applying what you learn to your projects. This book will give you the necessary foundation to work confidently in this field.

Building on a basic knowledge of computer programming concepts, this book will help you to:

  • Learn core principles and advanced techniques of embedded-system software.
  • Find out what a real-time operating system (RTOS) does and how to use one effectively.
  • Experiment with sample code and the µC/OS RTOS version 1.11 (on the accompanying CD).
  • Apply what you learn, no matter which microprocessor or RTOS you use.

After reading this book, you will be able to tackle the challenges of embedded system programming and quickly reap the benefits of your new skills.

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"An excellent job of introducing and defining the jargon associated with embedded systems. This makes the text extremely easy to read." -- David Cuka

I sincerely wish (this book) had been available when I had to learn all this stuff the hard way." -- Steve Vinoski

From the Inside Flap

This book is to help you learn the basic principles of writing software for embedded systems. It surveys the issues and discusses the various techniques for dealing with them. In particular, it discusses approaches to the appropriate use of the real-time operating systems upon which much embedded software is based. In addition to explaining what these systems do, this book points out how you can use them most effectively.

You need know nothing about embedded-systems software and its problems to read this book; we'll discuss everything from the very beginning. You should be familiar with basic computer programming concepts: you might be a software engineer with a year or more of experience, or perhaps a student with a few programming courses under your belt. You should understand the problems involved in writing application programs. This book requires a reading knowledge of the C programming language; since C is the lingua franca of embedded systems, you will have to learn it sooner or later if you hope to get into the field. A little knowledge of assembly language will also be helpful.

You have no doubt seen many books about software that are 800 or 900 or even 1000 pages long. Presumably you have noticed by now that this book is much smaller than that. This is intentional--the idea is that you might actually want to read all the way through it. This book is not entitled Everything There Is to Know about Embedded Systems Software. Nobody could write that book, and if someone could and did, you wouldn't want to read it anyway. This book is more like What You Need to Know to Get Started in Embedded Systems Software, telling you enough that you'll understand the issues you will face and getting you started on finding the information about your particular system so that you can resolve those issues.

This book is not specific to any microprocessor or real-time operating system nor is it oriented towards any particular software design methodology. The principles are the same, regardless of which microprocessor and which realtime operating system and which software design methodology you use. We will concentrate on the principles--principles that you can apply to almost any embedded system project. When you need to know the specifics of your microprocessor and your real-time operating system, look in the voluminous manuals that hardware and software vendors provide with their products. This book will help you know what information to look for.

This book is not academic or theoretical; it offers engineering information and engineering advice. In short, this book is the cornerstone of the knowledge that you'll need for writing embedded-systems software.

David E. Simon


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Way to basic! Dec 19 2003
By A Customer
It's just what it say "a primer". This book seems like it would be great for someone who has never programmed for embedded systems. However, if you have even a few months experiance under your belt, this book is a big waste of time. I purchased this book to use a quick refresh after being away from embedded programming for a few years. Sent it back after reading about 25% and skimming the rest.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good book used in UW Extension course Nov. 10 2003
By A Customer
A good book for introducing embedded systems concepts from a practical point of view. It is used, along with uCOS-II by Jean J Labrosse, in a one of a kind certificate program course at the
University of Washington Extension,
Embedded and Real-Time Systems Programming (...)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading for embedded developers Nov. 4 2003
I've been working with embedded systems for 10 years, and found lots of info, I hadn't seen or read before. The chapters on hardware is good info, and the review of RTOS architectures and core functions was a nice refresher. If you're new to embedded system design, then I'd highly recommend this book to nail down the basics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read Embedded Software Primer Oct. 1 2002
If you are going to buy only one book on Embedded Software Programming, this should be the one. The author introduces virtually everything an engineer needs to know about programming embedded systems. There are two chapters describing hardware stuff that is useful for the software engineer to know. There is a chapter on Interrupts. There are three chapters on programming in an RTOS environment. All of the chapters include coding examples on what to do, and also examples of code with bugs to watch out for. There is also a chapter on debugging techniques.
All of the other FIVE STAR reviews (and many of the FOUR STAR ones as well) contain more specific points which I won't repeat here.
However, I will echo what I said at the beginnning. If there is only one book you are going to buy about programming embedded systems, this should be the one.
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I started working on an embedded platform 1 year ago. Although now I have a good understanding of a lot of the aspects of the system, I never get the big picture.
This book provides exactly what I needed.
If you are a working software engineer and have spent years doing high level programming, the first few chapters will give you a good review of low-level-close-to-the-machine things that you need to know, which is also very useful for students as these are very important concepts that they need to understand to have a solid foundation to conquer higher level, more abstract CS subjects.
In embedded system, bugs in task code can bring down the device. Author has done a very good job explaining how to protect shared data using mechanism provided by a RTOS. The communication between interrupt/task and among tasks are also discussed thoroughly.
Unlike the other reviewer, I found the use of the C!! language in this book a very clever way to abstract away the hardware dependent code from the point being discussed. Consider it pseudo comment if you will.
BTW, the excellent typesetting and use of fonts also makes it a very pleasant experience reading this book.
Looking forward to see a more advanced text on embedded system from this author in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview July 16 2002
This book is very good overview of the process of embedded software design. Experts in embedded software design will probably not get much out of this book as he doesn't go into much detail on the individual topics he covers. However, the scope of this book is intended for those who are looking for a general overview of embedded systems so criticism is not really warrented IMO. Topics covered include RTOS, memory management, message management and multi-tasking system development. Anyone looking to get started on learning the principles of embedded software development should find this book worth a look.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Too basic May 13 2002
This book gives a solid overview of embedded systems and how they work in conjunction with hardware and software, but it does not give enough in depth analysis of embedded systems. For example, the book tries to show how to write certain software for embedded applications, but gives too generic examples using a created language called "C!" It would be more effective of a book if it had actual examples of embedded software such as device drivers, etc. Otherwise, it does a solid job of explaining the basics of different interrupts, semaphores, etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good primer. April 29 2002
My friend recommended this book to me when I wanted to understand the fundamentals of Embedded systems.
The chapters on Hardware overview took me back memory lanes when I was at college. Good refresher.
What I most liked about the book is the section that deals with choices of embedded architecture and how and when to chose specific architecture.
Book is accompanied by a CD with a kernel of an embedded OS along with the source code. Haven't had the time to go over the CD. Nevertheless, I got what I wanted regarding embedded systems. I can understand embedded system much better now.
Currently, this is the only good book on fundamentals of embedded systems in the market.
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