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Making Embedded Systems: Design Patterns for Great Software Paperback – November 9, 2011

27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1449302146 ISBN-10: 1449302149 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Making Embedded Systems is the book for a C programmer who wants to enter the fun (and lucrative) world of embedded systems. It's very well written--entertaining, even--and filled with clear illustrations."
--Jack Ganssle, author and embedded system expert.

"Elecia has a lot to share and she's doing it in style with her book Making Embedded Systems. The book is loaded with great information and wisdom. Those just learning embedded systems will find many mysteries revealed with lots of definitions and how-to advice." --James W. Grenning, Author Test-Driven Development for Embedded C

Book Description

Design Patterns for Great Software

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (November 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449302149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449302146
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elecia White has worked on DNA scanners, inertial measurement units for airplanes and race cars, toys for preschoolers, a gunshot location system for catching criminals, and assorted other medical and consumer devices. She is the founder of Logical Elegance, an embedded systems consulting company based in San Jose. Elecia has developed strong skills in signal processing, hardware integration, complex system design, and performance. Having been through FAA and FDA certification processes, she understands the importance of producing quality designs and how they lead to quality implementations.

Elecia has spent several years in management roles but enjoys hands-on engineering and the thrill of delivering excellent products. While continuing to provide leadership and mentoring, she prefers to focus on the technical aspects of a project. A graduate of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA, Elecia enjoys sharing her passion for science, engineering and interesting gizmos, particularly how these things can make the world a better place.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey M. Osier on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was extremely interested in reading this book, partly because it falls in my area of expertise, or at least I thought from the title that it would, and partly because I frequently find gaps in my knowledge base that books like this can fill. On this second point I could not have asked for a better volume. The breadth and depth of the examples and explanations gave me a greater understanding of many of the nuances of embedded systems programming than I had to begin with. The book is well-written and very well organized, and could easily be used as a textbook.

My only regret with the book initially was that it focuses solely on the interface between hardware and software, and does not cover embedded operating systems at all. At first I found this disappointing, and I still think some options could be discussed in an appendix, but I understand that is not the purpose of the book - and quite honestly, I learned so much from it that I can see why the author chose not to include that discussion.

I can't emphasize enough the value of gap-filling knowledge with a book like this.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone learning embedded systems programming who needs to know why an operating system is (or isn't) a good idea for a given project or hardware solution. You should know this stuff before attempting to choose an operating system, which I think is the author's point, and it is very well made.

Disclaimer - I received a review copy of the book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ira Laefsky VINE VOICE on November 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent overview and collection of advice from a veteran, Elicia White, in software development for embedded systems. It is intended for a software developer who is a novice at at the design of resource-constrained embedded systems, and in the integration of hardware components in system design. Ms. White says that it is primarily intended for the development of raw metal micro-controller systems without an operating system, but in my judgement it provides many useful development heuristics that would also serve in the development of more sophisticated software for systems running Linux, an RTOS or Embedded Windows.

Certainly, as indicated in the title(semi-)formal "Design Patterns" are fully described for various characteristics of embedded development, e.g. state machines, and IOCTL-like generic control of input output peripherals; however, I would say that the most valuable contribution this book makes is in explaining the design integration of hardware components and basic EE-technologies to a software developer who has not yet experienced the design of a sophisticated embedded system. Such vital topics to the newbie embedded developer as reading a datasheet, timing diagram, or schematic are presented in an easily understandable fashion (an example datasheet is humorously provided for a dinosaur-based IO subsystem and fully analyzed). The design documentation necessary for a successful embedded project is also fully described.

This is a most necessary guidebook for a software developer involved in any hardware constrained micro-controller project; it would also be extremely useful to the hobbyist who seeks to move beyond simple Arduino-based physical computing projects.

--Ira Laefsky, MSE/MBA IT Consultant & Researcher
formerly on the Senior Consulting Staff of Arthur D. Little, Inc. and Digital Equipment Corporation
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chip Overclock® on July 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have done embedded product development for many years, and I write about my craft under the pen name "Chip Overclock". I read a _lot_, and most of what I read is non-fiction. I have an extensive technical library filling several bookcases. But it is extraordinarily rare for me to read a technical book cover to cover. Yet that's exactly what I did with this book by Elecia White. Making Embedded Systems won't make you an expert embedded developer. Only hard work and experience will do that. But it is the best and broadest and most practical introduction to the art and science of how I've made my living for decades that I have ever come across. And I learned a lot from it too, which gives you a hint as to how technically diverse this field is. If you are wondering if embedded development is the career path for you, or if you want a book you can give a colleague as an introduction, or if (like me) you dream of going back to teaching embedded systems design, this is the book I would recommend.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Nizette on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've read half a dozen "Embedded Systems" books over the last several years and this one is the only one I'd recommend to anyone. Most books like this are long on concept but don't actually leave the reader more or less able to actually design a system themselves. I'm a fairly experienced Embedded Engineer ostensibly screening this book to pass on to junior colleagues, but found myself learning plenty!

This book is concise and very readable but manages to be complete and non-patronizing at the same time. It's primarily aimed at Software Engineers designing for Embedded Systems, but gives a good enough balance that it's equally suited to the Hardware Engineer looking to make their system as software-friendly as possible. I think the thing that impressed me most was that White was so candid about the limitations of the approaches presented. The text leads the reader to understanding the problems and how to go about solving them without trying to present an exhaustive list of "if x then Y" style solutions.

The only slight problem I have is that the section on floating point numbers doesn't, IMO, give enough information about IEEE754 floating point compared to the 'fake floating point' implementation discussed. There's one throw-away comment regarding the inadvisability of splitting the fake FP out in to its own library as you run the risk of re-inventing normal floating point, but it's not made explicit what the important implementation differences are that allow you to maintain the performance improvements touted.
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