Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Designer's Guide to VHDL, Second Edition (Systems on Silicon)
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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on February 20, 2001
Until Peter's next book comes out of course! I would give it 5 stars if I was just learning the VHDL language, but I'm actually trying to use VHDL for FPGA design and this book falls short in that regard.
This book is really good at explaining the 'mechanics' of VHDL programming. It is an out growth of Peter's "Intro to VHDL" paper that was published on the web and it sort of shows. I really like the depth that it goes into, I wish it had the standard libraries in the appendix. (it doesn't) However, until getting Ashendon's book, all other VHDL texts were pretty opaque.
The only thing this book does not have is a treatment of logic 'inference.' Since all VHDL compilers today "infer" (a fancy way of saying "guess") what logic would be able to implement a behavior, not understanding how those compilers guess makes it possible to write syntactically clean VHDL that doesn't synthesize any logic. To get a better handle on inference I'd recommend "HDL Chip Design" by Smith.
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on July 28, 2000
This book has a very detailed and complete coverage of the VHDL langauge. The book is clearly geared to the beginner and serves as a great tutorial on the language, however the depth is good enough that even a seasoned VHDL programmer will find it of good benefit both at increasing their depth in the language and also as a desk reference. My main criticism of the book is that I found it somewhat verbose in description on certain topics. While the detail is needed on the more complex or subtle topics, it seems to drag on with some of the more trivial ideas. In any case, the good clearly wins out in an overall must have VHDL reference.
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Too many VHDL books dilute their point by trying to double as logic design texts. The problem is that VHDL is a complex (or "rich") language, and needs an intense focus of its own. This book does the best job I've seen.
I've learned lots of languages, usually one or two a year. I know what to look for. I want a book that lays it all out clearly enough that I can find what I want. That includes complex data types, overloading, and especially configurability. VHDL really does have almost all the capabilities of a C-like language, plus a few more features, and the author has succeeded in making them accessible.
Configurability deserves special attention - it is an explicit part of the VHDL language. It's a pre-Object-Oriented language but was developed when OO ideas were solidfying in the industry. Although it lacks OO flexibility, Ashenden does point out how "use" and "configure" can give a few of the same effects.
Hardware description languages aren't like regular programming languages, and shouldn't be, and can't be. Still, they're not that different, either. Perhaps you're already a good programmer and already comfortable with digital system basics. If so, this may be the book to give you the language knowledge you need with minimal repetition of what you already know.
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on March 16, 2005
VHDL is used for a wide variety of things - almost none of them what VHDL was every really meant for. This makes finding a useful text a reference a significant chore. Ashenden sometimes seems to move at a snail's pace - the text is written more as a tutorial than a reference. In some ways this is good, really the syntax of VHDL and the constructs are quite simple. His repeated examples make it clear there really isn't much magic going on. Personally I wish the book was more directed at synthesis - because that's what I use it for - but this text is more directed at the language. So some supplementing of the text will be necessary.

In short, it could be better but I'm not sure how and for my requirements it appears to be about the best the market has to offer.
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on August 24, 2005
This book goes into great detail on variable typing, subtyping, and all aspects of behavioral modeling. It's extremely detailed and thourough. If you just want to learn the intricacies of VHDL and only expect to write test benches and behavioral models, this is definitely the book for you. If you're looking for a practical book that will help you to write synthesizable code, look somewhere else. The book does have a 17-page appendix on synthesis, but that's pretty much it. All the "case studies" are behavioral, even the RTL models.
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on January 28, 2001
I have borrowed this book many times from the library but never was able to read it thouroughly. This is a very complete book and you can have it for a complete reference. However, this book is too much for somebody (like me) needing VHDL for IC design instead of a complete VHDL language reference (remember logic synthesis only use a subset of what VHDL is offering). Also this book seems to be too much for a beginner.
In short, this is an excellent for VHDL languange reference, but if you are a beginner and/or need VHDL for logic synthesis without a complete VHDL language reference, you may not need this book.
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on August 9, 2001
I like this book and Bhasker's VHDL Primer 3rd Ed. TDG2VHDL is written well and has many examples. If you learn best with examples this book will ease you into the world of VHDL. I teach VHDL for EsperanDOTcom and always recommend this book to the delegates in my class. As for testbenches, it is a little weak and this accounts for my 4 and not 5 star rating. I highly recommend Janick Bergeron's Writing Testbenches for this subject.
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