REVIEW - C&the 8051


C&the 8051


Tom Schultz




Prentice Hall ()


includes CD


Chris Hills


April 1999



Unlike ordinary programming embedded programming is highly specific to the target and the compiler system in use. Thus books on embedded programming generally have to relate to specific targets. This book is no exception. The target is the very popular 8051 family.

This book is appears to be lecturer's course notes. There are footnotes on almost every page. Some times up to half a page. The book should be better thought out to avoid this especially as it is a second edition. I would suggest a total re-write to incorporate the footnotes into the text.

Strangely there is no memory map diagram. This is somewhat essential unless you are familiar with the Harvard memory system. A text only description is rather confusing. The 8051 has different address spaces (both starting at 0) for code and data. There are internal and external memory spaces that are directly and indirectly addressed.

There is a lot of assembler in the book. In fact more assembler than C! There is a complete listing of the 8051 assembly language with mnemonics and hex. (I managed to have a look at the first edition, there is a lot less assembler.) The C does not start until a quarter of the way through and much of the later parts of the book is taken up with the things other than C.

It is not an easy book to dip into to find specific things and it appears to skim many things. It casts its net too wide. Many things appear to be in the book because the students would otherwise ask the lecturer but how many of us really want the jumper settings for an 8051 board we are not likely to find this side of the Atlantic?

There is a CD containing a demo version of the Keil 8051 compiler (limited to 2K) but surprisingly nothing else. None of the source that is in the book, no 8051 data sheets or application notes. What a waste of a CD.

This is clearly a lecturer's course notes turned into a book. The "free" Keil compiler system is no great deal as Keil and all their distributors give this version away to anyone how asks for it. Even to students and hobbyists. The book might be OK for the course but for anyone else it falls far short of what I expect from a book of this type. It is very expensive for what it is and I cannot recommend it.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.