REVIEW - Patterns for Time-triggered Embedded Systems - Building Reliable Applications with the 8051 Family of Microcontrollers


Patterns for Time-triggered Embedded Systems

Building Reliable Applications with the 8051 Family of Microcontrollers


Michael J. Pont



Addison-Wesley Longman (2001)




Chris Hills


December 2001



I would query the title, as it is a book on 8051 Embedded Systems rather than patterns as such. This is not clear from the main title. That said the book is very comprehensive and covers a lot of ground with source examples for everything. I am not sure that I should be doing this review as I was on the review team for the first draft. I was not on the review for the second or final draft. Perhaps it was something I said! Unfortunately, one of my comments does not appear to have been noted. (I say this to all publishers) Which was to have the source code on the CD not printed in the book. The source code is on the CD but also taking up many pages in the book. Why? No one copy-types source code these days (if they ever did). The publishers could have saved a couple of trees and made the book a hundred or two pages shorter than the 1000 it currently is.

The book itself is, I think, aimed at students and would be very good for hobby users of the 8051. The author has taken the pattern system to heart and the book is laid out in a way such that each chapter follows the same format making it very clear and easy to use.

The subject matter goes from the basic to some quite advanced topics, all with examples of software and hardware. The I2C will be of particular interest as many people have problems with this. The example is in C as are the examples of an RS232 to PC link, SPI, keypads and LCD drivers, etc. There is also the obligatory port access and driving various types of loads. The information starts at a simple level (which is why I think it is not aimed at working Engineers) and goes through to the finish. This is for each section therefore there is some information repeated in several places but it does make each section self-contained.

There are examples of schedulers and some esoteric stuff on multiprocessor 8051 systems. There are some interesting things that I have yet to see implemented in an industrial system. It makes for thought provoking reading. Also one very important point; the software works! I know it has all been tested by the author on the version of the compiler supplied with the book. The author has a web site that is up and running where he can be contacted if you have any problems.

I am not entirely happy with some of the opinions expressed (I have discussed it with the author, who does not agree with my opinions!) However, I cannot fault the technical facts. There are a few typos in one or two of the circuit diagrams. However anyone who cannot spot these and make the obvious corrections should not be using this book!

Whilst I have some reservations about this book they are hard to quantify. The quantifiable parts of the book all stand up. It is also one of the few books I have that is also heavy enough to genuinely function as the proverbial doorstop! Though I can see mine being put on the Tech Support shelf as a reference for when I get requests for help on the basics and at the other end, for strange things to do with the 8051. Overall I would recommend the book.

BTW I am responsible for supplying the Keil C51 compiler on the CD inside the back cover. Any problems with this contact me at

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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