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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Embedded Systems Design
Author:
Steve Heath
ISBN:
0-7506-3237-2
Publisher:
Newnes
Pages:
350pp
Price:
£25-00
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
embedded systems; internals and hardware
Appeared in:
11-2
This book was a breath of fresh air. It is written by a working industrial embedded systems engineer, not an academic writing for students or a book aimed at the hobby market. The other unusual aspect is that the 8051 family is not mentioned at all! The first part of the book looks at the 68**, 68K*, PowerPC, RISK (SPARC), DSP chips and i86 series. The i86 series in an embedded book should not surprise any one.

Text naturally flows from CPUs to peripherals, memory organisation, RTOS and SW (design). The text discusses the relative merits of the hardware, sw methods for utilising memory, buffers and some of the more common tools. The tools mentioned are by type (though one is by name) and thus is generic rather than "XYZ's Version 1.3 for Z80b and apart from the chip families covered there is no "company bias" in the book that I could perceive or selling of company tools or systems.

In any event most of the techniques will remain valid for many years and discussions of some of the trade off decisions that embedded engineers need to make will always be valid regardless of CPU, RTOS or tools used. It is clear that the author has a lot of experience and has had to make these decisions in a commercial environment not in the technical purity(?) of an ivory tower in an academic environment. I found that the text read like some of the recent design discussions I have had on a real project. The book is full of useful tips that the reader will pick up in passing.

This is not a SW cook book nor does it have lots of circuit diagrams this is a system design book that will help at a higher level to decide which CPU or rather which type, whether or not you need an RTOS, multitasking and the like. There are a couple of case studies but these are design and do not get as far as C source or circuit diagrams. Students intending to go into embedded work will find this book useful. It is not for the hobbyist, despite what the publisher thinks, otherwise a good book.