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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 Microprocessor Systems; Real World Design
Author:
Stuart Ball
ISBN:
0-7506-9791-1
Publisher:
Newnes
Pages:
175pp
Price:
£27-50
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
embedded systems; internals and hardware
Appeared in:
11-2
This book is for "real world" design and goes into some detail. It seems to be aimed at the smaller embedded systems (8031 etc). Having said that the 8 bit 8051 family is probably still one of the most widely used types in industry.

The text explains things in some detail that will permit the reader to understand how and why things work and tips as to why some things may not. There are also fragments of circuits and code. It is for this reason, coupled with the bias towards the smaller and 8 bit systems that I feel this book will be of use to students and hobbyists who need to produce small projects. Experienced engineers moving to the embedded world may find this book covers areas they already know.

The jacket blurb says "two embedded systems are used throughout to illustrate specific concepts". I found one in the appendix. For the student it is very useful as it gives a full life cycle. A textual system definition better known as "User Requirements" (Experienced engineers know these are subject to change at any point in the life-cycle, including after delivery!) The requirements are followed by hardware and software design, pseudocode, flowcharts and schematics. The laying out of a system like this is very useful as it shows how much textual design work is required long before a line of code is written. The method used is also a good starting point.

Whilst the book is written by an experienced engineer with many useful gems in the text, it is a little slim for the price. It might have been better had it been combined with the author's book on debugging embedded systems. Having said that there is no padding unlike many books. On balance I like this book.