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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:
Programming Embedded Systems in C and C++
Author:
Michael Barr
ISBN:
1 56592 354 5
Publisher:
O'Reilly
Pages:
174pp
Price:
£19-95
Reviewer:
Chris Hills
Subject:
internals and hardware; embedded systems
Appeared in:
11-6
This book is rather unusual in that it is the first computing book that my wife actually started to read and complained when I took it from her to review! This is a book for people who are new to embedded computing but not computing. There is no introductory description of binary, hex or a CPU. The reader is assumed to have some familiarity with C.

The author has done a deal with Arcom, whose 80188EB board he uses as an example, for discounts for readers. However mindful of the fact not everyone will be in a position to buy the board he has tried to make the software as portable as embedded software can be. The compiler used is Borland as it will target a 186. Borland compilers have been given away on magazine covers and should be readily available to most readers.

Despite the fact that the book is based around a ready made target board much of the text assumes that not only is the source code new but you will be developing for and testing new prototype hardware. So there is hardware testing with software as well as software testing techniques. This makes the text very valuable for students and home users developing their own projects. Though one of the suggestions to gain a better understanding of the hardware is to take the hardware designers out for a beer.. No, students should have no trouble with this!

The only mistake I can find in the book is the author's assertion that the 80186 was never used as the basis of any PC. There are thousands of British schools

The RM Nimbus Workstation was based on the 88186 which meant that it had more trouble running MSDOS software than my Atari AT running an emulator. Franciswho wish that he was correct!

Whilst the contact details for the Arcom offer are given for the US when I emailed them they forwarded my details to the UK office. The UK office confirmed the offer is also available in the UK.

UK contact details are: Jason Joung, Arcom Control Systems, Clifton Road, Cambridge, CB1 7EA. 01223 411200mailto:jy@arcom.co.uk. I would push for a good deal as the UK price quoted to me looks higher than the US price and the boards are made in the UK!

If you wish to get into embedded programming this is a good book. I like it and would recommend it to students, home users or software engineers moving to embedded work.