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Title:  Embedded Systems Design: An Introduction

to Process, Tools and Techniques

Review Date August 2002
Author: Arnold S Berger
Pub: CMP Books
ISBN: 1-57820-073-073-1
Cover: soft
Pages 233
Keywords: Embedded real-time system engineering
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Source: - ACCU book list



The problem with embedded systems is no two are the same. Therefore a book on embedded systems is either covering a very wide field or looks at a particular aspect of it. Most look at a single development on a specific architecture. This book manages to cover a very wide field but feels as though it is looking at your project!


The text basically goes through an embedded system lifecycle as sub title says "introduction to process tools and techniques". Therefore, un-surprisingly there is virtually no source code nor a single circuit diagram. There are no hex or ASCII tables nor lists or compiler or dev kit vendors.


This book is one of the first I have come across that sensibly describes an almost generic embedded system development. It does not go into enough detail to discuss use of interrupts and or a specific processor design but will guide you though the choices and pitfalls of being a project manager or engineer on an embedded system. Which, paradoxically does mention interrupts and processor choice. The author has obviously been there and accordingly a lot of the text is anecdotal, but real world, problems and solutions.


Due to the author having been employed by a silicon vendor as well as a being development Engineer and a collage lecturer there are some fascinating insights in to the industry that many others will not have picked up and I actually enjoyed reading this book.


This is a book that many graduates or new engineers who want to go into embedded work should read. It is difficult to quantify as it gives advice on process and methods without diagrams. One example is development tools such as ICE. The author explains in broad terms what an ICE is and what you can do with it. He then goes on to explain the views and philosophy of dev tools as seen from the view of the silicon vendor, the tools vendor and the project management (and accountants)… absolutely fascinating and, from my experience, very accurate.


The other main sections are selection process of processor/rtos/tools. The hardware/software partitioning decisions. The development environment, tools, debuggers and testing… the book is not as big as you would think but it's all in there.

So this book will help with the politics of embedded system development. Politics and economics usually intrude in to embedded systems far more than any "normal" development because the embedded system is usually a sub-part of something else. The book will help you to see why the tool/silicon vendor is taking the stance that they are and why sometimes the obvious technical answer may not be the right one.


There are some interesting comments and ideas that could save you a lot more that the cost of this book. The author lists all his references on a per chapter basis, which I found helpful to find source material for a specific aspect of the book. Many are available on the web.


This book has been clearly written by some one how has been there, suffered and learnt. Useful for students, Engineers moving to embedded systems and managers.
Highly Recommended (and I don't say that often these days)