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Title: Arm System Developers Guide Designing and Optimizing System Software

Review Date, Jan 2004
Author: Andrew Sloss, Dominic Symes, Chris Wright
Pub: Elsevier
ISBN: 1-55860-874-5
COST: 42.99 GBP
DISK/CD/Web: website.
Cover: hard
Pages: 688
Keywords: ARM
Recommendation: Recommended
Source: - Publisher



The world has gone ARM mad. ARM is in “everything” but because ARM was originally an IP core that was put in to ASICs and FPGAs rather than a stand alone MCU most of the ARM books tend to be biased to this area. Others are high level over view books for managers to understand the revolution. This book is different it is a software engineer’s book.


Unlike many books on MCU’s this one does not assume you are a student. It does not explain hex, binary and what an address bus is. It also assumes familiarity with assembler and C. However after introduction on the architecture and the instructions set there is a section on C. It explains how to optimise C programs for the ARM architecture. Why in some cases 32 bit ints are more efficient than 8 bit chars for local 8 bit variables. It highlights many other architecture specific optimisations. The following chapter goes a stage further to look at optimising the assembler. The compilers used for examples are ARM’s own and GCC.


The early chapters on the architecture and the basics of interrupts and exceptions will be of use to most people as will the section on firmware bootloader. This looks at, the ARM-Firmware Suite, RedBoot and Sandstone, their own system.


C++ is mentioned in passing and Linux not at all. There are other books on this by the same publisher (see the Newnes web site). That said there is a chapter on embedded OS. It is their own SLOS or Simple Little OS where they explore the pragmatics of building an ARM OS. Further chapters look the cache, MPU and MMU, which will answer most questions not only for an OS but the majority of apps as well. I was getting worried at this point as the URL on the book’s cover drew a blank. However if you look for the book via the main www.mkp.com web site you will get the page with OS and the all the source used in the book


The chapter on DSP will serve as a useful introduction to many who want to know what DSP is. Whilst the complete Fast Fourier Transform example in assembler will be a good starting point to those porting DSP to ARM so you can see the optimisations. That said this is really and over view on DSP and you will need some more in depth documentation on DSP for those new to the subject.

I like the book and have been recommending it to anyone working on the ARM MCUs . It is a SW Engineers book. The book covers up to architecture ARMv6 ie ARM11 MCU’s which is everything current.


What is missing? The peripherals. Those are specific to the silicon vendors who will no doubt be producing data for them. So armed with this book and the specific data sheet you should be able to do anything with ARM. MCU’s.


Note to authors, 2nd ed in a couple of years please. If this book keeps up with the new developments it will become The ARM book for software developers in fact it could become their Right ARM. Recommended for all ARM SW engineers.