Elecia White has released her new book on O’Reilly media, “Making Embedded Systems: Design Patterns for Great Software.”
Her initial motivation was to guide another good engineer into arcane and relatively undocumented world of firmware and embedded systems. Disclosure: She’s a friend and I have provided comments on some chapters…and an interview question.
If you have read any of my blog entries you know I am all about this topic. While I have ready many books on the topic, she has formalized what typically I have picked up on the job or by reading articles by Jack Ganssle. I would not hesitate to provide a junior engineer or application software engineer this book to get started. That said, even a seasoned person can gain value from this book. For example, while I have had to optimized code for memory size, she laid out a different procedure that can help hone in on critical spots quickly. Another facet, I enjoyed was that someone finally addressed how to read a datasheet. Sure hardware engineers are already comfortable here but the uninitiated need some guidance and many engineer programs don’t and won’t cover this but this skill is key.
O’Reilly books are generally readable but White improved on this with a whimsical style to keep it fun and interesting. Some of the sections felt a lot like Russell and Norvig classic book on AI. This topics matched with a bit of silliness in the examples makes learning the material fun and a breeze. The questions at the end test more than the basics. They get you thinking beyond the basics and that’s what I want in anyone I hire for my team start-up or not.
And to the one person who has already commented on my interview question contribution: I really love seeing engineers get a chance to be silly and inventive.