Bad to the Bone: Crafting Electronic Systems with BeagleBone and BeagleBone Black (Anglais) Broché – 1 avril 2013
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On dirait un condensé de rapports (plus ou moins bons) de projet d'étudiants sur le Beaglebone: On nous présente des idées, des trucs qu'il peut faire, et c'est tout.
- Sur certains points, on va rentrer bizarrement dans des détails incroyables. Genre le fonctionnement d'une LED.
- Mais sur d'autres, qui semblent essentiels à la compréhension du BBB (par exemple la gestion des interruptions des entrées/sorties), on va complètement les occulter. Passer discrètement à autre chose.
Il y a même des parties, des paragraphes complets qui sont répétés, mot pour mot, plusieurs fois dans le livre... hum pas très sérieux...
Je recommande plutôt "Getting Started with BeagleBone" qui en apporte bien plus pour 5 fois moins cher (alors que c'est quand même qu'une introduction...). A compléter avec "Solutions temps réel sous Linux" pour une compréhension de la gestion du HW sous Linux.
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On the technical side, the explanations are more suited for at least a Junior Level college course where students have had a couple of years of microcontroller interfacing and are knowledgeable about the ARM processor and the peripherals. The author only provides a vague overview with programming stubs stating that the details are left for exercises at the end of the chapter.
He provides only a cursory introduction on BoneScript. He does not present how the user loads, launches, or interacts with the interpreter.
He lists two different robot platforms for his exercises, one from Graymark International and a DFROBOT ROB00003 from Jameco. Both examples could utilize the DFROBOT and save the person trying to learn some money.
He provides a very poor explanation of the interface headers. He does not go into the different processor modes and why one would or would not choose one over the other. The person trying to learn Beagle is left to trial and error. Pick a header (8 or 9) and guess at what pin you should use. If you guess wrong, or if the processor is in the wrong mode, oh well, that is your problem.
He tries to push the use of UML Charts as some type of 'visualization' tool for embedded design. These charts appear to be nothing more than a torturing of the charts used in The Jackson Design Methodology (Ref. Creating Effective Software, Computer Program Design Using the Jackson Methodology, David King, Yourdon Press Computing Series, ISBN 0-13-189242-8. Yes, I know the Jackon approach is a transaction analysis and not embedded design. Or refer to Chapter 10 Transform Analysis in Structured Design, Fundamentals of a Discipline of Computer Program and System Design, Yourdon and Constantine, Prentice-Hall, Inc., ISBN 0-13-854471-9.
Or,if you really want to learn Object Oriented Programming (event driven programming) I would recommend Object-Oriented Analysis and Design, with Applications by Grady Booch, Benjamin/Cummings Publishing, Inc., ISBN 0-8053-5340-2. Or if it is still available, purchase a copy of the Object Oriented Programming in C++ by David S. Burris, Ph.D in Computing Science, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 77340. An embedded system could be designed as a Top-down program, but Object-Oriented Programming is more suited to this paradigm. The purpose of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) is to develop an efficient system that is driven by events and not a top-down iteration. By nature, embedded systems are event driven. That is, the environment (albeit the user or some sensor) triggers an event and the processor must respond to the event. Events are not necessarily sequential or linear in their occurrence and frequency. They are random and the system should conform to the world it is trying to control.
All-in-all, I was greatly disappointed in this book. Being a first to market book, I thought it might be the "Beagle Bible". Instead, IMHO, it is the "Beagle-boondoggle." Hopefully Dale Wheat will write a BeagleBoneBlack Internals so everyone can learn the ins-and-outs of Beagle.
A serious error on my part.
This book was hastily jammed out by a couple faculty types who can fill in the gaps during the lectures. Good on them - class or no, there are LOT of gaps. I'm not sure what their course is about, perhaps Embedded Systems programmed in C, but the material in the book is not comprehensive without a lot of help. There is a section on C, but it is really sketchy.
The overview of the BeagleBone Black hardware adds essentially nothing to the materials posted at BeagleBone.org. When compared to the free presentation by the CEO of BeagleBoard ([...] the book is a complete waste of time.
Bad to the Bone essentially presents some class projects, and gives enough material to maybe get through the work with the help of a decent TA, but newcomers aren't going to really learn the whys-and-wherefores. Project source codes are given, but I didn't spot a URL where one might get the sources. (I've found the effort of typing something blindly from a book isn't terribly educational - it's much more profitable to use the time to dig into why things are done a certain way, and what alternative techniques are available.)
There is more sketchiness about Linux programming. Over the top for hobby newcomers, not enough for people wanting to do something semi-serious (though I don't view Linux as appropriate for embedded systems).
Anyone interested in starting from scratch would be well advised to learn BoneScript as a way of goofing to learn or to quickly bringing up a new project.
I found the reviews on this book slightly confusing, with some people who absolutely loved the book and others that found it not helpful at all. The author pairing on this book was also different. One coming from a hardware/ microcontroller background (Barrett) and one coming from almost a software only background (Kridner). The Beaglebone was also similar in that it appeared to have the microcontroller peripheral abilities, but instead of using C/C++ Language to program-- had the ability to run higher level, linux based computer languages. After reading the book I found that the mix of reviews, plus the intersection of two completely different author backgrounds were related. This book is ideal for either Computer Science- type audiences who wish to get into hardware design (e.g. think the audience that buys a raspberry pi and uses an arduino) or microcontroller type people who wish to learn more about the world of embedded linux.
+ The Book comes with homework examples and labs that you can use to set up. Full Bill of materials lists and exercises are available. (I was not sure if there was a solutions manual, but I didn't contact the author to ask).
+ The book is structured in a traditional embedded systems format and follows a semester long-style of course
+ the examples are detailed and easy to follow if you are familiar with traditional microcontroller-type courses
+ It is one of the only texts on the market that covers the white beaglebone which still can be purchased at retailers such as Microcenter
- The book spends a lot of time with different programming languages. Although it is an advantage of using an OS-based processor like this one, I felt there wasn't enough time spent on the differences between a microcontroller and this type of processor.
- The expectations of this book were very lofty, beginning with " New Comers" and even "experienced" ... it was difficult for me to gauge which audience I fit into and had to invest the time to read the book and decide for myself.
I felt the book perhaps needed a supplemental, "Linux for new people" section, since I am completely unfamiliar with anything running anything higher than a real time OS.
I come from a traditional microcontroller background, and found it a bit overkill to use a Linux based operating system to blink an LED. In a microcontroller-textbook the focus is usually on the interfacing with peripherals, software to handle the interupt nature of software and getting to learn the individual components inside of the processor to create an overall system. Bad to the Bone had many of these examples and the focus that one would normally find in a microcontroller text (such as building a robot and interfacing to seven segment displays). What was interesting for me was the intersection of the Linux, computer science material that was interspersed into the book.Computer science books have always been a bit of a struggle for me to get through (considering that most of the activity can be done on a computer and getting hands on isn't a priority).
I think all and all this is a good book, but you will need to have your expectations set before getting into it.
If you are looking for an in-depth understanding of the Cortex A Processor that is on-board, the resources mentioned in some of the reviews may be a better place to go.
If you are looking for a quick, Get Up and Running with some examples, the new Matt Richardson Book-- would be a better place to go.
However, if you are teaching embedded systems, are willing to invest the time to learn embedded linux or are in computer science and are looking for ways to make your programming courses more physical-computing type and an Arduino is not educational focused enough for you, then this book, in my opinion, would be a good fit.
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