Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Review of Arduino Cookbook

Create your own robots, toys, remote controllers, alarms, detectors, and many other projects with the Arduino device. This simple microcontroller board lets artists and designers build a variety of amazing objects and prototypes that interact with the physical world. With this book, you can dive...
Excellent Arduino Reference
Okay, so I have another book review to do. I blew through this book but it took less time because I was really into it and it helps that I understood a whole lot about it already so it was more a matter of going through the code to see what was going on.
So, the book I'm talking about is the Arduino Cookbook by Michael Margolis. If you have a little programming experience, want to learn the Arduino, and can read the instructions given, this is the book for you. I found this to be a very thorough book in getting people new to Arduino up to speed and gives great examples on how to do just about anything you would want. Even if you know the Arduino, it's a great reference for other projects you may want to do in the future.

I have been learning the Arduino on my own using some tutorials online and found this to be an excellent compliment to what I have been learning. It goes over how to install the software on Windows and Mac and then helps you through the process of connecting up to your board. This can be found online but it's good to see some basics in there. Being extremely rusty on C/C++ programming, there were some nuances to C that I did not know and this book pointed those subtleties out. What I really found impressive in the beginning chapters was the advanced code used by C programmers to make things a little easier, if you happen to know advanced C. I'm in the process of learning C at work so this is great that I get to have fun at home while polishing what I learn at work at the same time.

The latter chapter in the book start to go through many different projects that can be done and gives you the basics of how to do them. You'll need to know a little about what you're wanting to do but gives good references of where to go and look for more information just in case you need to learn a little more before you dive into your project. There's one small project where you learn how to interface a Playstation controller with the computer and then control Google Earth with it. I'm definitely giving that one a try and then will gets called a huge nerd for doing it. Thus is the life of an engineer that has fun at  home with electronics. Oh well.

As good as this book is, there are a few shortcomings I found a little disturbing for anyone that doesn't know much about what they are doing. I found some minor mistakes in the book such as the output to the serial monitor being slightly different than what you would expect. e.g., when parsing out words separated by commas, it shows two of the three words separated but doesn't show the last word. If you code it up as shown, it does it just fine but if you are trying to check against the book, it will be "wrong" because the book is missing part of the output. Also, in the first chapter, it shows how to connect a small speaker to the Arudino and explains how to get a tone out of it but doesn't show how to do any of it in the example code given. The code has a minor omission that with the proper fix, should run the speaker just fine.

I have to say this was a great book and will be wonderful to have around. Thanks again to O'Reilly for sending me a copy to review. I really enjoy this program!
Disclaimer: This book was received as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program. All the comments represent my thoughts and opinions.

No comments:

Post a Comment