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The Firmware Handbook - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780750676069, 9780080470177

The Firmware Handbook

1st Edition

Author: Jack Ganssle
eBook ISBN: 9780080470177
Paperback ISBN: 9780750676069
Imprint: Newnes
Published Date: 18th March 2004
Page Count: 365
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Table of Contents


Section I: Basic Hardware

Chapter 1: Basic Electronics
Chapter 2: Logic Circuits
Chapter 3: Hardware Design Tips

Section II: Designs

Chapter 4: Tools and Methods for Improving Code Quality
Chapter 5: Tips to Improve Functions
Chapter 6: Evolutionary Development
Chapter 7: Embedded State Machine Implementation
Chapter 8: Hierarchical State Machiens
Chapter 9: Developing Safety Critical Applications
Chapter 10: Installing and Using a Version Control System

Section III: Math

Chapter 11: An Introduction to Machine Calculations
Chapter 12: Floating Point Approximations
Chapter 13: Math Functions
Chapter 14: IEEE 754 Floating Point Numbers

Section IV: Real-Time

Chapter 15: Real-Time Kernels
Chapter 16: Reentrancy
Chapter 17: Interrupt Latency
Chapter 18: Understanding Your C Compiler: How to Minimize Code Size
Chapter 19: Optimizing C and C++ Code
Chapter 20: Real-Time Asserts

Section V: Errors and Changes

Chapter 21: Implementing Downloadable Firmware with Flash Memory
Chapter 22: Memory Diagnostics
Chapter 23: Nonvolatile Memory
Chapter 24: Proactive Debugging
Chapter 25: Exception Handling in C++
Chapter 26: Building a Great Watchdog

Appendix A: ASCII Table
Appendix B: Byte Alignment and Ordering


The Firmware Handbook provides a comprehensive reference for firmware developers looking to increase their skills and productivity. It addresses each critical step of the development process in detail, including how to optimize hardware design for better firmware. Topics covered include real-time issues, interrupts and ISRs, memory management (including Flash memory), handling both digital and analog peripherals, communications interfacing, math subroutines, error handling, design tools, and troubleshooting and debugging.

This book is not for the beginner, but rather is an in-depth, comprehensive one-volume reference that addresses all the major issues in firmware design and development, including the pertinent hardware issues.


Embedded systems developers, programmers and designers, electronics engineers and technicians.


No. of pages:
© Newnes 2004
18th March 2004
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:


This handbook will be the standard reference in the field, it provides a much-needed comprehensive information source for firmware developers looking to increase their skills and productivity. - EDN Magazine

This book is edited by Jack Ganssle and includes contributions from a wide range of writters, making this book very broadly based. Any software graduate reading this book would be taking a step in the right direction for learning about software issues that arise in developing production level embedded software. More experienced engineers may find a lot of the material familiar, though I came across a few points that I had not seen elsewhere.

The first thing I noticed was that unlike most embedded systems books, this one does not emphasise a particular processor, or RTOS, or technology. This is probably a good thing if you are looking for a broad embedded education, rather than details of one specific technology. The book also has more of a software emphasis than most books on this topic. -

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Jack Ganssle

Jack Ganssle has 30 years' experience developing embedded systems. He has authored two books, The Art of Programming Embedded Systems and The Art of Designing Embedded Systems, and writes a regular column in Embedded Systems Programming magazine. Michael Barr is the editor-in-chief of Embedded Systems Programming magazine and the principal of Netrino Consultants Network. He wrote Programming Embedded Systems in C and C++.

Affiliations and Expertise

Founder and Principal Consultant, The Ganssle Group, Baltimore,MD, USA; Technical editor and columnist for Embedded Systems Programming magazine