42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Wow. Where to begin with this book? So much to say...
Here's my first thought: If you are looking for a simplified, superficial and less-than-complete review of all-things Beaglebone, then do not buy this book. For everyone else, this book is a MUST HAVE!
I got the Kindle version of this book almost two weeks ago, and have spent 6-8 hours per day reading it and working on the examples--and I am still only in Chapter 8. There are a LOT of examples, and they are generally very thorough. Dr. Molloy has also created a companion website for this book (who else does that, btw?), and I've regularly been posting any little errata that I find to the page for the appropriate chapter. There have been very minor errata found thus far, which is incredible enough given the complexity of the subject matter. Therefore you really are only limited by your own effort, in terms of what you can learn from this book. I could write an extremely lengthy review about this book and go on and on and on about how it really IS the definitive "How-To" book on all-things Beaglebone because, well, it is. But until you get the thing and start working through it for yourself, you wouldn't appreciate half of what I could say. However I think there are two very important points that I should discuss in this review.
First, this is not just a book about using the Beaglebone platform. Sure, that's what the title says it's about--and that's indeed the theme to the book. However this book is about so much more than *just* using the BBB: It's about how to work efficiently with an embedded Linux device, and how to master said device. Dr. Molloy's teaching style is easily one of the best I've ever seen in the field of Computer Science, and the order and flow of this book is very intuitive. This will readily allow you to build on previous chapters and enhance your learning as you move through the book. In addition he teaches you some basic electronics, so that you can work with the BBB device safely and not damage the hardware (or the underlying Linux operating system). When you consider the breadth of material necessary to work with such a platform as the BBB device, it really is a huge undertaking to cover in just one book--but at no time did I feel lost or overwhelmed by the material.
The other thing that must be said about this book is that is is NOT just a book about programming. Yeah sure, that stuff is covered. But a monkey could write C/C++ code, given enough time and the proper incentive. It wouldn't necessarily be *good* code--but I've met some humans who can't write good C/C++ code either, and they profess to be well above the monkey in the grand scheme of things. Rather this book really is about how to be a Computer Scientist in the area of Embedded Systems. It's about how to take a well-engineered and very capable embedded hardware platform and use it with an unbelievably powerful (and immensely configurable) operating system, and master their combined use. In other words--it's about thinking like an actual Computer Scientist is expected to think in the real world. Also, the book is not about just loading some code examples into your text editor or IDE, running them...and then telling yourself: "Yup, I got it...that's easy. I can do that, no problem!" Certainly you could do that, but you'd only be cheating yourself. There are way too many of those types of programmers out there that do just that, but then don't even know how to log in to a device remotely, set up a proper tool-chain or (God forbid) have to debug a non-working system. But with this book you are exposed to all of those things--all in the first few chapters!
So in conclusion, I'll say one last thing: There are several other books on the market about the Beaglebone/Beaglebone Black devices, and they are generally very good. I believe that I have them all for the most part. However those books are NOT this book. This book is like those books, on steroids...times 10. If those books are the mathematical equivalent of Trigonometry and College Algebra, then this book is Calculus 3 *and* Differential Equations...all rolled into one. Yes, it really is that good. But hey, don't believe me. Instead, just have a look inside the book and judge for yourself. Better yet, buy the Kindle version and go through Part 1. The knowledge you will gain in just those five chapters alone will easily be worth the $23 you spend on the Kindle version of this book.
I have no affiliation with Texas Instruments or with Dr. Molloy. However I have been following his YouTube tutorials for over two years now and am very grateful that he has taken the time to develop this entire learning package (book, website, video demonstrations, etc). Using this book my knowledge of embedded Linux has grown by leaps and bounds, in just the past two weeks!