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Exploring BeagleBone: Tools and Techniques for Building with Embedded Linux by [Molloy, Derek]
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Exploring BeagleBone: Tools and Techniques for Building with Embedded Linux 1st , Kindle Edition

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Length: 600 pages Language: English

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Product Description

In-depth instruction and practical techniques for building with the BeagleBone embedded Linux platform

Exploring BeagleBone is a hands-on guide to bringing gadgets, gizmos, and robots to life using the popular BeagleBone embedded Linux platform. Comprehensive content and deep detail provide more than just a BeagleBone instruction manual—you’ll also learn the underlying engineering techniques that will allow you to create your own projects. The book begins with a foundational primer on essential skills, and then gradually moves into communication, control, and advanced applications using C/C++, allowing you to learn at your own pace. In addition, the book’s companion website features instructional videos, source code, discussion forums, and more, to ensure that you have everything you need.

The BeagleBone’s small size, high performance, low cost, and extreme adaptability have made it a favorite development platform, and the Linux software base allows for complex yet flexible functionality. The BeagleBone has applications in smart buildings, robot control, environmental sensing, to name a few; and, expansion boards and peripherals dramatically increase the possibilities. Exploring BeagleBone provides a reader-friendly  guide to the device, including a crash course in computer engineering. While following step by step, you can:

  • Get up to speed on embedded Linux, electronics, and programming
  • Master interfacing electronic circuits, buses and modules, with practical examples
  • Explore the Internet-connected BeagleBone and the BeagleBone with a display
  • Apply the BeagleBone to sensing applications, including video and sound
  • Explore the BeagleBone’s Programmable Real-Time Controllers

Hands-on learning helps ensure that your new skills stay with you, allowing you to design with electronics, modules, or peripherals even beyond the BeagleBone. Insightful guidance and online peer support help you transition from beginner to expert as you master the techniques presented in Exploring BeagleBone, the practical handbook for the popular computing platform.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10551 KB
  • Print Length: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (5 December 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,462 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 115 reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best all-around learning books I've ever seen on an embedded system. 26 December 2014
By Tom Betka - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helped me finish a PRU-based project quickly 24 September 2016
By M. Valerio - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is an incredible book. I started down a high-priority project at work thinking that I could use a Raspberry Pi to do some high-speed GPIO, but after researching the capabilities, discovered that the BeagleBone Black would be a better approach because the TI chip includes 2 PRU (programmable realtime units). I needed to ramp up quickly so I purchased this book, and boy was I glad that I did. I could not have completed my design and implementation in such a short time without the thorough examples in the book, on the author's GitHub page, and on the book's website. Wow. That is so much useful information, collated in one place, it's amazing.

While I have used Linux in the past and have done a small amount of embedded programming, I was able to grok the important parts of this book in a weekend, and pretty much jumped straight to the last chapter on the PRU to the point that I've almost worn it out and the pages are almost falling out. Various other tables and figures (pinouts, mode map, address maps) are bookmarked for constant reference.

The author clearly has a wealth of practical experience with the BeagleBone Black, and I'm very thankful that he decided to share his experience in this book. Some of the most helpful sections were actually the shortest - side points like "if you need to peek/poke memory addresses, go download devmem2 and run it, and customize it to do what you need", or "btw, there is a PRU debugger called prudebug, go try it out".

I can't recommend this book enough if you're just getting started with a BeagleBone Black like I was.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average Getting Started with X Board book 17 June 2016
By Raul Ocampo - Published on
Verified Purchase
I came to this book the back way. I was looking for sample beaglebone code in C and I found the author's github with the example programs from the book along with revisions and supplemental programs. I noticed that the author was very responsive answering questions about the code. I know enough that between the files on github and the back and forth with questions I was able to work along each chapter but I wanted to support what the author is doing.

Now that I have the book I can tell it's a rare treat; the illustrations are beautiful the writing is clear. I look forward to the authors future work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and successful - really useful. 3 August 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
I've never taken a class from Prof. Molloy; that's my loss. I hope his students appreciate their exposure to a really great teacher.

After several weeks of floundering around, reading some other books on the BBB, and countless meandering wiki threads, I came to notice a pattern - this guy Molloy comes up a lot in my searches and he has a good S/N ratio. Oh, he's got a book? Worth a shot.

Wow. Molloy has the great teacher's gift of anticipating your questions and meeting them with explanations, not recipes. I learned as much in 3 days with this book as in the previous 4 weeks of full-time research. The book has plenty of what I needed: how to work with Linux to access the hardware. It's mercifully free of incantations without explanation. It just skips over the script-kiddy stuff that is all you can find in so many other resources.

This is an incrediblly ambitious, meaty book - it's actually 4 books in one. There are whirlwind courses on digital electronics, Linux for the user and sysadmin, and C/C++ programming, before getting down to the ostensible topic, the Beaglebone. I can see the point of the electronics and Linux material, and the presentation is solid and will be comprehensible to a motivated beginner, but C/C++ programming is such a large topic that no one book could do it justice, let alone a few pages. It's not that this topic is unimportant; on the contrary it is central to doing real projects with embedded computers. However my feeling is that it would have been better to state up-front to the reader that some competency is assumed and go on from there. The treatment in the book is simultaneously inadequate for a novice and superfluous for an experienced programmer. The reality is that if you don't have a reasonable grasp of C/C++, you are not going to get very far in embedded programming. (My guess is that Prof. Molloy knows this perfectly well but the editors did not feel entirely comfortable releasing a popular book that states this too directly. Nonetheless, kudos to Wiley too, for publishing a very solid, worthwhile book.)

That's pretty much my only criticism, and really it amounts to carping about a couple dozen pages in a 565 page book.

If what you want is a recipe for some JS to host a web page on your BBB, this isn't the book for you. If you want to know how to access the onboard peripherals, interface with outside devices, and make the computer actually do something in response to the physical world, you won't find a more thorough, yet efficient presentation. The material on dealing with device trees and .DTBO files alone is worth the price of the book. Nobody else talks about how to control it, including the BBB technical reference, yet it's crucial to understand. Thank you, Prof. Molloy.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engineering textbook masterpiece 29 March 2015
By Merlin - Published on
Verified Purchase
This is one of the best technical books I have read in 30 years. It should be used as curriculum at school, and maybe it is at Derek's college. I have been using BeagleBone since 2012, often in real world applications. Therefore, I was very familiar with Derek's youtube videos that often got me started on specific topics about the board features.
But this book goes way beyond the mere usage of a product, it's a full multidisciplinary workshop on electronics, physical computing, networking, and process control. As efficacy, I put this guy at the same level as a W.Bolton or a S.Gibilisco, plus the monumental collateral (and free) material posted on his website and youtube channel.
Were I 20 years younger, I would spend a semester in Dublin just to go to Derek's classes...

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