Online groups and resources for sharing embedded programming source code

I'd like to start a discussion because I'm sure some of you might have some great advice. I'd really like to get better at programming for embedded systems. I see my friend who is a computer science student and he's doing some interesting projects at work and he's got stackoverflow at his disposal and not only he's enjoying it but also learining a lot.

I know that to get better at any kind of programming you have to keep practicing. But I feel if I'm completely on my own and just trying and trying until I succeed. This way I will progress slowly and my motivation will be low. But if there are some resources, some online discussion groups, anything really, then the learning can be much more effective and enjoyable.

For example I was writing a configuration code for the clock and PLL peripheral of the STM32. It can easily take a couple of days to dig yourself through the manuals and configure all the registers. My code works but then I found a sample code for configuring PLL for another type of STM32 microcontroller. I feel that it gave me knew perspective on how to deal with many things in the future.

Another example would be my current project. I'm using a temperature sensor from TSic that uses ZACwire protocol for sending the measured data. I'm planning on using the STM32's timers and external interrupts to capture the data. But as I checked the datasheet there was a sample program written in PIC assembly. I figured that is another great way of doing it. Plus you can train yourself at thinking in a programming sense; how the program should look like, what do you need, what are the steps to accomplish the task and so on. I really enjoy these kind of stuff. It's just that it feels difficult doing it on my own with no one to compare it to or show to and get some kind of a feed back.

I'd love to practice more and have some examples to see how it can be done so I get new insights into programming. I just don't know where to find such things. Is there some kind of a forum that focuses on embedded programming and discussing about the logic behind the program, be it in C or assembly or something else. Any kind of discussion groups? I knwo for electrical stackexchange, which is great, but it's not just embedded stuff. Are there some sample codes to look at and learn from? Even chefs read books and look at menus of other restaurants to get inspiration for new dishes. There must be something like that for embedded programming as well.

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I am working hard on making such a forum be a reality on EmbeddedRelated


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- but it takes time and persistence to build momentum. As far as code snippets, you can find a few at
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You found one place (here) but participation is low because it's Usenet ("What's that"? a youngster might ask). It's an excellent forum to get good thoughtful ideas. The SNR is extremely high.

Of course, Google is the big helper in your search. You never know where you'll find info so persistent searching is the best way to go. As you've discovered, stackexchange and others like it are a great source too.

Consider hobbyist friendly sources (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc) but be careful of picking up bad practices from those forums. Non-pros are often undisciplined but are sometimes a good source of new and interesting ways of doing things.

Manufacturers often host user forums which concentrate users of specific chips into one place (ST, TI, etc). Information from their forums are often golden. Unfortunately many manufacturers don't participate in their own forums which sometimes leaves the best researched solutions out. Manufacturers almost always sell eval boards which usually features loads of demonstration type small projects in source code form. You get that from their product web pages.

Sample source code is my favorite way of learning. Grab it when you can find it. Play with it. You'll be challenged to learn because you'll find some sample source code really doesn't work. You'll be smarter if you can plow your way through the bad code to eventually make it work.

Good luck with your new learning.


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John Speth

I wouldn't recommend silicon-vendor-supplied demo projects in general. In my experience, the code quality is usually pretty bad, and the bug content pretty high. I'd start with open-source projects where somebody who cares (and knows what they're doing) is curating the code.

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Grant Edwards

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