Review: Arduino Cookbook by Michael Margolis

For a while, I’ve wanted to play around with the Arduino; the open source embedded hardware that’s stuck it’s claws into everything from the arts, to personal projects and much more. Then, Arduino Cookbook came up on the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program, and I couldn’t say no to having a pushed look into it.

I think the Arduino Cookbook will fill the void between books for which their intention is to cover lots of programming fundamentals, and books which only cover the Arduino boards with a cursory mention.

Like most of O’Reilly’s cookbooks, they intend to provide a group of solutions to common problems. Sometimes they feel a little filled out; the thought that this recipe and solution are only in there to fill a gap often comes to mind. With my limited Arduino experience, I didn’t see this as much as with others, as a somewhat experienced programmer, the programming Chapters did feel a little bit long, but what is there does cover issues where you’d rather have an instant answer than not understand why something is the case.

Overall, I was impressed by what it covered. Notably, serial communication, sensors, driving motors, I2C communication and networking stand out. These are all required for the few projects I have in mind.

If you have any experience with lower-level microcontrollers (I have a little bit of experience with C on Microchips’ PIC24 chip), you’ll find some more advanced stuff like interrupts and timers towards the end. This is a welcome addition.

The appendixes should be rather useful for most; they cover a basic introduction to electronics, but, as the author says himself, it’s not a replacement for a proper book on the subject.

The author suggests that it would be good for a variety of readers, personally, I think it will slot rather nicely into the likes of most programmers - especially those who wish to add something physical to their projects.

If you are looking for something to help complete a project, or just get started with the Arduino quickly this is probably the best bet. You’ll find plenty in here to get you going.

In the spirit of transparency, this review was written for the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program, because of that, they gave me a copy of the ebook for free.