Ebb and flow - Embedded.com

Ebb and flow


P.J. Plauger's November 1988 column in the premier issue of this magazine is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. Perhaps owing partly to his clear thinking and foresight, the charter of Embedded Systems Programming hasn't changed a whit in its 0x0F years. Though technology has advanced along the way, much of what embedded systems designers do hasn't changed.

Consider these article titles from the magazine's first year:

  • Debugging Embedded C
  • Minimizing Finite State Machines
  • Real-Time Tasking

Of course, many things have changed about embedded systems in the last decade and a half. The title of one article published in 1989, “Moving Up to PL/M,” sums up one of the biggest changes: assembly was then the most common programming language for embedded work. C wasn't even its obvious successor; a draft ANSI C standard was in fact out for balloting at the time. Articles on Forth, Ada, and various assembler tips and tricks were the norm.

The magazine's regular contributors have changed during this time, too. Of today's contributing editors and columnists, only Larry Mittag wrote for the magazine that first year. Jack Ganssle's first article wouldn't appear until early 1990; his first Break Points column followed that by a few months. P.J. Plauger and the other early columnists eventually moved on to other things; today's expert columnists arrived one by one to fill the empty slots. In 2000, I became the magazine's fourth editor in chief; following in the footsteps of J.D. Hildebrand, Tyler Sperry, and Lindsey Vereen.

But that's all in the past. This 15th anniversary issue focuses on the future of embedded systems design. Columnist Jim Turley uses his experience as a processor-industry analyst to envision the state of the microprocessor 15 years into the future (“Embedded processors of tomorrow“). Articles by Larry Mittag (“A wireless odyssey“) and Bob Zeidman (“The future of programmable logic“) consider the coming technological changes in two other important areas: wireless communications and programmable logic.

Finally, Nick Tredennick and Brion Shimamoto have written an article that's featured at Embedded.com, Embedded Systems Programming 's online version. The web-exclusive (“MEMS: amazing little machines“) offers a look at an important emerging technology that could be the biggest force of change in the next 15 years: microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Whether you've heard of MEMS or not, you'll be astonished by that technology and what the inventor of the 68000 microprocessor has to say about its future.

All of us at Embedded Systems Programming are proud of the work we've done these past 15 years and are honored to have such intelligent and loyal subscribers. We look forward to serving the embedded design community for many years to come. But most of all, we're anxious to know if our authors and columnists have accurately predicted what will and won't change by 2018.

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