C is an awesome language. It’s my go to choice for most things, with the occasional foray into Python-land for anything involving visualisation (matplotlib + numpy). C is relatively easy to understand if you have a bit of a background in programming, it’s efficient, it’s extremely flexible, and there is a C compiler out there for just about everything. The one thing that separates C from a lot of higher level languages (C#, Java, etc.), though, is the heavy use of pointers, particularly in embedded systems where you often have to deal with system registers, passing chunks of data back and forth between I2C/SPI drivers and devices efficiently, etc. Pointers can take time to understand, and even after many years they can still have you scratching your head when you see pointers to pointers, etc., but they are also what makes C so powerful, and so appropriate for small, resource constrained embedded devices.
Despite the prevalance of C in the embedded and mainstream world, though, I was still (pleasantly!) surprised to stumble across Understanding and Using C Pointers from O’Reilly. I grabbed a copy as soon as it was available, but still found myself surprised that there is actually a market for a book like this. It’s quite task-specific, but it addresses one of the biggest gaps in the existing C literature and it’s about time someone made a serious effort at filling it. If you’re just getting started with C, and particularly if you’re coming from higher level languages like C# or Java or Python where you probably didn’t encounter pointers directly, you should find this book a good, thorough introduction to the biggest mental hurdle of working meaningfully with C!
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.