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Keywords: Serial ports, USB, RS-232, RS-485
Title: Serial Port Complete
Author: Jan Axelson
Publisher: Lakeview Research
Verdict: A very useful resource
Jan Axelson is the author of 'Embedded Ethernet and Internet Complete' and 'USB Mass Storage' and other books in the area of embedded systems and devices. In her latest book she turns her attention to the trusty old serial port. Now some might think that the serial port is a bit of legacy technology that's all but disappeared from the PC, but that's far from the truth. Serial ports are alive and well in the guise of virtual COM ports on USB devices, in embedded systems and micro-controllers and, still, as real live COM ports on PCs and servers.
As with her other books, this one manages to combine low-level details of the hardware and an understanding of how the hardware is controlled by software. Specifically topics covered include: PC COM ports, RS-232, RS-485, the .NET SerialPort class, ports for embedding systems, USB internals, special function USB controllers and generic USB serial controllers. In all this is a fairly complete reference for all aspects of serial port devices and programming.
The writing is clear and understandable, with circuit and timing diagrams augmenting the written explanations. And it's worth pointing out that it's not just the how it's the why that's explained as well. In particular the emphasis of the book is on doing something useful with these devices, so there's a lot of coverage of serial communications in the form of RS-232 and RS-485.
On the software side of things the emphasis is on Windows and in particular the use of the .NET framework. Code listings are in C# and Visual Basic, usually side by side. Some listings of bare C code for the Linux platform would have been useful as well, but so developers wanting software examples for this platform will have to look elsewhere. Perhaps this is an area for a future edition of the book.
To conclude, this is a useful resource and reference for developers wanting to work with COM ports and other serial devices.