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Programming the BeagleBone Black: Getting Started with JavaScript and BoneScript Paperback – 1 Jun 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Tab Electronics (1 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071832122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071832120
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 987,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

For electronic kits to accompany my books, see: http://www.monkmakes.com

You can also find an electronics starter kit for the Raspberry Pi here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Monk-Makes-Ltd-Raspberry-Starter/dp/B00IT6AYJO

Product Description

About the Author

Dr. Simon Monk (Preston, UK) has a degree in Cybernetics and Computer Science and a PhD in Software Engineering. He is the bestselling author of Programming Arduino, Programming the Raspberry Pi, and other books.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sadly I find Simon Monks books make things that should be easy somewhat hard(ish) going and are often short on some of the important points that beginners will probably need.
This was, to my mind, the same case with this book as it was with his two books aimed at the Arduino platform.
A lot is not covered that should be even if it meant making the book larger than it is.
I would also add that I didn't find using the Beaglebone Black board anywhere near as satisfying as I do with the Arduino platforms so maybe I'm just a tad biassed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is how to write a book on the Beaglebone Black. Very clear instructions and clear diagrams. Thoroughly recommend
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent and practical book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x910cb0cc) out of 5 stars 28 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91079b10) out of 5 stars Really good for the price 27 April 2014
By N. Emerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Small book, true, but it has some good information and like the title says, it concentrates mostly on programming. However, it does have some simple hardware project examples. Not a definitive reference, but holy cow it's less than $11 at the time of this review and ships free with Prime, so what more could you want for a beginner.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91079f3c) out of 5 stars Great intro into the world of BeagleBone Black! 13 May 2014
By cdunlap42 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book does a great job of introducing JavaScript and BoneScript in a way that a beginner can understand. The programming piece is linked to simple hardware interfacing, too, which makes this book very practical. My favorite part of this book, though, is in Chapter 9 where you get a taste of using HTML and Web interfaces using the BeagleBone Black. You learn how to control electronics through a web page interface and then have a couple of projects at the end of the book putting that knowledge to use. Great stuff! I would recommend this book to anyone interested in entering the world of BeagleBone Black. It provides the foundation you need to get started and then move on to bigger projects of your own..
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91079f90) out of 5 stars Frustrating reference guide to BBB 15 Sept. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Right now, the most challenging aspect of moving from Arduino to BeagleBone is the lack of accessible resources. If you're looking for a well-written, soup-to-nuts walkthrough akin to Blum's "Exploring Arduino," you will not find it here. Simon Monk is a popular name in the intro-to-hacker world, but this is written for a mismatched audience. While the content is basic, it doesn't introduce the material for beginners to pick up; at the same time, it's too basic and verbose to be a good reference for intermediates either.

For first-timers: he includes a a few basic V=IR snippets and background on i2c parts, but glosses over PuTTY terminal usage, basic syntax, and takes a more "well, obviously" approach to explaining whys, so-whats, and what's going on heres. At one point, he offers a questionably designed example on GPIO, which could fry your board if you make a mistake. In a couple instances, he bounces between js/node and Cloud9 programming, which can get confusing for beginners. For the more seasoned vets, he includes a few good examples (especially for online connectivity), but describes in paragraphs the syntax for important functions rather than just showing a few examples of how you might use it. As a side note, the examples themselves are available for free on his github if you want to bypass the book entirely.

This book seems very rushed. The "How to control to AC electronics section" is a single page describing how to use a PowerSwitch Tail. The rover robot and e-mail notifier CHAPTERS are 5 pages long, explaining how to combine various components and capes together. There are two instances deep in the chapters where he says, "oh, you may want this code or this hardware to understand what I'm talking about" as a casual afterthought. There are short introductions to SSH, HTML, and Javascript, which should be off the shelf for an author, but it doesn't go into nearly enough detail to enable usage beyond his examples. Even the documentation on the BBB itself is surprisingly short given how much good information from BB is already out there. Finally, three pet peeves: poor contrast black and white illustrations (likely a screen capture from fritzing), unusual combinations of fonts/styles/page numbers, and programming examples that split across pages (as in, a few lines of code starting or dangling on the next page). This was probably written as a color eBook, so I'd suggest going that route if you can.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9107f078) out of 5 stars Pretty good, but there are a few faults... 18 Nov. 2014
By Tom Betka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I got this book on Kindle a few months ago, and just started working on it a couple weeks ago. It's pretty easy to get through and I've made good progress in that sense. Coming from (mainly) C/C++ programming with no real experience in javascript, I found the syntax to be pretty easy to pick up. That being said, I personally don't like javascript much because it seems to make it quite easy for undisciplined "hackers" to write code, get it running, and call themselves a programmer. I suppose you can do that in any language, but give me a nice set of compile errors/warnings any day. Anyway, javascript is pretty quick to get going though, and I suppose many people will like that...so that is a plus.

I will say that I struggled a bit with my rating on this book. I would have liked to give it a 3.5, quite honestly. The main problem(s) I've found is that there are fairly annoying little inconsistencies between the code and the text description, and these can trip you up a bit. One of the more obvious issues is in chapter 9, where the author uses port "8080" throughout the textual descriptions for making his web server connections. However the code actually uses port 8085--so unless you figure that out, it's not going to work for you, because the Beaglebone server simply isn't listening on port 8080. I did get it to work quite easily because I've worked with sockets and ports a fair amount in other languages; however I wonder if other folks will struggle a bit if they don't have much of that sort of experience?

Also, I agree with the reviewer(s) who've opined that perhaps a more rigorous explanation of actually running the code is in order. For instance, sometimes the latest version of cloud9 (in Debian, anyway) doesn't actually KILL the process running on the CPU when you hit the stop button in the IDE. I mean, the IDE *says* the code is stopped, but if you check "ps aux | grep <keyword>" you'll find that there is still a rogue process running. Now that isn't the author's fault of course, and maybe he has never experienced this--but if it does happen to you and then you try to run some web-based code in chapter 9, the port is probably still bound...and in that case will fail. So you'd better be somewhat skilled at using the console output messages (at a minimum), in order to help figure things out when they won't run as you expect them to. I guess my point is that it's hard to believe that the author never saw such a thing, so a few words of wisdom on what to watch for (and how to deal with it) would have been helpful. Maybe he hasn't experienced it, so this comment will help folks who do experience the problem.

Finally, I also do agree with the reviewer that stated that it would have been nice to get a bit more background on the Linux OS under the hood. For instance, the author seems to use the node package manager (npm) to update node.js throughout the book--but unless I've missed it, he never really seems to go into detail on what it's for...and why/how it differs from the OS's package manager (opkg or apt-get, if you're on Debian). Again, a person can research this on their own--and I do think there's a certain degree of confidence that comes with doing so, and solving one's own problems as such. However when you "don't know what you don't know," it can be quite helpful to get a gentle nudge or two in the right direction.

Overall though, I think this is a pretty good book. Since you can't assign half-stars, I gave the author 4 stars because the book does do a good job on most things. Indeed the examples are a bit simplistic in most cases (until the one using jQuery in chapter 9, lol!), but I wouldn't necessarily call that a bad thing. In fact I think it's helpful to have a concrete, simple example, because it makes it easier to learn the basics--so long as the simple example covers the them. And in fact I think the author does a pretty good job along those lines, and I find myself going back over the code repeatedly...and learning a bit more about the different parts, each time I do.

So I would recommend this book to anyone looking to get going on the Beaglebone platform. Whether you're running the new Beaglebone Black, or the original Beaglebone (the white one), the examples work very well, especially if you're using the most recent version of whichever distro you so chose to use. I'm using the latest version of Debian on the original Beaglebone, and thus far haven't run into anything that a little time spent with Google can't solve.

Knock on wood...
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9107f540) out of 5 stars Simon Monk's Programming the BeagleBone Black 16 May 2014
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I greatly appreciated Simon Monk's latest Tab book. He shows how the BeagleBone Black bridges the space between Raspberry Pi and Arduino. I especially appreciated Chapter 3, JavaScript Basics. He shows how to write programming and set it up as a text file. As far as prior programming experience, nothing is assumed, so anyone with good computer skill can dive right in. I highly recommend this treatment of the BeagleBone Black device, and I look forward to more of the enlightening and absorbing books by Simon Monk.
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