Crafting Embedded Systems in C++ [2021 class archive]

Crafting Embedded Systems in C++ is a three-day online training course with programming exercises taught by Ben Saks. It is offered online Monday November 1st through Wednesday November 3rd. (after the conference).

Course Description

This course explains how to use C++ to write safe, efficient, and maintainable embedded programs. Step by step, it shows how to leverage C++ language features to write abstractions for hardware devices in a bare metal environment. It also explains how to make these abstractions easy to use and hard to misuse by turning potential run-time errors into compile-time errors. Although the course focuses primarily on standard features of C++, it also covers a few non-standard features when needed.

Many of the constructs that C++ provides for controlling hardware devices are also features of C. These features include pointers, bitwise operators, enumeration types, and the const and volatile qualifiers. This course demonstrates how C++ supports these features in ways that make them even more useful, especially for embedded developers.

In addition, C++ has a lot more to offer to embedded programmers. For example, classes can provide simpler and safer interfaces that hide the often-messy details of interacting with hardware. Templates and inheritance can promote code reuse by capturing commonality among related hardware and software components. Overloading and user-defined type conversions can support friendlier and safer user interfaces. The constexpr keyword can increase execution speed and reduce code size by turning run-time computations into compile-time computations.


Participants should have basic knowledge of the C++ language and standardĀ library.

This course includes programming exercises. The exercises run on a simulator provided by the instructor. Each exercise compiles and links with the simulator in C++ and executes as a command-line application. Please bring a computer with a C++11 or C++14 development environment that can build command-line applications.

Course Topics

  • Memory-mapped object placement and initialization
  • Hardware abstraction techniques
  • Co-located devices
  • Standard-layout types
  • Alignment and padding concerns
  • Static assertions to verify layout
  • Placement and class-specific new
  • Using const and volatile appropriately
  • Function and operator overloading
  • inline and constexpr functions
  • Constant expressions and constexpr objects
  • Enumeration types
  • Using implicit conversions to create simpler, more intuitive interfaces

Time permitting, attendeesā€™ choice of either:

  • Advanced techniques for turning run-time errors into compile-time errors, or
  • Interrupt handling, critical sections, and atomic types

Register Here

CourseĀ Instructors

Ben Saks Ben Saks is the chief engineer of Saks & Associates, which offers training and consulting in C and C++ and their use in developing embedded systems. Ben represents Saks & Associates on the ISO C++ Standards committee as well as two of the committeeā€™s study groups: SG14 (low-latency) and SG20 (education). He has spoken at industry conferences, including the C++ and System Software Summit, the Embedded Systems Conference, NDC Techtown, and CppCon, where heā€™s also chair of the Embedded Track and a member of the program committee. Ben previously worked as a software engineer for Vorne Industries, where he used C++ and JavaScript to develop embedded systems that help improve manufacturing productivity in factories all over the world. Heā€™s also a contributing author on multiple Vorne patents.