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Published: December 2, 2017
Tags:  Electronics · FPGA · Software · VHDL

The book in...
One sentence:
An excellent beginner overview of VHDL and the FPGA design process with a focus on Xilinx's ISE.

Five sentences:
This book seemed great for a beginner with its inclusion of a nice list of acronyms, and with all the new terminology was well defined. It starts with the (sometimes too) basics, giving simple examples snippets of VHDL date types and code as well as general programming tips such as commenting and code organization. The connection between hardware and software is well described and elucidate with various diagrams of simple examples of logic gates and their equivalent VHDL. There is a fuller example, complete with VHDL and test bench code, that is used repeatedly for the last part of the book that is complex enough to be interesting and well described enough to follow. The last three-quarters of the book focuses more on the design process phases including- design, simulation, synthesis, implementation, and programming.

designates my notes. / designates important.


It got me up to speed with most FPGA terminology. I was tinkering with Quartus 2 (10.1sp1) as I read the book. It is different than the Xilinx ISE examples, but similar enough to make sense of. After writing and simulating a few very simple designs I now have the confidence to tackle a more detailed look at the VHDL language as well as the more advanced features of Quartus.

Even though this was my first foray into FPGA/VHDL, it seemed to be very easy to understand (with a background in electronics and programming).

At the same time I was reading this I watched the first 11 videos in a similarly styled VHDL tutorial from Eduvance. This series also focuses on Xilinx, but the majority is presented in a manufacture agnostic manner. I will definitely be watching the remaining 14 videos as I work my way through another, more intermediate, VHDL book, (2011) VHDL 101 Everything you need to know to get started. (an excellent follow up)

Bruce Land at Cornell has videos from his FPGA/Verilog course, ECE5760 DE2/115 lectures 2011, available on youtube. This is quite a bit more advanced, but I found the first 6 lectures easy to follow alongside reading this book, even though it is Verilog and not VHDL.

Table of Contents

· CHAPTER 1: Getting Started

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 Signal <signal name>: <data type>;
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· CHAPTER 2: Simple Designs

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· CHAPTER 3: FPGA Development Phases

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· CHAPTER 4: Design

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· CHAPTER 5: Simulation

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· CHAPTER 6: Synthesis

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· CHAPTER 7: Implementation

page 161:

· CHAPTER 8: Programming

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Appendix - 1