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Guest Blog Post – Learning C with Pebble, The Book

This is a guest blog post from Mike Jipping, professor of Computer Science at Hope College (Michigan, USA), who has been writing an open source book which teaches the C programming language using Pebble smartwatches.

If you want to learn to program using the C programming language, you have lots of choices. C has been around a while, so there are many textbooks and lots of Web sites that have information on the language. Most are very general, with examples and projects that you could run an any general purpose computer. Very few are tailored to embedded systems and none are targeted at smartwatches, until now, that is.

Pebble has teamed up with a college professor and a group of Pebble community developers to produce Learning C with Pebble , an online, open source textbook that teaches C with examples and projects focused on Pebble smartwatches.

Guest Blog Post - Learning C with Pebble, The Book

In order to build apps for Pebble smartwatches, a developer needs to program in one of two languages: JavaScript or C. Of the two, you might choose JavaScript for some familiar features, but C might be the better choice since it produces apps that run more efficiently and perform with better speed than those written in JavaScript.

The book is a textbook: it teaches how to program using the C programming language. But it is very unique among textbooks.

  • It is free, online, and open source. You can have your own copy for free. You can read it online or download the PDF or ePub versions.
  • It is written with Markdown formatting. This means you can fork the book’s source, edit it or add new content in Markdown, and submit a pull request to have your changes added to the book.
  • It represents a work in progress. The online version will be updated to reflect error corrections and new content. Sections of the book will be released in intervals.

In addition to these unique features, Learning C with Pebble comes with Project Exercises at the end of each chapter. Lots of C books include questions or small exercises to work on with each chapter. This book has "project" exercises: complete Pebble smartwatch applications that give you code to start, ask you to make changes, and give you a solution so you can compare your answer to others. It encourages you to work in focused code that runs on a Pebble and helps you learn C in an environment that is targeted to Pebble programming.

In addition to learning the topics in each chapter, these Project Exercises help you learn the Pebble programming system and the scaffolding that apps for Pebble need to run. You learn Pebble code in a way that helps you to become comfortable with the runtime environment and with unfamiliar code. And you learn C along the way.

This book is written by Mike Jipping, a professor of Computer Science at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, USA. Mike has been writing apps for handheld computers, smartphones, and wearable devices for over 30 years. He has developed several apps for Pebble smartwatches. The Pebble community developers who are helping out with the book are Allan Findlay , Paul Niven , Mathew Reiss , David Rodriguez Rincon , and Rob Spiess . Everyone is active in the Pebble developer community, in the forums and on Slack.

The book can be found at http://pbl.io/cbook . The first 8 chapters have been released with the remainder of the book will be coming out over the coming summer. This is a readable book, packed with examples and code and projects. It’s a great way to learn the C programming language on Pebble smartwatches.

We’d appreciate your feedback, be sure to tweet @PebbleDev on Twitter or find us on Slack .

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