C++ Programming for Embedded Systems

Standard Level - 8 sessions (5 hours per session)

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Limited In-Person schedule available in India from March 2021

Standard Level - 40 hours

C++ has been a popular general purpose programming language for many years. Recent developments in microcontroller technology (such as ARM Cortex®-M), increasing application complexity and enhancements made in the C++ 2011 standard mean that C++ is now replacing C as the preferred language for many embedded systems.
This course teaches the C++ programming language in the context of real-time and embedded systems. It highlights the resource and performance implications of using key C++ features and programming styles. As well as giving delegates an in-depth understanding of the C++ programming language, this course provides practical experience of programming a modern embedded microcontroller using real-time development tools. It is a direct replacement for a general class in C++ programming, with the added benefit that the syllabus, contextual examples and exercises are tuned to the requirements of the Embedded System and System-on-Chip communities.

Although C++ for Embedded Systems focuses on the C++ language features that are appropriate for "bare metal" systems or those using a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS), the course is also suitable for anyone wishing to learn C++ to develop applications within an Embedded Linux environment – C++ features such as stream-based I/O that are generally only used with complex operating systems are included in an optional module that can be presented if there is sufficient time and interest.

The workshops are based around carefully designed exercises programming and debugging a real embedded system to reinforce and challenge the extent of learning, and comprise approximately 50% of class time.

C++ for Embedded Systems is aimed at electronic hardware, software and system-on-chip engineers who need to gain a working knowledge of the C++ language to build an embedded system. The course is also suitable as a general introduction to C++ programming, particularly for anyone working in an electronics-related business area or with a background in digital electronics.

  • The syntax and semantics of the C++ language (including C++11, C++14 & C++17)
  • The principles of object-oriented modelling, embedded software programming and real-time programming
  • How to program an embedded microcontroller in C++
  • A practical introduction to real-time development tools
  • How to debug a C++ program on a target device
  • How to access memory-mapped peripherals using C++
  • How to write interrupt handlers in C++
  • An introduction to real-time operating systems and scheduling
  • Best practices for embedded programming

Delegates need a basic understanding of embedded systems, microcontroller architecture, and how to read a datasheet.
A good working knowledge of C is essential.
This course is not suitable as a first course in computer.
Take this SELF-ASSESSMENT TEST to find out whether you know enough C.
Please contact Bicard direct to discuss and assess your specific experience against the Pre-requisites.

  • This course is not suitable as a first course in computer programming.
  • Previous experience with C is advantageous but is not essential.
  • Embedded programming experience is not necessary.
Please contact Bicard direct to discuss and assess your specific experience against the pre-requisites.

Bicard Course materials are renowned for being the most comprehensive and user friendly available. Their style, content and coverage is unique in the HDL training world, and has made them sought after resources in their own right. Fees include:

  • Fully indexed course notes creating a complete reference manual
  • Workbook full of practical examples and solutions to help you apply your knowledge

Day 1

Requirements for C++ in an Embedded System

Embedded system characteristics • Language choice • Memory mapped peripherals • Volatile variables • Compilation • System boot-up • Best Practices

Summary of C

A refresher on basic C syntax • Functions • Control flow • Fundamental types • Literals • Derived types • Operators • Standard libraries

From C to C++ and C++20

The features added to C by C++ and the ANSI C-1999 standard, highlighting features useful to an embedded system• inline • const • Enhanced enumerations • constant expressions • auto • Overview of I/O streams • Function prototypes • Pass-by-reference • Default arguments • Function and operator overloading • String class • User-defined literals • Lambda functions and capture lists • Additional operators


Linkage and Storage

Learn some tricky features often overlooked in C, but necessary for C++ • Scope • Linkage • Linking C and C++ • Namespaces • Static, automatic and dynamic storage • new and delete • Placement new • Arrays and Pointers • Vectors

Day 2 

Classes and Objects

Introduction to modeling and abstraction • Information hiding • Abstract data types • Classes and objects • Public and private class members • Member functions • Scope resolution • this pointer


How to ensure that objects are properly initialised, and how to tidy up afterwards • Constructors • Destructors • Delegating constructors • Copy constructors • Pointers and objects • Move semantics

Members and Friends

More features of C++ classes • Friends • Operator overloading • Overloading assignment • Move assignment • Memory fragmentation • Working with memory pools • Static members • Constant
objects and members

Day 3 


Derived classes • Inheritance • Protected members • Casting pointers • Order of initialization

Virtual Functions

Inheriting common behavior • Overriding methods • Virtual functions • Polymorphism • Late binding • Virtual destructors • Vtable • Cost of virtual functions • Abstract base classes and pure virtual functions • Interface classes

Day 4 

Further C++ Features

User-defined conversions • Explicit functions • Defaulted and deleted behavior • Run-Time Type Identification • Type casts • Nested classes • Multiple Inheritance • Pointer-to-member •Function


Function templates • Class templates • Template arguments • Template specialization • Dependent name and type lookup • Avoiding code bloat

Standard Libraries

Summary of the standard C and C++ libraries • Container classes • Container adapters • Creating and accessing containers • Initializer lists • Custom allocators • std::array • Other C++11 Enhancements • Iterators • range-for loop

Day 5 

Defensive Programming

Coding standards • Code analysis • Compile-time assertions • Run-time errors • Throwing and catching exceptions • Handlers • Standard exception classes • Preventing memory leakage •
unique_ptr • Exception specification • Exceptions in Embedded Systems

Principles of Real-time Operating Systems

Concurrency • Tasks and task switching • FreeRTOS • Creating and running tasks • Synchronisation • Process scheduling and pre-emption • Priority inversion • Mutex, Semaphore and Queue • Use of semaphores with interrupts • RTOS services

Standard Library and Algorithms

Summary of the standard C and C++ libraries • Container classes • Container adapters • Creating and accessing containers • Initializer lists • Custom allocators • std::array • Other C++11 Enhancements • Iterators • range-for loop

Predicates • Function Objects • Bind • Lambda Functions • Filling a container • Non-modifying operations • transform • Searching • Sorting • Summary of the standard algorithms

C++ Development Environments for Embedded Systems (Optional Topic)

Compiler Optimization • Object files •Linkers and linker files • Loader • Makefiles • Integrated development environments • Debuggers • In-circuit emulation • Debug with Simulator/Emulator 

Object-Oriented Modelling and The UML (Optional Topic)

Learn the principles of object-oriented design • Class relationships • The Unified Modeling Language • Class and object diagrams • Association • Composition • Dependency • Implementing class relationships in C++ • Initialization of class members • Singleton class • Design Patterns

C++ State Machines (Optional Topic)

State machine representations • Single class state machine • State Design Pattern • Boost mpl example

Strings and Streams (Optional Topic)

Another look at string class • I/O stream hierarchy • Formatted and unformatted streams • I/O of user-defined types • Manipulators • File Streams • Buffering • Stringstreams

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