“A Day in Code: From Engineer to Author” was written by Shari Eskenas, an electrical engineer and entrepreneur.
Shari Eskenas’s Background
I’ve always been interested in inventing and creating new things. Electronics was the natural pathway I took to pursue this because there’s no limit to what you can create with circuits and embedded software. I love selecting parts among the vast array of all the available electronic components and sensors and combining them to create a new system.
A microcontroller is a single chip that contains all the components of a computer, including a processor, memory, and input/output peripherals. It’s designed to be embedded within a larger system to perform specific tasks. I was introduced to microcontrollers in high school through a program at a community college. We each got a small three-wheeled robot and programmed its microcontroller, watching it zip around as we had programmed it to do. I was hooked!
I read a book about “physical computing” and enjoyed experimenting with a microcontroller development board. I started a robotics club at my high school and entered the Botball Robotics Competition. The task was to have a small robot pick up foam blocks and deposit them on certain areas of a board on a table. The robot’s microcontroller was programmed in the C programming language,
which I didn’t have experience with at the time. It was a big learning curve, but it was really fun! I majored in electrical engineering as an undergrad and then got a master’s degree with a specialization in digital and computer engineering because of my passion for embedded systems. I’m passionate about creating useful consumer electronics products for everyday life.
A Day in Code: A picture book written in the C programming language
The C programming language is widely used in many areas including databases, desktop applications, operating systems, computer games/graphics, and embedded systems. It’s actually the most popular language in embedded systems! I want to encourage kids and students of all ages to learn C programming and get into this field, so they can create their own useful devices! The Arduino is a microcontroller development platform that is popular with beginners and programmed with C syntax and constructs. You can write a few lines of code and turn on an LED!
Many people find textbooks and traditional code examples to be tedious and boring. This is why I wanted to create a book that would have fun C programming examples and be as visually appealing as a nicely illustrated picture book. I decided I was going to literally create a picture book and write the story with code!
My upcoming book is called A Day in Code. The code in the book consists of simple C programs that represent situations in a continuous story about a fun-filled day. The full-page illustrations next to the code show the situations. The code is also explained below in each program. In this way, the book provides code examples that are fun and relatable. How great would it be if you could enjoy looking through a picture book and walk away with an understanding of how a for loop works? The programs in the book can be run on your computer using a C compiler (there are many free C compilers available online), you can play with the code and change values, and view the output printed on the screen.
Another objective I have for the book is to promote logical thinking and teach fundamental programming concepts using real code. The C language provides a good foundation for learning other languages, especially because many of them are derived from C.
I launched the book on Kickstarter:
I’ve had backers tell me the book will be useful for their school’s robotics club. I hope this book will make an impact by getting students excited about coding and CREATING!