As FPGAs work their way into the hobbyist/maker community, I'm guessing a lot of you are trying to learn VHDL and Verilog. (You can try to use schematics, but the Xilinx editor is pretty poor.) Which language you choose is up to you, but I'll only talk about VHDL in this post. There's general agreement that if you know one, it's easy to learn the other.
There's no shortage of VHDL books (around 100 on Amazon) or online tutorials (Google lists 278,000 but I haven't checked them all), so there's no need for me to waste my energy doing another. Instead, what I will do is tell you how to use the existing books & tutorials to learn the use of VHDL in synthesizing logic for FPGAs.
This is how things get out of hand... <<more...>>
Upverter is a website/service that allows people to collaborate on hardware designs. It looks like they've got some VC funding and they're pitching themselves to the OSHW community as the place to store their designs.
I get some comments like this: “All the other FPGA boards have loads of blinking LEDs. And they have bunches of buttons and switches! My XuLA board has nothing!”
Now when you learned how to ride a bike, you might have started out using training wheels. These were helpful – they let you get experience with the bike without getting hurt (unless your parents push you out in a busy street – but that's another story). But after a while, you couldn't wait to get rid of those training wheels. Wherever you went, they just screamed out: “I'm a bike-riding noob! Come give me a wedgie!” But the worst part was they got in the way; you couldn't get any speed up because those training wheels were dragging on the ground. Luckily, they weren't welded to the bike and you could take them off. Then you could use the bike for what it was for: getting you from here to there faster and easier than being on foot.
LEDs and buttons are similar to training wheels: good when getting started, but a hindrance after that. <<more...>>
A few years ago, my sister and I decided to plant a stand of corn in addition to the regular garden on her farm. This entailed tilling a 50' x 15' area, hoeing the dirt up into about twenty mounds, shaping the mounds for holding water, punching four holes in each mound, and, finally, placing a few kernels in each hole. Then we planted beans among the mounds to try and crowd out the weeds. <<more...>>