I have co-moderated the FPGA/CPLD Design Group on LinkedIn since 2007. I do this in part to learn more about the FPGA/CPLD domain myself, and in part to help other engineers learn more about FPGAs and other programmable devices.
One question that is often repeated (the LinkedIn discussions are deleted after a time period of about a year) is "What are some good materials from which one can learn about HDLs (hardware description languages) and FPGAs?" Hopefully, with Max's help and input from other members on All Programmable Planet, we can post a list that can remain up until it becomes outdated. (Things often become outdated sooner than one might think in the world of high technology, but VHDL and Verilog have lots of inertia.)
As a starting point, the following is an extract of the LinkedIn FPGA/CPLD Design Group's best recommendations over the last 18 months or so:
Dhaval Panchal: Verilog HDL by Samir Palnitkar offers a good guide to digital design and synthesis.
Duncan Allen:HDL Chip Design by Douglas J Smith is my "go to" book for both Verilog and VHDL.
Vadim Vaynerman: I liked Circuit Design with VHDL by Volnei Pedroni. I started with Ashenden's text, but while that's a good VHDL language reference, it doesn't always make a distinction between the language itself and its synthesizable subset, which is important when working with FPGAs and ASICs.
Both Xilinx and Altera compete neck and neck for good documentation and FPGA slots on boards. The documentation and ease of finding the information the user needs on a topic for design drive the parts applications often --
I'm, of course, quite new to programmable logic. The biggest surprise for me, relative to written documentations, has been the Xilinx web site. I've been trained to be disappointed by manufacturer's documentation, but the breadth and depth available from Xilinx has been a very pleasant surprise. It's not always easy to find - in fact, I've had better success searching on Google than on the Xilinx site, but there is an incredible amount there. What I've seen is generally easy to follow and understand as well.
I was unable to find TCLgate with a Google search. Do you have a link? I would like to take a look.
In Robot Odyssey, my most complex circuit involved one robot navigating a maze, and radioing its path to a second robot in an identical maze where the walls were invisible and electrified (i.e. your robot dies if it touches a wall). The design involved encoding the first robot's experiences onto a pulse-coded radio signal, decoding the signal on the other side, and taking appropriate action to keep from getting zapped. Loads of fun!
My first exposure to electronic design was in grade school. There was a DOS computer game called "Robot Odyssey". The game teaches about robots and logic gates, and lets you wire up the robots to perform tasks to help you progress through the game. Here's a video from YouTube showing a little of what the game looks like:
I agree for me it was ttl, bit-slice, plds, cplds, and then finally FPGA'S. For those just starting Wakerly or Ciletie's books covering digital design are good nowdays. If all the bloggers could add their favorites that would be great.