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Nth request of book recommendations

P: n/a
Hello,

I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and answered this
sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't found past threads as
helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have read them all and many reviews, I
prefer to ask directly to people who know the subject better than anyone else.

First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.
Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much greater
detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us choice
between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book
on C" by Kelley/Pohl.
I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have found
a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language. As you can
imagine, the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the
first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad) impression
that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.

I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I don't want
another introduction to the language - I've gone through that already. And I
want something readable, not some sort of C encyclopedia. My searches narrowed
down possible candidates to these books:

- "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by many, but is
it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is that it might be a little
too oriented towards the beginner.

- "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know
it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.

- "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my studies?
Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it readable
by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it be read
almost cover to cover?

If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of these
books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one year.

To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
conforming to the ANSI standard.

If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone can help me.
Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices are
not adequate.
Guido Mureddu

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Nov 14 '05 #1
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12 Replies


P: n/a

"Guido Mureddu" <
Hello,

I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and answered this sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't found past threads as
helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have read them all and many reviews, I prefer to ask directly to people who know the subject better than anyone else.
First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.
Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much greater detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us choice between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book on C" by Kelley/Pohl.
I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have found a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language. As you can
imagine, the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad) impression that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.

I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I don't want another introduction to the language - I've gone through that already. And I want something readable, not some sort of C encyclopedia. My searches narrowed down possible candidates to these books:

- "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by many, but is it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is that it might be a little too oriented towards the beginner.

- "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.
Absolutely necessary. Go directly to bookstore. Do not pass Go, unless it
is to 5*PRICE.
- "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my studies? Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it readable by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it be read almost cover to cover?

If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of these books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one year.
To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
conforming to the ANSI standard.

If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone can help me. Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices are not adequate.


C Unleashed. Don't be discouraged that they're light-years ahead of you on
most topics. Heathfield's crew has no match. MPJ
Nov 14 '05 #2

P: n/a
On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 20:26:55 +0100
Guido Mureddu <gm***@tiscali.it> wrote:
Hello,

I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and
answered this sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't
found past threads as helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have
read them all and many reviews, I prefer to ask directly to people who
know the subject better than anyone else.
Have you also checked the FAQ?
First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this
semester. Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the
language in much greater detail than I did with the introductory
course. The professor gave us choice between two books: "C: The
Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt,
I'm already less than impressed with your professor.
and "A Book on C" by
Kelley/Pohl. I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by
page, happy to have found a deep and detailed - but readable -
reference on the language. As you can imagine, the book's
inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the first few
chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad)
impression that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming,
book.
Good, you've got the correct impression. You could see if it works
better as fuel for a fire than it does as a C text book.
I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I
don't want another introduction to the language - I've gone through
that already. And I want something readable, not some sort of C
encyclopedia. My searches narrowed down possible candidates to these
books:
<snip>
- "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will
buy sooner or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more
detailed. I know it's still the best - but extracting informations
from it may not always be easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a
complete reference.
<snip>

I don't know the other books you mention, but I've found K&R2 easy to
read, although I had been developing SW proffesionally for a few years
before learning C. I believe some around here learnt to program from
K&R2. So, if I was you I would get K&R2 now even if you also get
something else.
If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper
of these books: because of their prices, I want them to last one
decade, not one year.
My copy of K&R2 is old and a bit tatty. If it becomes unusable I'll
happily buy a new copy.
To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise
and conforming to the ANSI standard.
There are some errors in K&R2, but the errata is available on line. It
is close to complete and I believe the ommissions are minor.
If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone
can help me. Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three
possible choices are not adequate.


The only C book I have ever owned is K&R2. There are some other good
works, but they can be hard to find amongst the rubbish.
--
Flash Gordon
Living in interesting times.
Although my email address says spam, it is real and I read it.
Nov 14 '05 #3

P: n/a
fb
Guido Mureddu wrote:
Hello,
Hi
I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and answered this
sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't found past threads as
helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have read them all and many reviews, I
prefer to ask directly to people who know the subject better than anyone else.

First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.
Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much greater
detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us choice
between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book
on C" by Kelley/Pohl.
I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have found
a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language. As you can
imagine, the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the
first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad) impression
that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.

Afraid so...It's not that Schildt is a bad writer, it's just that he's
ummm...Wrong and won't admit it...and a touch pious.
I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I don't want
another introduction to the language - I've gone through that already. And I
want something readable, not some sort of C encyclopedia. My searches narrowed
down possible candidates to these books:

- "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by many, but is
it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is that it might be a little
too oriented towards the beginner.

- "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know
it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.

When using C, this is a must.
- "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my studies?
Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it readable
by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it be read
almost cover to cover?

I don't mind this book, though I don't know if I could recommend it as a
still learning the language type of book...But if you have the money,
pick it up.
If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of these
books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one year.

Depends on use.
To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
conforming to the ANSI standard.

If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone can help me.
Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices are
not adequate.


Though I have not read the C version of Dietel and Deitels "C: How to
program" I have heard some good things about it. The C++ version has
some excellent examples for the student and is often used as a textbook.
If we assume the C version is similiar, it should be a fairly good book.

Years ago I read a Book called "C primer plus". I had a very good
learning experience with this book.

Finally, "C Programming: A Modern Approach" I've heard is also quite
good. Take your pick.

Bye!

Nov 14 '05 #4

P: n/a
"fb"
Guido Mureddu wrote: [snipped all to heck to highlight a point]
between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book
Afraid so...It's not that Schildt is a bad writer, it's just that he's
ummm...Wrong and won't admit it...and a touch pious.

- "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my

studies?

I was in mortal danger of confusing H S with H & S on my next text purchase.
thanks MPJ
Nov 14 '05 #5

P: n/a
Guido Mureddu <gm***@tiscali.it> writes:
I'm a student in electronic engineering.
As a reference point: I was in your shoes 15 years ago. I'm now
working on C cross-compiler development for embedded systems (I get to
define undefined behaviour :-).
I want a better book - one that I can rely on. [...] My searches
narrowed down possible candidates to these books: - "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by
many, but is it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is
that it might be a little too oriented towards the beginner.
This was the required text for my first C class. I think I agree that
it's targeted to the beginner. I don't have it any more.
- "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will
buy sooner or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something
more detailed. I know it's still the best - but extracting
informations from it may not always be easy. Also I'm not sure about
its value as a complete reference.
I bought this at the same time as the previous one; it lives with me.
I find it easy to use and valuable as a reference - get some Post-It
notes to mark sections you need regularly, and the index is great.

The current printing is a bit fatter, I seem to recall.
- "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for
my studies?
Your lecturer doesn't think so.

I can't offer a personal opinion on H&S (never read it) but I've heard
it's comparable to K&R with deeper discussion of hows and whys.

If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper
of these books: because of their prices, I want them to last one
decade, not one year.


My K&R2 (the first printing, without the red "ANSI C" marking, but
with the black diagonal "Based on Draft-Proposed ANSI C") is in pretty
good condition for a paperback text that's been regularly consulted
for 15 years. The edges of the reference section pages in the back
are a bit discoloured, but otherwise it's still fine. Prentice-Hall
seem to do a decent job with textbooks.

Sitting inside the front cover is a printout of Dan Pop's posting from
1996 containing Dennis Ritchie's Dec 1994 list of errata - Google has
it, Message-ID <da**************@news.cern.ch>.

mlp
Nov 14 '05 #6

P: n/a
> - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know
it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.

Any C programmer needs to read this book.

When I first wanted to learn C in depth the Kochan & Wood books (it was a
series) were excellent. Some of the info was not available anywhere else.
The books are old, some have been updated, some are out of print, some are
available on their website (just google them). I comment on three below.

They have a "Programming in C" which I never read since I was already past the
stage of learning the basics of the language. It seems to been updated and
is in print.

"Topics in C Programming" was invaluable for details that are left out of most
books. For instance, what ALL the flags for printf are and mean. I think this
is out of print.

The real eye-opener is "Advanced C Tip and Techniques". This has alot of great
stuff but the two chapters on advanced pointer use and sequence guarantee
points is worth the price alone. I don't think this has been updated but it
looks like it's available in PDF format.
Nov 14 '05 #7

P: n/a

"jjr2004a" <jj******@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:9b**************************@posting.google.c om...
- "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.
Any C programmer needs to read this book.

When I first wanted to learn C in depth the Kochan & Wood books (it was a
series) were excellent. Some of the info was not available anywhere else.
The books are old, some have been updated, some are out of print, some are
available on their website (just google them). I comment on three below.

They have a "Programming in C" which I never read since I was already past

the stage of learning the basics of the language. It seems to been updated and is in print.

"Topics in C Programming" was invaluable for details that are left out of most books. For instance, what ALL the flags for printf are and mean. I think this is out of print.

The real eye-opener is "Advanced C Tip and Techniques". This has alot of great stuff but the two chapters on advanced pointer use and sequence guarantee
points is worth the price alone. I don't think this has been updated but it looks like it's available in PDF format.


Would you buy ACTaT before H & S ? MPJ

-------
..pdf is workproduct
Nov 14 '05 #8

P: n/a
>
Would you buy ACTaT before H & S ? MPJ

I'm not familiar with the H & S book but I just looked at the table of
contents online. It seems to cover ALL of the C syntax and libraries and
looks like an good reference.

Advanced C Tips and Techniques looks like it covers some things that aren't in
the H & S book. But that's because it covers a few techniques in depth and
does not try to be a refernece manual. It's aimed at intermediate to advanced
programmers.

Buy both.
Nov 14 '05 #9

P: n/a

"jjr2004a" <jj******@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:9b**************************@posting.google.c om...

Would you buy ACTaT before H & S ? MPJ
I'm not familiar with the H & S book but I just looked at the table of
contents online. It seems to cover ALL of the C syntax and libraries and
looks like an good reference.

Advanced C Tips and Techniques looks like it covers some things that

aren't in the H & S book. But that's because it covers a few techniques in depth and does not try to be a refernece manual. It's aimed at intermediate to advanced programmers.

Buy both.


I'll take that as a direct order. MPJ
Nov 14 '05 #10

P: n/a
Thanks to everyone who helped me out with this. :)

I've ordered my copy of K&R2, which seems to be the best choice and recommended
by many. Maybe I'll buy the H & S tome later. Other books like "C Unleashed" and
the Kochan books also look interesting, but I won't consider getting them before
I've got some more experience/skill in the language.

bye,

- Guido Mureddu
Nov 14 '05 #11

P: n/a
On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 23:56:39 +0000, fb wrote:
Finally, "C Programming: A Modern Approach" I've heard is also quite
good. Take your pick.


I'll second this. "C Programming: A Modern Approach" is a great book and
is very easy reading. Highly recommended.

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Craig Maloney (cr***@decafbad.net) http://decafbad.net
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world
owes you nothing. It was here first. -- Mark Twain

Nov 14 '05 #12

P: n/a
In article <Pine.WNT.4.58.0411271951370.-745469@guido>, gm***@tiscali.it
says...
First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.
Odds are your professor didn't teach you portable, ANSI/ISO C. The
curriculum, in all likelihood, contained a lot of "wives tales" with
respect to C, so simply subscribing to this newsgroup and following
many of the threads until they invariably diverge into OT rants is
highly recommended.
Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much greater
detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us choice
between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book
on C" by Kelley/Pohl.
The fact that the professor had Schildt as a book choice sort of proves
that you likely suffered badly at the hands of this "course" with respect
to learning proper C.
I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have found
a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language.
Sadly, it's badly flawed. Schildt is universally reviled as the least
accurate, most prone to stupidity author extant in the field of
programming texts. Your best option would be to use it to start a
fire.
the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the
first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad) impression
that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.
Bingo.
- "The C Programming Language, well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed.
Mistake. You should have bought it first, it should have been used in the
class.
I know
it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.
Do you realize who the authors are, and their relationship to the title?
- "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my studies?
Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it readable
by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it be read
almost cover to cover?
Yes, yes, no, yes and yes. Every serious C programmer should have a copy of
it.
If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of these
books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one year.
Go down to Walmart or a suitable equivalent and buy a roll of clear transparent
shelf paper and use it to cover the book like the old paper book covers you had
when you were a kid in school. The book will last practically forever
afterward.
To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
conforming to the ANSI standard.
You do NOT want a book like Schildt's. You want a book the opposite
of Schildt's, in other words, one that is factually correct.
Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices are
not adequate.


Steve Summit's C FAQ, either in book form or online is required reading.

Expert C Programming is very interesting, particularly if you do UNIX/Linux
at all, but definitely not a "tutorial".

Again, reading this newsgroup and paying careful attention to the various
threads is probably the best textbok you can hope for.
--
Randy Howard (2reply remove FOOBAR)
"For some reason most people seem to be born without the part
of the brain that understands pointers." -- Joel Spolsky
Nov 14 '05 #13

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