C++: A Beginner's Guide, Second Edition Paperback – Dec 22 2003
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About the Author
Herbert Schildt is a world leading programming author. He is an authority on the C, C++, Java, and C# programming languages, and a master Windows programmer. His programming books have sold more than three million copies worldwide and have been translated into all major foreign languages. He is the author of numerous best sellers including C: The Complete Reference, Java 2: The Complete Reference, Java 2: A Beginner's Guide, C#: A Beginner's Guide, and many more. Schildt holds a master's degree in computer science from the University of Illinois.
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This book will probably not appeal to programmers that are already familiar with C++. If you are a programmer in another OO language like Java, then you may find this book helpful but I think there are better alternative.
When I was beginning my CS degree, I had no prior knowledge of C++ and this book saved me because the writer's style is very laid back and verbose. He explains most topics adequately but not completely so often I found myself turning back to the course text book for additional information. However, his style of writing is very easy and non-patronizing. He doesn't expect you to already know what a function is nor the difference or similarities between a pointer and an array. He explains this all for you and doesn't require the reader to make leaps in logic to assimilate the concepts. Those leaps can come later....beginners need to learn how to solve problems and build up their confidence in programming....this book does that.
The value of this book lies not in it's complete coverage of the language, the value comes from how the author presents at least one solution to most programming problems and then moves on to other topics. It does weigh in at around 550 pages, including the index so it's not a pamphlet by any means.
The chapters are laid out in a very organized fashion that really helped me assimilate the information. In order, they are:
1. C++ Fundamentals
2. Introducing Data Types and Operators
3. Program Control Statements
4. Arrays, Strings, and Pointers
5. Introducing Functions
6. A Closer Look at Functions
7. More Data Types and Operators
8. Classes and Objects
9. A Closer Look at Classes
10. Inheritance, Virtual Functions, and Polymorphism
11. The C++ I/O System
12. Exceptions, Templates, and Other Advanced Topics.
Appendix A. The Preprocessor
Appendix B. Working with an Older C++ Compiler
Through out the chapters there are also projects where you can try out what you've just learned and if you get stuck, there's a step-by-step walk through of the solution. There are also progress checks that question you about what was just covered. This constant reinforcement/repeating of the material is what really helped me learn the subject.
I used this book through both my beginning and advanced C++ classes and data structures class. I still refer back to it from time to time but not as much anymore...I've since found other, more complete references.
I highly recommend this book to any newcomer or anyone that's tried other C++ books and still doesn't "get it". I do not recommend this book to those that are already familiar with the language as it's likely to be too long winded for them.
Be warned: it starts out surprisingly easy, but the complexity of the subject matter ramps up pretty quickly. Take it slow and re-read anything you don't understand repeatedly until you figure it out. Take notes, even. And you absolutely MUST follow along in your IDE (Integrated Development Environment--what you type the code into and compile it with, etc.), typing in the code and compiling it yourself. It helps you retain the information.
Note that this book's contents never get out of the console; it's purely about the basics of the language, not its practical use. After reading it, you'll want to pick up a more advanced book--which you'll be ready for if you've absorbed everything you can from this one.
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