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C Programming: A Modern Approach [Paperback]

K. N. King
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2008 0393979504 978-0393979503 2
Professor King's spiral approach made it accessible to a broad range of readers, from beginners to more advanced students. With adoptions at over 225 colleges, the first edition was one of the leading C textbooks of the last ten years. The second edition maintains all the book's popular features and brings it up to date with coverage of the C99 standard. The new edition also adds a significant number of exercises and longer programming projects, and includes extensive revisions and updates.

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... this book will be well received because of its unique approach to the presentation of the material; it is full of examples and insights. King does not stop--as many others do--in merely explaining how the C programming language works. His well-written and well-organized book is full of advice and explanations of best practices in how to use the language most effectively. One of the most welcome aspects is that King identifies C programming 'idioms,' explains when the idioms are applicable, and shows why they are useful. The book is aimed at people with no prior programming experience, yet it is quite comprehensive in its treatment of the majority of C programming concepts. It is up-to-date in that it also covers the information needed by a C programmer in using the standard C library... -- Choice, September, 1996

A few years ago, I decided to switch from Fortran (which I had used for over 20 years) to C. I purchased about a dozen different books purporting to explain how to use the C language. Most were densely unreadable, few had a usable index, and some were riddled with errors. Now comes the book I really wanted... It is apparent that this book was written by someone who has spent time teaching the subject. The writing style is entertaining and clear. There are many good examples... Best of all, the index takes you right to the part of the book you need--it is not too sparse, and it is not cluttered with irrelevant references. The first time I picked up this book I quickly found the solution to a file-reading bug which had perplexed me for months. I am placing this book at the top of my heap of programming texts, and I am recommending it to all of my programming colleagues. -- Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences, September/October, 1996

The exceptional value of the book lies in the fact that the material is well structured and is made accessible to anyone with minimal programming experience, to those unfamiliar with C, and even to those who do not know any programming language... The book accomplishes the author's stated goal of making it the ideal classroom textbook with examples... Reading this book was extremely useful, both because I have discovered new things in it and, first and foremost, because it has helped me to restructure my knowledge of C. -- Computing Reviews, February, 1997 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good Feb. 26 2014
By Avenger
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
nice book contain all the information i need for the course and very detail and clear! it's really help for c programming
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good reference for C programming July 19 2012
By Frofire
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the title indicates, it is a good reference when one needs to program in C. If one is new to C, this book provide simple explanations, too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book Sept. 25 2011
By nmay
This textbook has good examples and is a good intro to C. It also has a good explanation on pointers. Sometimes is it too wordy and you have to muddle through some garbage to get to the point.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, approachable and ACCURATE May 31 2008
By Bob Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ordered K.N. King's ``C Programming: A Modern Approach (Second Edition)'' from Amazon for my recent birthday. Having had more birthdays than I care to admit, this gift to myself is right up there with a Lionel train set I got for my eighth birthday (not from Amazon, of course -- it didn't exist that long ago but passengers trains sure did :)).

In this second edition, I think that KNK is now the logical heir to K&R. That's not meant as blasphemy -- Kernighan and Ritchie's still great volume is around 20 years of age and it's unlikely they'll be getting together for K&R3. The C language has undergone enough changes (with the amendment of 1994) and C99, that a ``Modern Approach'' really is needed.

There's another author familiar to readers of the comp.lang.c newsgroup for his approachable, engaging writing style. That author is a wonderful writer but doesn't let the truth get in the way of good narrative. King, though, is an equally engaging writer but is obviously passionate about correctness and adhering to the C standard. He's also meticulous about portability so that the examples are written in pure C and not some platform-specific variant.

I've the entire book and can find hardly anything even nitpick. Aside from a minor style difference about using parentheses with the ``sizeof'' operator, which King explains his rationale for doing so, that's about it.

His explanation of C99 (and the differences from C90 are clearly indicated) made me aware of some really nice features of the current standard for the language (and makes me wonder why one very notable compiler implementer hasn't yet supported C99).

In short, get this book. The Q&A sections at the end of each chapter are very well done. The exercises and programming projects help to amplify the material presented. And King's examples will teach you more about barcodes and ISBN numbers than you ever thought possible.

If you can appreciate the work of a fine craftsman in film such as Martin Scorsese, you'll find that King is of that caliber in the realm of lucidly dealing with this technical subject.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best (although I'm biased) Nov. 9 2009
By Peter Seebach - Published on Amazon.com
Some years back, someone mentioned the first edition of this book on Usenet as a possible alternative to K&R for someone trying to learn C. I was surprised, but I got a copy of the book to find out... And he was right.

Let me get the biases out on the table first: I did technical review of this book for the 2nd edition. But... While that leaves me in a great place to be biased about it, it also means that I'm aware of just how few typos or bugs were there even in the draft versions.

This book is an excellent teaching resource; it covers the language carefully, completely, and well. However, mere clarity of communication isn't enough to make a good programming reference; you also need to have confidence that the example code works as described, that the explanations given are correct, and so on. This is one of the only books out there I feel comfortable recommending to people, without worrying that I'll end up having to correct dozens of misconceptions later.

Quite simply, this is the C book I recommend to people who want to learn C, or polish up their C. In a market full of "approachable" books which are full of errors, this book offers a combination of clarity and accuracy which is unmatched.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best "Language" Book I've Yet to Read. March 8 2013
By helloWorld - Published on Amazon.com
I've read a few "language agnostic" books and a few "language-specific" books over the past 2 years. There is generally a wide schism between these two types of books. Let me summarize them here:

Language Agnostic (examples: SICP, Introduction to Algorithms, Introduction to Computer Science):

These books focus on building programming fundamentals. Yes, SICP and Intro to CS use Scheme and Python respectively, but they focus on offering you the foundations to write useful and delightful programs. These aren't "cook books:" they teach you how to think through and understand problems and how to solve them with computers. Most notably, there tends to be many exercises at the end of the chapters that enhance your understanding of the material. These books tend to be long and dense, but well worth the effort.

Language-Specific Books (examples: Clojure Programming, Definitive Guide to Drupal):

I've learned to loathe these kinds of books. While they give you an overview of the features, they really never go through how to combine and mix the parts to make you more comfortable with the language or framework. The thing I hate the most is the incessant language-bashing and chatting up how incredible the languages are. I'm not saying they aren't worth the money, as they usually are, but they tend to only be a starting point, leaving many questions unanswered, and all the talk about "Doing it the hard way or the Drupal Way" and "Clojure raising your game.. and oh yeah, Python, Ruby, and Java sucks" takes away valuable real-estate to get you on your way to confidently use the language when you are done reading it and ultimately distracts me from the learning material. If I wanted to be indoctrinated, I wouldn't spend $30 for a book; I'd read a blog for free.

So, what is C Programming: A Modern Approach?

It's a beautiful mix of both of the above approaches. The book, as its name implies, tells you how to program in the wonderful C language. Yes, it mentions other languages in passing in the thankfully brief introduction, but there is no bashing. The author chose to teach you how to program in C from the bottom up and let you to decide what to do about it.

This book offers the best explanation of the entire language I have ever seen. It is more thorough, modern, and complete than K&R. From the first few chapters, where you'll learn about printf and scanf, the author takes the time to describe in minute detail all the tiny nuances of the C language. If you are seeking understanding of this language, you simply cannot find a better source.

The book takes the great parts from "agnostic" books by offering tons of exercises that will delight your inner programmer. I never knew how a reverse function worked, but after writing my own reverse program, I felt enlightened. The programs have the added benefit of being relatively easy to write yet somehow able to teach you what it was trying to show you. Even if you aren't interested in learning C per se, this book will teach and reinforce many programming concepts. It is probably easy enough for a beginner to work through, yet difficult enough to delight experienced programmers all in one shot. This is an incredibly difficult target to hit, and this is one of the few books of any genre to pull it off.

I cannot suggest this book enough to anyone who has been searching high and low for a good C learning resource. The author clearly knows what he is talking about. The pacing is wonderful and I don't recall finding any programs that broke. I feel like I am sitting in the classroom of an infinitely knowledgeable and engaging professor when I read this book. It is one of the few books on programming that I have read that I feel like is worth reading from front to back, and it is one of the few programming books that has kept me engrossed in the material for hours on end. Most importantly, after searching for good C learning material, I finally feel like I "get" the language.

Thank you so much for a wonderfully written and designed book, K. N. King.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best C Programming Book! May 29 2012
By Skyward - Published on Amazon.com
There is no other way to put it. If you want to learn C programming, this is the only book you need. Don't bother mixing bits from different books or sources. Just get a copy of the 2nd edition and read it in the presented order, from chapter 1 and move on progressively. The explanation is very clear and the questions actually encourage you to find the right reasoning and develop your thinking skills, so you "think" like a programmer. I didn't know anything about programming and this book marks a landmark in my life, as it allowed me to truly appreciate programming and the power of code by being a developer.

I would have expected a 3rd edition by now, containing the minor fixed errata with more questions and examples (it's been 4 years since the 2nd edition was released), but the 2nd edition is very well presented and until the 3rd edition comes out (probably 2013 or later), this book is the best in its class. Buy it and you'll never regret it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book with activities acquiring more outside the box thinking... Oct. 17 2012
By Elizabeth S. Mabrey - Published on Amazon.com
The 2nd edition is a better choice. It contains Q&A which brings much more insight going beyond just the mechanics of the language itself. Then, its problem sets often relates to algorithms, than just ad-hoc or mechanics of the language covered by most other language books. On top of that, it is very comprehensive to enough for building and strengthen a beginner who aims for more in-depth thinking. It leads further toward data structure, file system, memory management, as well as system level development as well. Although this is a college level book used for more in-depth studies for beginning students, I have my my robotics middle to high schoolers to use this book for develop their thinking, programming, and design skill. Yes, this is an expensive book. But, this is really for a long term investment for these young folks. This is really for long term in building and strengthening their ability in writing robotics software.

However, I must say this is not for those who are interested in only learning the mechanic of the language though. If that's you, you should go for this book first instead: Programming in C by Stephen G. Kochan instead. This is an excellent book comparing to others. I initially used Kochan book as well, but found do not have enough exercises for more in-depth thinking, and encouraging more algorithmic thinking as well.
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