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C How to Program Paperback – Sep 4 2006


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About the Author

Dr. Harvey Deitel is one of the world's leading computer science instructors and seminar presenters, and author of more than a dozen books. He worked on the pioneering operating system teams in industry and academia that developed many of the techniques at the heart of operating systems like UNIX®, Windows NT™ and OS/2™.

Paul Deitel has taught Visual Basic, Java, C and C++ at numerous hardware and software companies, including Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM, Open Environment Corporation, Adra Systems, and Cambridge Technology Partners, and is himself an expert developer.

The Deitels are principals of Deitel & Associates, Inc., an international training organization specializing in Visual Basic, Java, C and C++, and object technologies.

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Amazon.com: 21 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A cut-and-paste abomination Dec 14 2009
By nilkn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Here's the punchline: despite the title, this is a book about C++ as much as it is about C; moreover, there's little to no original content in this book. It largely consists of chunks of text from other books by the same authors pasted together with some minor editing, but the editing was not extensive enough and the seams show: a few sections (straight from the middle of the book) talk about the garbage collector in Java as if it were a part of C!

I just finished a course on C, and the instructor opted to use this book. My first impression of the book was that it's way too expensive and it's way too big for a friendly introduction to C. From the size alone and the ten different subheadings, I had a feeling this was going to be a prime example of what I call Textbook Syndrome, and indeed it is now my main example of this phenomenon.

Textbook Syndrome is an unfortunate disease afflicting most authors who write books used for introductory freshman and sophomore college courses. In short, Textbook Syndrome causes an author to write for the people teaching from the book, not the people learning from it. It is believed that Textbook Syndrome is contagious and is spread via the propagation of poorly understood flimsy green entities; the development of a cure and preventative measure is an open question in science today.

For diagnostic purposes, here are a few common symptoms of Textbook Syndrome, all exhibited keenly by the present book:

(i) The book includes about ten times as much material as could reasonably be covered in a one-semester course. This is done so that (a) the book is bigger and therefore both looks more substantive and costs more; (b) it can be used for any course on any topic remotely related to the book's title; (c) it can be used for both introductory courses and advanced courses. The math is simple: (a) + (b) + (c) = a blatant attempt to maximize profit, nothing else.

For the student, it means he must carry around an ancient thousand-page tome, the majority of which will never be useful to him. For the teacher, it means he must (perhaps ironically) put more effort into actually providing the course with a coherent structure, as the book itself, so overburdened with unnecessary material, could never hope to achieve any sort of coherence.

This is a book on C, as the title suggests. It's also a book on game programming. It's also a book on C++ (count them: ten chapters). I wonder if they will add another ten chapters on Java in the next edition.

(ii) Exercises range from fill-in-the-blank questions about what preprocessor directive to use to include one file in another (I am not kidding) to a team-based, multi-month extravaganza to develop a compiler from scratch. Books written by authors having Textbook Syndrome often exhibit what I will call the intermediate value property: given two extremes possessed by the book, the book will also possess everything in between.

The present book indeed has the intermediate value property. Every imaginable exercise in between the two above extremes is present at the end of each chapter. Presumably this is so the book is useable at the same time by everybody on the planet Earth from Ph.D. physicists and mathematicians at NASA to novice junior high students who aren't up to speed on the concept of "computer." (For the latter group, worry not: the first chapter will help clarify the purpose of these auspicious contraptions.)

(iii) Very important pieces of information are inexplicably missing. The standard function gets() is mentioned, but it is not mentioned that this function should almost never be used. Even the man page for gets explicitly states it should not be used, but this thousand-page tome can't even provide this nugget of actually useful information.

(iv) The book includes vocabulary lists (just words, no definitions) at the end of every chapter since, you know, memorizing vocab words is useful while one learns to program. (Technically, this is a special case of the intermediate value property discussed in point (ii), but the vocab lists are so stupid I wanted to give them the emphasis that comes with having their own point.)

I could go on, but I will conclude this review with a description of who I think must be the quintessential intended user of this book. You should buy this book if you have money to blow, you believe that copying and pasting bits of text from a dozen other books is the height of authorship, you want to support the financial decline of many poor and starving computer science students who are forced to purchase books like this, you believe vocab lists are relevant to computer science (and therefore you have absolutely no computer science education whatsoever), you don't know the meaning of the word "focus", and you have long lost any respect for titles (who are these titles to dictate the contents of books anyway?).
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
a cut and paste disappointment Feb. 8 2009
By Cowley Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I purchased the 5th edition of this book because I was very impressed with the 6th
edition of Deitel's "C++: How to program". I now regret that decision.

The two biggest flaws of this book are;
1)The lack of integration of the c99 standard into the text and examples. There is a (brief) chapter bolted on as kind of an after thought. Given that this standard had been out for at least 5 years since this edition was published it seems a bit lazy to not include more references to modern C earlier in the book.

2)The rather large focus on C++. 10 out of the 27 chapters deal with C++. If I had wanted a book on C++ I would have brought one, if fact, I did. This space could have been used on so many other useful things, like, how to produce larger C programs, or a non-windows IDE option for compiling.

On the plus side, there are plenty of chapter review questions, and exercises and pretty in-depth coverage of the c89 standard.

My advice is, if you want to know a bit about C as a stepping stone to C++, get the Deitel C++ book C++ How to Program (6th Edition) as it covers this information. If you want to do plenty of homework on C89, save yourself a lot of money and buy a second hand copy of an older edition.".C How to Program (3rd Edition) If you want to learn modern C and not C++, get another book.C Primer Plus (5th Edition)
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
One of the better C programming textbooks March 22 2008
By Prof C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one the best C textbooks out there on the market currently. I just use the C part of the text for my classes. As mentioned above most of the text is the same as the previous edition(s) except this edition has:
1. Game Programming
2. Eliminated the Java stuff
3. More on C99
Wish it was a strictly C book (no C++ sections in it)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good to know Sept. 3 2009
By Gene A. Brotherton Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This C programming book is very full of examples and is very well detailed. The authors break down the C language into every day terms we can all understand. The down side is the volume of information in each chapter. The book is very wordy and it's easy for a reader to get lost in the details. But the authors do make a very good attempt at explaining the C language. I recommend this book for the beginner programmer. It is definitely not casual reading material. This book is best read actively while sitting in front of a computer. Duplicating the author's example problems and trying the exercises at the end of the chapters is the best way to cement your knowledge.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent teaching text, great reference! May 4 2008
By M. Engelbrecht - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was a required text for a "C" programming language course I took at my University. This text is very clear about the basics of programming with the "C" language, which is a spring-board language that will allow you to quickly learn about other programming languages such as C+ and Java. I took this course over the summertime and had to miss the first two weeks of class while on a business trip and this textbook did an excellent job of teaching me the basics for me to succeed and receive an "A" in the course. I highly recommend this textbook as both a teaching text and a reference.


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