Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days (5th Edition) Paperback – Dec 14 2004
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From the Inside Flap
This book is designed to help you teach yourself how to program with C++. No one can learn a serious programming language in just three weeks, but each of the lessons in this book has been designed so that you can read the entire lesson in just a few hours on a single day.
In just 21 days, you'll learn about such fundamentals as managing input and output, loops and arrays, object-oriented programming, templates, and creating C++ applicationsall in well-structured and easy-to-follow lessons. Lessons provide sample listingscomplete with sample output and an analysis of the codeto illustrate the topics of the day.
To help you become more proficient, each lesson ends with a set of common questions and answers, a quiz, and exercises. You can check your progress by examining the quiz and exercise answers provided in Appendix D, "Answers."Who Should Read This Book
You don't need any previous experience in programming to learn C++ with this book. This book starts you from the beginning and teaches you both the language and the concepts involved with programming C++. You'll find the numerous examples of syntax and detailed analysis of code an excellent guide as you begin your journey into this rewarding environment. Whether you are just beginning or already have some experience programming, you will find that this book's clear organization makes learning C++ fast and easy.Conventions Used in This Book
Tip - These boxes highlight information that can make your C++ programming more efficient and effective.
Note - These boxes provide additional information related to material you just read.
FAQ - What do FAQs do?
Answer: These Frequently Asked Questions provide greater insight into the use of the language and clarify potential areas of confusion.
Caution - These focus your attention on problems or side effects that can occur in specific situations.
These boxes provide clear definitions of essential terms.
DO use the "Do/Don't" boxes to find a quick summary of a fundamental principle in a lesson.
DON'T overlook the useful information offered in these boxes.
This book uses various typefaces to help you distinguish C++ code from regular English. Actual C++ code is typeset in a special monospace font. Placeholderswords or characters temporarily used to represent the real words or characters you would type in codeare typeset in italic monospace. New or important terms are typeset in italic.
In the listings in this book, each real code line is numbered. If you see an unnumbered line in a listing, you'll know that the unnumbered line is really a continuation of the preceding numbered code line (some code lines are too long for the width of the book). In this case, you should type the two lines as one; do not divide them.Enter this book's ISBN (without the hyphens) in the Search box and click Search. When the book's title is displayed, click the title to go to a page where you can download the code and Appendix D.
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From the Back Cover
Join the leagues of thousands of programmers and learn C++ from some of the best. The fifth edition of the best seller Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 Days, written by Jesse Liberty, a well-known C++ and C# programming manual author and Bradley L. Jones, manager for a number of high profiler developer websites, has been updated to the new ANSI/ISO C++ Standard. This is an excellent hands-on guide for the beginning programmer. Packed with examples of syntax and detailed analysis of code, fundamentals such as managing I/O, loops, arrays and creating C++ applications are all covered in the 21 easy-to-follow lessons. You will also be given access to a website that will provide you will all the source code examples developed in the book as a practice tool. C++ is the preferred language for millions of developers-make Sams Teach Yourself the preferred way to learn it!See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It assumes no previous knowledge -- just a willingness to learn. It begins with "Hello, World", the classic example first introduced in the K&R C book, and then continues for the next few "days" to cover the funamental C aspects such as basic I/O, variables, functions, branching, data types, and operators.
After that preliminary information is covered, the authors begin showing basic class useage -- the general form of a class, constructors, destructors, data members, and member functions.
In the final "day" of the "week", control statements (for, do...while, switch, etc.) are given a good, and thorough treatment.
The next "week" moves on to more advanced concepts such as pointers, reference variables, function overloading, inheritance, and polymorphism. By the end of this week, you will be pretty proficient, and probably ready to implement more substantial projects, however, the book still covers more.
In the last week, other, more advanced, concepts are introduced such as friend functions, file manipulation, low level bit manipulation, and a lot more to help you become a master of this beast of a language.
This book also goes through each and every example program and provides a thorough analysis -- so you're never left in the dark as to what a program is doing or how.
This work does have some shortcomings, but they're not that significant. Yes, some of the example programs are extremely boring and you're left thinking whether you should bother entering and compiling them. Sometimes explanations are offered for the most trivial of concepts in programs, but overall, it's a great book at a great price.
In short, if you want to learn C++ and you want to learn it thoroughly, then this is your book!
What differentiates it from similar introductory C++ books is the way the material is laid out. After covering the langugage syntax the authors try to put forward what they consider easier to understand. This makes it easier for the reader, although the book cannot be used as a reference.
There are numerous code examples, which are compact, well structured and easy to follow and understand.
However, there are a few things that I believe could definetely be improved. First and foremost templates and the STL are not covered until Day 19, which means that all the code samples until then use the old C libraries. My opinion is that since templates represent a whole new programming paradigm, they have to be introduced much earlier, although they can be a bit difficult to grasp. Not only that, but the code uses deprecated headers mixed with standard library headers (e.g. 13.12 - p.435, 13.7 - p.423); it is more natural to use <cstring> than <string.h> at least.
Also assertions should definetely be introduced earlier and used in the code samples.The custom string class bound checking should report error (assert) when out of bounds and not return the last element! (13.14 - p.437).
Moreover I consider function pointers a not so important topic to be covered on Day 15. I would prefer to see it in an Appendix, near deprecated features really. Chapter titles should probably be revised too. E.g. Day 16 is named "Advanced Inheritance", but aggregation which is covered there is not actually inheritance. The chapter would be better named "Other class relationships", or even better "Aggregation" and cover only aggregation.
I also believe it is important to pair each new() with a delete (e.g. 12.10 - p.398) even though the program ends. This is a very important programming habit that someone should get used to very early.
Overall I believe that this book, although it has some weak points, has much to offer to someone that starts learning C++.
Compared to online resources, this book provides a fuller and often deeper explanation of the basics of C++. Sometimes it was too much depth (e.g., showing a picture of a fence to explain the fence-post error was not particularly needed), but you can always skip the rest of the page. I think I gained a better understanding of the use inheritance, virtual methods, and polymorphism through Liberty's examples.
I can definitively deny other reviews of this book that suggest that Liberty uses older POD arrays of pchar/char... he uses strings except late in the course where he shows an implementation of a string class. One of the things I learned from the additional material in Liberty's book is why this is controversial and why "#include <string.h>" and "#include <string>" are different. (Liberty's is a modern, "#include <string>" book.)
The book is also full of code examples which are explained concisely (which is nice, after the first introduction of "#include <string>" you don't need the author to explain it each time). There is a degree of review and each chapter ends with "Q&A" (kind of a short FAQ for that chapter), a quiz and some exercises. The exercises are generally split between "do this" and "debug this" items. There are answers at the back of the book.
Finally, I think OOP requires new analysis and object design skills and on-line tutorials are mostly silent about this critical issue. Liberty provides one full chapter that is quite good at providing an overview (IMHO).
My main criticism is a matter of expectations; this book teaches you A LITTLE C++. The back of the book says "you'll have all the skills you need to BEGIN programming C++" (my emphasis). You still have a considerable learning curve as you master even intermediate aspects. A good example is implementing "one class per file". In passing on day 6 Liberty explains that he is NOT showing you the way professional C++ programmers write code and he provides a single and very incomplete example of splitting your work into multiple files. Working from this, I find that I do not understand namespaces well enough from the discussion on day 18 to work with multiple files.
Also, I noticed a few errors in the book. Unless I very misunderstand, inline class methods were mislabeled in Day 6 and the default value example was so unrealistic as to denigrate the topic (although Liberty nicely covers the debate over whether to use default values or simply overload a method/function).
And finally, I thought that almost no instruction on the toolsets (compiler, make, etc.) was limiting. Ultimately, this omission shows you how basic this book is but given the fundamental nature and the intended audience, I think it's really a glaring omission. That said, the bit of advice he does give is confined to Microsoft's Visual product which was completely unhelpful to me using g++.
So, I can recommend the book with these caveats. This book would be a great way to prepare for additional training or to equip you to ask slightly less ignorant questions in online forums.
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