How do the experts here quickly come up with references to standards?

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by Kobu, Jan 20, 2005.

  1. Kobu

    Kobu Guest

    Hello,

    I really admire how the experts that roam clc quickly come up with
    specific references to parts of C standard documentation. It beats
    textbooks anyday because it leaves everyone with less doubt.

    My question is, how do you people do it? Do most of you have hardcopy
    versions of the standards or browse online versions? Are most of you
    already familiar with the language standards enough to quickly find
    what's needed (much like an experienced CPA/CA looking at Accounting
    Standards). Would you recommend that an intermediate level C programmer
    read these standards straight through?
     
    Kobu, Jan 20, 2005
    #1
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  2. Kobu

    CBFalconer Guest

    Re: How do the experts here quickly come up with references tostandards?

    Kobu wrote:
    >
    > I really admire how the experts that roam clc quickly come up with
    > specific references to parts of C standard documentation. It beats
    > textbooks anyday because it leaves everyone with less doubt.
    >
    > My question is, how do you people do it? Do most of you have hardcopy
    > versions of the standards or browse online versions? Are most of you
    > already familiar with the language standards enough to quickly find
    > what's needed (much like an experienced CPA/CA looking at Accounting
    > Standards). Would you recommend that an intermediate level C programmer
    > read these standards straight through?


    See the C99 reference in my sig below. Get the .txt version.

    --
    Some useful references:
    <http://www.ungerhu.com/jxh/clc.welcome.txt>
    <http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html>
    <http://benpfaff.org/writings/clc/off-topic.html>
    <http://anubis.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc22/wg14/www/docs/n869/> (C99)
    <http://www.dinkumware.com/refxc.html> C-library
     
    CBFalconer, Jan 20, 2005
    #2
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  3. Kobu wrote:
    > Hello,
    >
    > I really admire how the experts that roam clc quickly come up with
    > specific references to parts of C standard documentation. It beats
    > textbooks anyday because it leaves everyone with less doubt.
    >
    > My question is, how do you people do it? Do most of you have hardcopy

    [...]

    In addition to the n869.txt file, get (e)grep if it is available for
    your operating system. You can find one for Windows here:
    http://unxutils.sourceforge.net ;)

    --
    C-FAQ: http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/faq.html
    C Library: http://www.dinkumware.com/refxc.html
    C99 Standard Draft: http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg14/www/docs/n869/
    Common C Programming Errors:
    http://www.drpaulcarter.com/cs/common-c-errors.php

    "I'm learning to program because then I can write
    programs to do my homework faster." - Andy Anfilofieff
     
    Jonathan Burd, Jan 20, 2005
    #3
  4. Keith Thompson wrote:

    > I have a PDF copy of the C99 standard (which I bought from ANSI for
    > $18)


    I keep reading about the standard being available for $18, but every store I
    checked wants $220 for it. Am I missing something or have they raised the
    price?


    Christian
     
    Christian Kandeler, Jan 20, 2005
    #4
  5. On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 04:27:20 GMT, Keith Thompson
    <> wrote:

    > "Kobu" <> writes:
    >> I really admire how the experts that roam clc quickly come up with
    >> specific references to parts of C standard documentation. It beats
    >> textbooks anyday because it leaves everyone with less doubt.
    >>
    >> My question is, how do you people do it? Do most of you have hardcopy
    >> versions of the standards or browse online versions? Are most of you
    >> already familiar with the language standards enough to quickly find
    >> what's needed (much like an experienced CPA/CA looking at Accounting
    >> Standards).

    >
    > I have a PDF copy of the C99 standard (which I bought from ANSI for
    > $18) on my laptop, just a few keystrokes away from my newsreader.
    > It's well bookmarked, so it's easy to find whatever section I need.
    > I suspect a lot of the regulars have something similar.


    I don't use the bookmarks, the search (CTRL-F) seems to work well enough
    for me (Acrobat 6 puts up a pane with a scrollable list of all of the
    found strings, which makes it easy to go through and see the context).

    There is also a copy of a late C89 Draft at

    http://dev.unicals.com/papers/c89-draft.html

    (someone posted it recently either here or comp.std.c and I snarfed the
    reference). It's one big HTML file, and the conversion to HTML leaves
    something to be desired (at least one of the indices has no line
    breaks!) but it's the only easily available copy of the C89 standard
    I've found.

    >> Would you recommend that an intermediate level C programmer
    >> read these standards straight through?

    >
    > I don't know about reading it straight through, but it's cheap enough
    > that it's worth having as a reference -- especially if you want to
    > crush your fellow programmers' spirits with your detailed knowledge of
    > the language.


    In my opinion it is well worth the money, but it isn't a tutorial. It's
    great for finding things which I remember partially ("what was that new
    printf specification for displaying floating point in hex?") but I've
    had to ask here (or c.s.c) for clarification of what some of the things
    actually mean.

    I certainly wouldn't try to read it straight through, unless I really
    couldn't sleep <g>. The same with any reference standard, they aren't
    designed to be read that way. A number of things are scattered into
    many sections (the attributes of integer types, for instance, appear in
    different sections including several for the headers which are listed in
    alphabetical order). And like a lot of reference documents
    (dictionaries for instance) I find that I'm looking at one thing and I
    get sidetracked by references to other parts...

    Chris C
     
    Chris Croughton, Jan 20, 2005
    #5
  6. On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 09:57:27 +0100, Christian Kandeler
    <_invalid> wrote:

    > Keith Thompson wrote:
    >
    >> I have a PDF copy of the C99 standard (which I bought from ANSI for
    >> $18)

    >
    > I keep reading about the standard being available for $18, but every store I
    > checked wants $220 for it. Am I missing something or have they raised the
    > price?


    You're missing "PDF", it's an online copy, the dead tree versions are
    the expensive ones. If you go to http://webstore.ansi.org/ansidocstore/
    and search for 9899 you will find the page, which list prices:

    DIN EN 29899 Programming $183.00
    languages; C;
    (ISO/IEC
    9899:1990);
    English version EN
    29899:1993
    (FOREIGN STANDARD)

    DIN EN Programming $121.00
    29899/A1 languages - C -
    Amendment 1: C
    integrity (ISO/IEC
    9899:1990/AMD
    1:1995); English
    version EN
    29899:1993/A1:1996
    (FOREIGN STANDARD)

    INCITS/ISO/IEC Approved American $18.00
    9899-1999 National Standard
    Programming
    Languages - C
    (formerly
    ANSI/ISO/IEC
    9899-1999)

    ISO/IEC Programming $0.00
    9899/Cor1:2001 languages - C -
    Corrigendum
    FREE

    ISO/IEC Programming $0.00
    9899/Cor2:2004 languages - C -
    Corrigendum
    FREE

    ISO/IEC Programming $278.00
    9899:1999 languages -- C

    The third is the PDF version. The two Corrigenda are also PDF only.
    All of the rest are dead tree versions (DIN is the German standard;
    there is also an expensive British Standard version which the ANSI store
    doesn't stock, and probably other national standards have their own).

    INCITS is what used to be ANSI, I gather (I lose track of these acronym
    changes)...

    There is at least one other online store which sells it, slightly
    different prices for the dead tree versions but the same for the PDF
    copies.

    Chris C
     
    Chris Croughton, Jan 20, 2005
    #6
  7. Chris Croughton wrote:

    > You're missing "PDF", it's an online copy, the dead tree versions are
    > the expensive ones.
    > If you go to http://webstore.ansi.org/ansidocstore/
    > and search for 9899 you will find the page, which list prices


    Hm, seems that you're right. It's just that I've searched numerous sites
    (including, I could swear, the one you mention) just a couple of days ago,
    and they all wanted the same amount of money for the PDF and the paper
    version. Wait a second... here's one:
    http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueDetailPage.CatalogueDetail?CSNUMBER=29237&ICS1=35&ICS2=60&ICS3=
    They sell the standard for 340 Swiss Francs, regardless of the medium.


    Christian
     
    Christian Kandeler, Jan 20, 2005
    #7
  8. Kobu

    Richard Bos Guest

    Chris Croughton <> wrote:

    > You're missing "PDF", it's an online copy, the dead tree versions are
    > the expensive ones. If you go to http://webstore.ansi.org/ansidocstore/
    > and search for 9899 you will find the page, which list prices:
    >
    > DIN EN 29899 Programming $183.00
    > languages; C;


    > DIN EN Programming $121.00
    > 29899/A1 languages - C -
    > Amendment 1: C


    > INCITS/ISO/IEC Approved American $18.00
    > 9899-1999 National Standard


    > The third is the PDF version. The two Corrigenda are also PDF only.
    > All of the rest are dead tree versions (DIN is the German standard;
    > there is also an expensive British Standard version which the ANSI store
    > doesn't stock, and probably other national standards have their own).


    And if you do want a dead tree edition,
    <http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470845732.html> is
    not from a Standards institute directly, but it's the official text, and
    a lot cheaper. Well worth the money, IMO.

    Richard
     
    Richard Bos, Jan 20, 2005
    #8
  9. On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 13:26:44 +0100, Christian Kandeler
    <_invalid> wrote:

    > Chris Croughton wrote:
    >
    >> You're missing "PDF", it's an online copy, the dead tree versions are
    >> the expensive ones.
    >> If you go to http://webstore.ansi.org/ansidocstore/
    >> and search for 9899 you will find the page, which list prices

    >
    > Hm, seems that you're right. It's just that I've searched numerous sites
    > (including, I could swear, the one you mention) just a couple of days ago,
    > and they all wanted the same amount of money for the PDF and the paper
    > version. Wait a second... here's one:
    > http://www.iso.org/iso/en/CatalogueDetailPage.CatalogueDetail?CSNUMBER=29237&ICS1=35&ICS2=60&ICS3=
    > They sell the standard for 340 Swiss Francs, regardless of the medium.


    Probably BS do as well, they are in it for the profit. Bastards. Get
    it from ANSI...

    Note that http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg14/ has the Rationale
    (2003) for the C spec. Also, the PDF itself can currently be found
    (free!) as http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/open/n2794/n2794.pdf and as
    text.

    Chris C
     
    Chris Croughton, Jan 20, 2005
    #9
  10. In article <> (Richard Bos) writes:
    ....
    > And if you do want a dead tree edition,
    > <http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470845732.html> is
    > not from a Standards institute directly, but it's the official text, and
    > a lot cheaper. Well worth the money, IMO.


    Well, a publisher did the printing and stuff, but the responsable
    institute is the British Standards Institute.
    --
    dik t. winter, cwi, kruislaan 413, 1098 sj amsterdam, nederland, +31205924131
    home: bovenover 215, 1025 jn amsterdam, nederland; http://www.cwi.nl/~dik/
     
    Dik T. Winter, Jan 20, 2005
    #10
  11. Re: How do the experts here quickly come up with references tostandards?

    Chris Croughton <> writes:
    [...]
    > INCITS is what used to be ANSI, I gather (I lose track of these acronym
    > changes)...


    No, INCITS is the InterNational Committee for Information Technology
    Standards, <http://www.incits.org/>. Apparently it's tne new name for
    X3; the name was changed in 1996. INCITS is sponsored by ITI, the
    Information Technology Industry Council, <http://www.itic.org/>,
    formerly CBEMA (Computer and Business Equipment Asssociation).

    "I know engineers, they just *love* to change things."
    -- Dr. Leonard McCoy

    --
    Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keith) <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
    San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
    We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
     
    Keith Thompson, Jan 20, 2005
    #11
  12. Kobu

    CBFalconer Guest

    Re: How do the experts here quickly come up with references tostandards?

    Chris Croughton wrote:
    >

    .... snip ...
    >
    > There is also a copy of a late C89 Draft at
    >
    > http://dev.unicals.com/papers/c89-draft.html
    >
    > (someone posted it recently either here or comp.std.c and I snarfed
    > the reference). It's one big HTML file, and the conversion to HTML
    > leaves something to be desired (at least one of the indices has no
    > line breaks!) but it's the only easily available copy of the C89
    > standard I've found.


    ansic89.txt 494130 ANSI C standard, last draft.

    <http://home.earthlink.net/~bobbitts/c89.txt>
    or <http://cern.ch/dan.pop/ansi.c>

    I believe that copy has a hole somewhere.


    --
    "If you want to post a followup via groups.google.com, don't use
    the broken "Reply" link at the bottom of the article. Click on
    "show options" at the top of the article, then click on the
    "Reply" at the bottom of the article headers." - Keith Thompson
     
    CBFalconer, Jan 20, 2005
    #12
  13. Kobu

    Mike Wahler Guest

    "Kobu" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hello,
    >
    > I really admire how the experts that roam clc quickly come up with
    > specific references to parts of C standard documentation. It beats
    > textbooks anyday because it leaves everyone with less doubt.


    Yes. Many textbooks have errors (but many also have
    companion 'errata' sites on the web). And then there's
    Herb. :)

    > My question is, how do you people do it? Do most of you have hardcopy
    > versions of the standards or browse online versions?


    The C standard is not (legally) publicly available for free,
    it must be purchased. It's available as hard copy or
    as a .PDF file (the latter is much less expensive).

    I find things by using the Adobe Acrobat search feature,
    giving it selected keywords (but this does take practice,
    and gets easier once one becomes familiar with its
    organization, writing 'style' and terminology used).

    >Are most of you
    > already familiar with the language standards enough to quickly find
    > what's needed (much like an experienced CPA/CA looking at Accounting
    > Standards).


    When I first got my copy of the standard I was not familiar with
    it at all. But experience with it makes using it easier with each
    use (just as with your CPA analogy). And of course, as with anything,
    those issues most commonly dealt with get added to the category of
    'memorized'.

    >Would you recommend that an intermediate level C programmer
    > read these standards straight through?


    I would not recommend anyone with any level of expertise read
    it 'front to back' like a book. It's intended as a reference,
    as it's not organized as a textbook would be (i.e. information
    in a particular portion isn't necessarily built upon that
    of previous sections -- it does use 'forward references' as
    an aid to the reader, however).

    I would recommend that an intermediate level (or any professional)
    C coder does own a copy of the standard. It's only about 20USD for
    a .PDF copy available from www.webstore.ansi.org. Search for
    "9899:1999".

    Finally, an organization employing several coders might provide
    a copy of the standard for them to share. Even if this were
    the case for me, I prefer to have my own personal copy.

    HTH,
    -Mike
     
    Mike Wahler, Jan 20, 2005
    #13
  14. Kobu

    Mike Wahler Guest

    "Ben Pfaff" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > "Kobu" <> writes:
    >
    > > I really admire how the experts that roam clc quickly come up with
    > > specific references to parts of C standard documentation. It beats
    > > textbooks anyday because it leaves everyone with less doubt.
    > >
    > > My question is, how do you people do it?

    >
    > I converted my PDF copies of the standards into text files.


    Curious: What tool did you use for that?

    -Mike
     
    Mike Wahler, Jan 20, 2005
    #14
  15. Kobu

    Ben Pfaff Guest

    Re: How do the experts here quickly come up with references tostandards?

    "Mike Wahler" <> writes:

    > "Ben Pfaff" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> I converted my PDF copies of the standards into text files.

    >
    > Curious: What tool did you use for that?


    pdftotext from xpdf, plus a little search-and-replace
    postprocessing to fix a few things.
    --
    int main(void){char p[]="ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.\
    \n",*q="kl BIcNBFr.NKEzjwCIxNJC";int i=sizeof p/2;char *strchr();int putchar(\
    );while(*q){i+=strchr(p,*q++)-p;if(i>=(int)sizeof p)i-=sizeof p-1;putchar(p\
    );}return 0;}
     
    Ben Pfaff, Jan 20, 2005
    #15
  16. Kobu

    Default User Guest

    Mike Wahler wrote:
    > "Kobu" <> wrote in message


    > > My question is, how do you people do it? Do most of you have

    hardcopy
    > > versions of the standards or browse online versions?

    >
    > The C standard is not (legally) publicly available for free,
    > it must be purchased. It's available as hard copy or
    > as a .PDF file (the latter is much less expensive).


    While it doesn't help me for C, my company recently purchased some sort
    of site license for the C++ standard, so they can have the PDF of the
    2003 update to that on an internal tools web site. Very handy.

    I'm a member of the user group that works with the tools people, I'll
    have to ask how much that license cost. More than $18 I'll bet.
    >



    Brian
     
    Default User, Jan 20, 2005
    #16
  17. On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 20:04:35 GMT, Mike Wahler
    <> wrote:

    >
    > "Ben Pfaff" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> "Kobu" <> writes:
    >>
    >> > I really admire how the experts that roam clc quickly come up with
    >> > specific references to parts of C standard documentation. It beats
    >> > textbooks anyday because it leaves everyone with less doubt.
    >> >
    >> > My question is, how do you people do it?

    >>
    >> I converted my PDF copies of the standards into text files.

    >
    > Curious: What tool did you use for that?


    Acrobat, tell it to save as a text file!

    There is a GNU too pdftotext as well, but I've found that it fails on a
    number of PDF files (I believe it uses ghostscript).

    Chris C
     
    Chris Croughton, Jan 20, 2005
    #17
  18. Kobu

    Mike Wahler Guest

    "Chris Croughton" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >>
    > >> I converted my PDF copies of the standards into text files.

    > >
    > > Curious: What tool did you use for that?

    >
    > Acrobat, tell it to save as a text file!


    That was my first instinct, but alas, by copy does not
    allow doing so.

    >
    > There is a GNU too pdftotext as well, but I've found that it fails on a
    > number of PDF files (I believe it uses ghostscript).


    Thanks for your suggestions.

    -Mike
     
    Mike Wahler, Jan 20, 2005
    #18
  19. Kobu

    Guest

    Chris Croughton <> wrote:
    >
    > INCITS is what used to be ANSI, I gather (I lose track of these acronym
    > changes)...


    Actually, INCITS is what was briefly known as NCITS and before that was
    Accredited Standards Committee X3, Information Technology. ANSI is who
    accredited it, and who delegates responsibility for IT standards to it.

    -Larry Jones

    Girls are like slugs -- they probably serve some purpose, but
    it's hard to imagine what. -- Calvin
     
    , Jan 20, 2005
    #19
  20. On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 22:24:43 GMT, Mike Wahler
    <> wrote:

    > "Chris Croughton" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> >>
    >> >> I converted my PDF copies of the standards into text files.
    >> >
    >> > Curious: What tool did you use for that?

    >>
    >> Acrobat, tell it to save as a text file!

    >
    > That was my first instinct, but alas, by copy does not
    > allow doing so.


    Ah, version 6 on Windows (at least) does allow that (with the C spec.
    anyway, there are other PDF files with embedded graphics which it can't
    save as text).

    >> There is a GNU too pdftotext as well, but I've found that it fails on
    >> a number of PDF files (I believe it uses ghostscript).

    >
    > Thanks for your suggestions.


    You can also try pdf2ps and ps2ascii, that sometimes works better (or
    worse) than pdftotext. Somewhere I've seen a pdf to HTLM converter but
    it doesn't seem to be on my system...

    Chris C
     
    Chris Croughton, Jan 21, 2005
    #20
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