Learning C

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by mfasoccer@gmail.com, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Guest

    I am sorry if this is an inappropriate place to put this post, if so
    please delete it.

    I am wondering about a few things. Do you guys recommend learning C as
    a second language, as someone who already knows java very well. And
    what is the best way to learn C, books, tutorials, or what?

    Thanks, any response would be great.
     
    , Mar 10, 2006
    #1
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  2. Micah Cowan Guest

    "" <> writes:

    > I am sorry if this is an inappropriate place to put this post, if so
    > please delete it.


    Well, this is an entirely appropriate place for this post, but if it
    had not been, deleting the post would be impossible (once you post to
    USENET, it stays there, for the most part. Even "cancelling" a post
    you made will may affect some but not all servers).

    > I am wondering about a few things. Do you guys recommend learning C as
    > a second language, as someone who already knows java very well. And
    > what is the best way to learn C, books, tutorials, or what?
    >
    > Thanks, any response would be great.


    I'd be willing to bet that most of the folks on this group began
    learning C with a book. Unfortunately, there is a very high ratio of
    crappy C books to useful C books. I strongly recommend you buy a copy
    of K&R C ("The C Programming Language", by Kernighan and Ritchie, 2nd
    edition), written by the actual inventors of C. The C language has
    actually changed since then, but the language described there is still
    the most portable version of the language, and that book is the most
    widely recognized

    When you've worked through that, you should probably buy a copy of "C:
    A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele.

    See also http://c-faq.com/resources/books.html, which gives a few
    pointers on finding good books on C.

    Participating in this newsgroup, or on alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++, can
    also be /very/ beneficial, /provided/:

    1. You thoroughly familiarize yourself with the
    rules-of-conduct/posting for the group. This can be accomplished
    by reading about 2 weeks' worth of posts before posting
    yourself. See what kinds of posts get good responses, and which
    get poor ones.

    2. You have the humility and good grace to receive constructive
    criticisms, both of your code and of any errant behavior on the
    group.

    HTH,
    Micah
     
    Micah Cowan, Mar 10, 2006
    #2
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  3. Guest

    Thanks alot for the response, a few minutes after posting I searched
    this group and found hundreds of other threads about the same topic. I
    apoligize as well for double posting, that was a mistake even though
    I'm sure it must look like I tryed to bump my thread.

    I wanted as well, to bring forth another concern that I have with
    programming in general. Many people say that ACTUALLY PROGRAMMING
    real-world programs is the best way to get better. That theory makes
    sense, but when I sit down to write a program in java, I often realize
    that I have mastered the sytnax and searching and sorting algorithms,
    yet I cannot apply this to a real-world program. Are there any books
    for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other tactics
    involved in practical uses of C?
     
    , Mar 10, 2006
    #3
  4. said:

    > Are there any books
    > for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other tactics
    > involved in practical uses of C?


    Your best starting point is the book Micah mentioned. It has a bunch of
    exercises scattered throughout each chapter. Do them. It's astoundingly
    good training for practical C use. As for analytical thinking, you could do
    worse than stick around in comp.lang.c - some of the regular contributors
    are fine exponents of the art. (See also Knuth's "The Art of Computer
    Programming" - all three volumes - and don't be put off by the mathemagical
    flavour.)

    --
    Richard Heathfield
    "Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29/7/1999
    http://www.cpax.org.uk
    email: rjh at above domain (but drop the www, obviously)
     
    Richard Heathfield, Mar 10, 2006
    #4
  5. CBFalconer Guest

    "" wrote:
    >
    > Thanks alot for the response, a few minutes after posting I searched
    > this group and found hundreds of other threads about the same topic. I
    > apoligize as well for double posting, that was a mistake even though
    > I'm sure it must look like I tryed to bump my thread.
    >
    > I wanted as well, to bring forth another concern that I have with
    > programming in general. Many people say that ACTUALLY PROGRAMMING
    > real-world programs is the best way to get better. That theory makes
    > sense, but when I sit down to write a program in java, I often realize
    > that I have mastered the sytnax and searching and sorting algorithms,
    > yet I cannot apply this to a real-world program. Are there any books
    > for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other tactics
    > involved in practical uses of C?


    Our own Richard Heathfield has published such a book in "C
    Unleashed". So have Kernighan & Pike "The Practice of
    Programming". One of the best is Wirths "Algorithms + Data
    Structures = Programs".

    Get in the immediate habit of including adequate context in any
    replies. Don't let the fact that you are posting through that
    abortion of a usenet interface offered by google faze you. Read my
    sig. below, and read the referenced URLs. Google IS NOT usenet.

    All usenet articles need to stand by themselves. There is no
    guarantee that any particular other article has ever reached, or
    ever will reach, the reader. Even if it has, it may have been
    deleted, or just be awkward to view. So quote adequately, and snip
    quoted material that is irrelevant to your reply. Do not top-post,
    your answer belongs after (or intermixed with) the material to
    which you reply.

    --
    "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
    More details at: <http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/>
    Also see <http://www.safalra.com/special/googlegroupsreply/>
     
    CBFalconer, Mar 10, 2006
    #5
  6. mb1471 Guest

    I hear it is very important to use a linux machine for c programming,
    is this just a common myth or is there any truth there. I have been
    considering switching to linux for this reason, but I'm not sure if
    it's worth it..?
     
    mb1471, Mar 10, 2006
    #6
  7. mb1471 said:

    > I hear it is very important to use a linux machine for c programming,
    > is this just a common myth or is there any truth there.


    It's a common myth - and like many myths, it has a huge amount of truth
    behind it.

    C is a portable language. Any box you can find a C compiler (or
    cross-compiler) for, you can use for C programming. And if you write your
    code carefully, very often the only thing you have to do to get your
    program working on a different system is to recompile on the new system.
    So, for example, you write your Widgetalyser on a Mac, get it working, copy
    it over to a mainframe, recompile, and hey, presto! It works on the
    mainframe too. And, one recompile later, it works on Linux too. And maybe
    even on your mobile phone or microwave oven. (Er - maybe.)

    > I have been
    > considering switching to linux for this reason, but I'm not sure if
    > it's worth it..?


    Oh, it's worth it all right. But perhaps you should put in a couple of years
    on a Windows box first, just so that you'll be *really grateful* when you
    change over. ;-)

    Seriously, I don't like Windows (having used it for many years), I do like
    Linux (having used it for a few years), but C doesn't care. You can get
    good C compilers for Windows easily enough, legally for free in many cases.
    The only thing to watch - er, one of a few things to watch is that you need
    to be very firm with your typical Windows development environment. Be sure
    to save your files with a .c extension, not a .cpp extension. Typical
    Windows compilers will see a .cpp extension as an invitation to use C++
    rules instead of C rules when compiling - with, as the saying goes, the
    usual hilarious results.

    --
    Richard Heathfield
    "Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29/7/1999
    http://www.cpax.org.uk
    email: rjh at above domain (but drop the www, obviously)
     
    Richard Heathfield, Mar 10, 2006
    #7
  8. ""posted the following on 2006-03-10:

    > Thanks alot for the response, a few minutes after posting I searched
    > this group and found hundreds of other threads about the same topic. I
    > apoligize as well for double posting, that was a mistake even though
    > I'm sure it must look like I tryed to bump my thread.
    >
    > I wanted as well, to bring forth another concern that I have with
    > programming in general. Many people say that ACTUALLY PROGRAMMING
    > real-world programs is the best way to get better. That theory makes
    > sense, but when I sit down to write a program in java, I often realize
    > that I have mastered the sytnax and searching and sorting algorithms,
    > yet I cannot apply this to a real-world program. Are there any books
    > for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other tactics
    > involved in practical uses of C?
    >


    One great way is to analyse existing systems. You mentioned moving to
    Linux : this is a great idea because you can compile and step through
    existing apps with the debugger. Nothing brings you down to the real
    "warm fuzzy" feeling that C can bring you : remember that C is a
    compromise between high level and efficiency - when you know what you
    are doing you can write C almost as efficiently as if you had hard
    coded it in assembler. Efficiency aside, you will learn some good (and
    bad) structures : the bottom line being, did you understand the flow
    of the program after analysing it? If you did it might well be well
    architected. I say might ... but that call comes with experience.

    There are oodles of technical books out there
    which are language independant including such legendary books as Knuth
    - frankly they bore me to tears and are not indusive to a newbie
    learning a specific language. The best programming book I ever read
    was Kernighan & Ritchies C programming language : look it up on
    Amazon. It is concise & practical and doesnt aim to dazzle the newbie
    with unnecessary complications : it leads to concise, readable coding
    style which makes use of the language as it should be used - not as
    some nasty facelift of Java or Pascal.

    Just stick with it : for the bang to the buck there are few languages
    which come close to C.

    Also, you'd better remember to include *some* context in your replies
    or the usual suspects will be bombarding the NG with yet more
    reminders about how to use googlegroups. Some even have .signatures
    dedicated to just that.


    --
    "A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world" - LeCarre.
     
    Richard G. Riley, Mar 10, 2006
    #8
  9. Richard G. Riley wrote:
    > ""posted the following on 2006-03-10:


    > > Thanks alot for the response, a few minutes after posting I searched
    > > this group and found hundreds of other threads about the same topic. I
    > > apoligize as well for double posting, that was a mistake even though
    > > I'm sure it must look like I tryed to bump my thread.
    > >
    > > I wanted as well, to bring forth another concern that I have with
    > > programming in general. Many people say that ACTUALLY PROGRAMMING
    > > real-world programs is the best way to get better. That theory makes
    > > sense, but when I sit down to write a program in java, I often realize
    > > that I have mastered the sytnax and searching and sorting algorithms,
    > > yet I cannot apply this to a real-world program. Are there any books
    > > for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other tactics
    > > involved in practical uses of C?

    >
    > One great way is to analyse existing systems. You mentioned moving to
    > Linux : this is a great idea because you can compile and step through
    > existing apps with the debugger.


    could we keep the platform bigotry down to a dull roar? Windows has
    perfectly good debuggers available as well. So if you really want to
    (I've never had the urge) you can "step through existing apps".

    I've developed serious applications on both Linux and Windows. They are

    both perfectly adequate. It is completly possible to develop
    applications
    on windows. For heavens sake Windows was *written* in C!

    <snip>


    --
    Nick Keighley
     
    Nick Keighley, Mar 10, 2006
    #9
  10. Jordan Abel Guest

    On 2006-03-10, Richard Heathfield <> wrote:
    > mb1471 said:
    >
    >> I hear it is very important to use a linux machine for c programming,
    >> is this just a common myth or is there any truth there.

    >
    > It's a common myth - and like many myths, it has a huge amount of truth
    > behind it.


    You forgot to mention what that truth is.

    Linux, as a "unix-like" system, has a great deal of cultural heritage
    that is a good "fit" for C, as C was originally developed for UNIX. This
    can be useful [it's probably the type of system on which the implement-
    ation of the standard functions is going to be most straightforward*],
    but also dangerous [a lot of things that aren't really defined by the
    standard are going to happen to work the way you'll assume they should]

    *Note I wouldn't actually recommend trying to _read_ the glibc source,
    though. If you seriously plan on doing that, get a unixy OS other than
    linux. Say, FreeBSD. or Mac OSX. or SCO [well, that doesn't come with
    source code, but i'm sure its source code is still more readable than
    glibc even so]. really, anything.
     
    Jordan Abel, Mar 10, 2006
    #10
  11. "Nick"posted the following on 2006-03-10:

    > Richard G. Riley wrote:
    >> ""posted the following on 2006-03-10:

    >
    >> > Thanks alot for the response, a few minutes after posting I searched
    >> > this group and found hundreds of other threads about the same topic. I
    >> > apoligize as well for double posting, that was a mistake even though
    >> > I'm sure it must look like I tryed to bump my thread.
    >> >
    >> > I wanted as well, to bring forth another concern that I have with
    >> > programming in general. Many people say that ACTUALLY PROGRAMMING
    >> > real-world programs is the best way to get better. That theory makes
    >> > sense, but when I sit down to write a program in java, I often realize
    >> > that I have mastered the sytnax and searching and sorting algorithms,
    >> > yet I cannot apply this to a real-world program. Are there any books
    >> > for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other tactics
    >> > involved in practical uses of C?

    >>
    >> One great way is to analyse existing systems. You mentioned moving to
    >> Linux : this is a great idea because you can compile and step through
    >> existing apps with the debugger.

    >
    > could we keep the platform bigotry down to a dull roar? Windows has
    > perfectly good debuggers available as well. So if you really want to
    > (I've never had the urge) you can "step through existing apps".


    No you cant. Firstly, I use multiple OSs : windows, OS/2 and Linux so
    get away with your attempt to suggest this is an OS war bigotry.

    Secondly, what system apps are you aware of in windows which come with
    the C source code? Most are in C++ anyway. Most Gnome/Linux system is
    in C. The OP was asking about C.

    >
    > I've developed serious applications on both Linux and Windows. They are
    >
    > both perfectly adequate. It is completly possible to develop
    > applications


    Agreed. But see source comments above.

    > on windows. For heavens sake Windows was *written* in C!



    --
    "A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world" - LeCarre.
     
    Richard G. Riley, Mar 10, 2006
    #11
  12. Richard G. Riley wrote:
    > "Nick"posted the following on 2006-03-10:
    >
    > > Richard G. Riley wrote:
    > >> ""posted the following on 2006-03-10:

    > >
    > >> > Thanks alot for the response, a few minutes after posting I searched
    > >> > this group and found hundreds of other threads about the same topic. I
    > >> > apoligize as well for double posting, that was a mistake even though
    > >> > I'm sure it must look like I tryed to bump my thread.
    > >> >
    > >> > I wanted as well, to bring forth another concern that I have with
    > >> > programming in general. Many people say that ACTUALLY PROGRAMMING
    > >> > real-world programs is the best way to get better. That theory makes
    > >> > sense, but when I sit down to write a program in java, I often realize
    > >> > that I have mastered the sytnax and searching and sorting algorithms,
    > >> > yet I cannot apply this to a real-world program. Are there any books
    > >> > for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other tactics
    > >> > involved in practical uses of C?
    > >>
    > >> One great way is to analyse existing systems. You mentioned moving to
    > >> Linux : this is a great idea because you can compile and step through
    > >> existing apps with the debugger.

    > >
    > > could we keep the platform bigotry down to a dull roar? Windows has
    > > perfectly good debuggers available as well. So if you really want to
    > > (I've never had the urge) you can "step through existing apps".

    >
    > No you cant. Firstly, I use multiple OSs : windows, OS/2 and Linux so
    > get away with your attempt to suggest this is an OS war bigotry.
    >
    > Secondly, what system apps are you aware of in windows which come with
    > the C source code? Most are in C++ anyway. Most Gnome/Linux system is
    > in C. The OP was asking about C.


    I thought you were implying Linux was better because the *debugger* was

    better. I've never stepped through an existing application (that wasn't
    broken)
    with a debugger. If you say it's a good way to learn C, who am I to
    argue.

    But it *still* sounds bizzare to me

    <snip>


    --
    Nick Keighley
     
    Nick Keighley, Mar 10, 2006
    #12
  13. "Nick"posted the following on 2006-03-10:

    >
    > I thought you were implying Linux was better because the *debugger* was
    >


    There is no "the debugger" : although gdb is prevalent in Linux -
    albeit with several front ends.

    > better. I've never stepped through an existing application (that wasn't
    > broken)
    > with a debugger. If you say it's a good way to learn C, who am I to
    > argue.


    I said its one way to get used to the structure and flow of
    applications which is what he wants. Also, I do think a debugger can
    give real insight into how C works in the real world : results of
    operators there for you to see with no overhead of printfs which some favor.

    >
    > But it *still* sounds bizzare to me
    >


    What does? Are we talking about the same thing? Do you doubt that
    watching other, well written apps work is beneficial to a newbie? It
    seems fairly clear to me that it can only help. Its how the entire
    Open SW system works : people learning by doing and picking up on
    other peoples work.

    ><snip>
    >
    >



    --
    "A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world" - LeCarre.
     
    Richard G. Riley, Mar 10, 2006
    #13
  14. Chris Dollin Guest

    Richard G. Riley wrote:

    > "Nick"posted the following on 2006-03-10:


    >> I thought you were implying Linux was better because the *debugger* was


    >
    > There is no "the debugger" : although gdb is prevalent in Linux -
    > albeit with several front ends.
    >
    >> better. I've never stepped through an existing application (that wasn't
    >> broken)
    >> with a debugger. If you say it's a good way to learn C, who am I to
    >> argue.

    >
    > I said its one way to get used to the structure and flow of
    > applications which is what he wants. Also, I do think a debugger can
    > give real insight into how C works in the real world : results of
    > operators there for you to see with no overhead of printfs which some
    > favor.


    The printf's are portable. The printf's work without manual intervention.
    The printfs work without having to understand an additional tool.

    >> But it *still* sounds bizzare to me
    >>

    >
    > What does? Are we talking about the same thing? Do you doubt that
    > watching other, well written apps work is beneficial to a newbie? It
    > seems fairly clear to me that it can only help. Its how the entire
    > Open SW system works : people learning by doing and picking up on
    > other peoples work.


    You've conflated "learning by doing and picking up on> other peoples work"
    with "watching ... apps work" and that with stepping through an application
    using a debugger. I think that's misleading.

    --
    Chris "sparqling" Dollin
    "Who do you serve, and who do you trust?"
     
    Chris Dollin, Mar 10, 2006
    #14
  15. "Chris"posted the following on 2006-03-10:

    > Richard G. Riley wrote:
    >
    >> "Nick"posted the following on 2006-03-10:

    >
    >>> I thought you were implying Linux was better because the *debugger* was

    >
    >>
    >> There is no "the debugger" : although gdb is prevalent in Linux -
    >> albeit with several front ends.
    >>
    >>> better. I've never stepped through an existing application (that wasn't
    >>> broken)
    >>> with a debugger. If you say it's a good way to learn C, who am I to
    >>> argue.

    >>
    >> I said its one way to get used to the structure and flow of
    >> applications which is what he wants. Also, I do think a debugger can
    >> give real insight into how C works in the real world : results of
    >> operators there for you to see with no overhead of printfs which some
    >> favor.

    >
    > The printf's are portable. The printf's work without manual
    >intervention.


    No they dont : you have to insert them in the code. But thats being
    petty. Its rare that I find someone wanting their printfs to be
    portable in a system process or a an X gui or a Win 32 winproc : they
    dont work. Home grown or system supplied logging libraries possibly :
    but can you really analyse them at run time? I cant : I like to step
    through and see the flow of the app to get a feel for how the systems
    heart is beating.

    > The printfs work without having to understand an additional tool.
    >
    >>> But it *still* sounds bizzare to me
    >>>

    >>
    >> What does? Are we talking about the same thing? Do you doubt that
    >> watching other, well written apps work is beneficial to a newbie? It
    >> seems fairly clear to me that it can only help. Its how the entire
    >> Open SW system works : people learning by doing and picking up on
    >> other peoples work.

    >
    > You've conflated "learning by doing and picking up on> other peoples work"
    > with "watching ... apps work" and that with stepping through an application
    > using a debugger. I think that's misleading.
    >


    Really? Seems pretty straightforward to me and also how close on 100% of
    Universities teach coding at some stage or other : adding modules to
    existing systems. Maybe I'm a bit slow today but I'm not seeing the
    subtleties of the point you are making here : the user is looking for
    a way to learn how to structure applications and build them himself.

    I fail to see how analysing existing, successful apps can be anything
    other than beneficial. It doesnt take away the donkey work of learning
    the lanugage basics, but it can make text book "science" much more
    accessible and "real". I cant imagine becoming a programmer without
    such practice, guidance and "practical training". Its the same in all
    walks of life.




    --
    "A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world" - LeCarre.
     
    Richard G. Riley, Mar 10, 2006
    #15
  16. Chris Dollin wrote:
    > Richard G. Riley wrote:
    > > "Nick"posted the following on 2006-03-10:
    > >> I thought you were implying Linux was better because the *debugger* was

    > >
    > > There is no "the debugger" : although gdb is prevalent in Linux -
    > > albeit with several front ends.


    < snip >

    > > What does? Are we talking about the same thing? Do you doubt that
    > > watching other, well written apps work is beneficial to a newbie? It
    > > seems fairly clear to me that it can only help. Its how the entire
    > > Open SW system works : people learning by doing and picking up on
    > > other peoples work.

    >
    > You've conflated "learning by doing and picking up on> other peoples work"
    > with "watching ... apps work" and that with stepping through an application
    > using a debugger. I think that's misleading.


    You've been trolled!

    Especially in the light of the reply by the same person I couldn't
    avoid seeing, as I'm forced to use Google from the office.

    --
    BR, Vladimir
     
    Vladimir S. Oka, Mar 10, 2006
    #16
  17. Mike Wahler Guest

    "Nick Keighley" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > Richard G. Riley wrote:
    >> "Nick"posted the following on 2006-03-10:
    >>
    >> > Richard G. Riley wrote:
    >> >> ""posted the following on 2006-03-10:
    >> >
    >> >> > Thanks alot for the response, a few minutes after posting I searched
    >> >> > this group and found hundreds of other threads about the same topic.
    >> >> > I
    >> >> > apoligize as well for double posting, that was a mistake even though
    >> >> > I'm sure it must look like I tryed to bump my thread.
    >> >> >
    >> >> > I wanted as well, to bring forth another concern that I have with
    >> >> > programming in general. Many people say that ACTUALLY PROGRAMMING
    >> >> > real-world programs is the best way to get better. That theory makes
    >> >> > sense, but when I sit down to write a program in java, I often
    >> >> > realize
    >> >> > that I have mastered the sytnax and searching and sorting
    >> >> > algorithms,
    >> >> > yet I cannot apply this to a real-world program. Are there any books
    >> >> > for C or websites that explain the analytical thinking or other
    >> >> > tactics
    >> >> > involved in practical uses of C?
    >> >>
    >> >> One great way is to analyse existing systems. You mentioned moving to
    >> >> Linux : this is a great idea because you can compile and step through
    >> >> existing apps with the debugger.
    >> >
    >> > could we keep the platform bigotry down to a dull roar? Windows has
    >> > perfectly good debuggers available as well. So if you really want to
    >> > (I've never had the urge) you can "step through existing apps".

    >>
    >> No you cant. Firstly, I use multiple OSs : windows, OS/2 and Linux so
    >> get away with your attempt to suggest this is an OS war bigotry.
    >>
    >> Secondly, what system apps are you aware of in windows which come with
    >> the C source code? Most are in C++ anyway. Most Gnome/Linux system is
    >> in C. The OP was asking about C.

    >
    > I thought you were implying Linux was better because the *debugger* was
    >
    > better. I've never stepped through an existing application (that wasn't
    > broken)
    > with a debugger. If you say it's a good way to learn C, who am I to
    > argue.
    >
    > But it *still* sounds bizzare to me


    My $.02:

    I learned C on MS-DOS systems. I found using a debugger
    (even with 'working' code) to be an *extremely* good aid
    in understanding the language and how it was implemented
    on that system. E.g. when creating a new function, before
    integrating it with the main program, I'd run it in a
    'test harness' under a debugger, and more often than
    not, I was able to find and fix bugs before they got
    into the main application.

    -Mike


    >
    > <snip>
    >
    >
    > --
    > Nick Keighley
    >
     
    Mike Wahler, Mar 10, 2006
    #17
  18. Default User Guest

    Mike Wahler wrote:


    > I learned C on MS-DOS systems. I found using a debugger
    > (even with 'working' code) to be an extremely good aid
    > in understanding the language and how it was implemented
    > on that system. E.g. when creating a new function, before
    > integrating it with the main program, I'd run it in a
    > 'test harness' under a debugger, and more often than
    > not, I was able to find and fix bugs before they got
    > into the main application.



    Sure, but that's not what was claimed. The original statement said
    "existing programs", so not the one under development. I don't think
    tracing someone else's code is likely to be much of a learning tool.

    Personally I've never found that even reading other code was useful for
    learning basic programming. It teaches one how to read code, which is a
    useful skill in and of itself, but not how to program. Only writing
    code teaches you that.

    An experienced programmer may well look at existing code for tips on
    how to approach a problem, but that's another thing altogether.



    --
    Please quote enough of the previous message for context. To do so from
    Google, click "show options" and use the Reply shown in the expanded
    header.
     
    Default User, Mar 10, 2006
    #18
  19. Mike Wahler Guest

    "Default User" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Mike Wahler wrote:
    >
    >
    >> I learned C on MS-DOS systems. I found using a debugger
    >> (even with 'working' code) to be an extremely good aid
    >> in understanding the language and how it was implemented
    >> on that system. E.g. when creating a new function, before
    >> integrating it with the main program, I'd run it in a
    >> 'test harness' under a debugger, and more often than
    >> not, I was able to find and fix bugs before they got
    >> into the main application.

    >
    >
    > Sure, but that's not what was claimed.


    OK, perhaps I misunderstood. I was simply stating
    that I found a debugger to be useful while learning
    the language.


    > The original statement said
    > "existing programs", so not the one under development. I don't think
    > tracing someone else's code is likely to be much of a learning tool.


    I think it can help (provided it's 'decent' code).

    > Personally I've never found that even reading other code was useful for
    > learning basic programming.


    I have, especially textbook examples. I suppose this is
    just a case of YMMV. :)

    > It teaches one how to read code, which is a
    > useful skill in and of itself, but not how to program. Only writing
    > code teaches you that.


    I also think writing code is the probably the most useful way to learn.
    My remarks about a debugger were in that context. "Write it, then
    watch it."


    > An experienced programmer may well look at existing code for tips on
    > how to approach a problem, but that's another thing altogether.


    -Mike
     
    Mike Wahler, Mar 11, 2006
    #19
  20. Default User Guest

    Mike Wahler wrote:

    >
    > "Default User" <> wrote in message
    > news:...


    > > Personally I've never found that even reading other code was useful
    > > for learning basic programming.

    >
    > I have, especially textbook examples. I suppose this is
    > just a case of YMMV. :)


    I don't mean short illustrative code examples as found in textbooks.
    Those have been, hopefully, crafted for teaching purposes. That's not
    usually the case with a full-blown program.

    > I also think writing code is the probably the most useful way to
    > learn. My remarks about a debugger were in that context. "Write it,
    > then watch it."


    I would agree.



    Brian
     
    Default User, Mar 11, 2006
    #20
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