Nth request of book recommendations

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by Guido Mureddu, Nov 27, 2004.

  1. Hello,

    I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and answered this
    sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't found past threads as
    helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have read them all and many reviews, I
    prefer to ask directly to people who know the subject better than anyone else.

    First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
    introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.
    Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much greater
    detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us choice
    between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book
    on C" by Kelley/Pohl.
    I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have found
    a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language. As you can
    imagine, the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the
    first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
    of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad) impression
    that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.

    I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I don't want
    another introduction to the language - I've gone through that already. And I
    want something readable, not some sort of C encyclopedia. My searches narrowed
    down possible candidates to these books:

    - "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by many, but is
    it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is that it might be a little
    too oriented towards the beginner.

    - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
    or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know
    it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
    easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.

    - "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my studies?
    Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it readable
    by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it be read
    almost cover to cover?

    If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of these
    books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one year.

    To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
    conforming to the ANSI standard.

    If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone can help me.
    Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices are
    not adequate.


    Guido Mureddu

    _____________________________________________
    Written with VIM - Vi Improved (www.vim.org)
    Guido Mureddu, Nov 27, 2004
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. "Guido Mureddu" <
    > Hello,
    >
    > I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and

    answered this
    > sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't found past threads as
    > helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have read them all and many

    reviews, I
    > prefer to ask directly to people who know the subject better than anyone

    else.
    >
    > First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
    > introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.
    > Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much

    greater
    > detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us

    choice
    > between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A

    Book
    > on C" by Kelley/Pohl.
    > I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have

    found
    > a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language. As you can
    > imagine, the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after

    the
    > first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found

    a lot
    > of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad)

    impression
    > that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.
    >
    > I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I don't

    want
    > another introduction to the language - I've gone through that already. And

    I
    > want something readable, not some sort of C encyclopedia. My searches

    narrowed
    > down possible candidates to these books:
    >
    > - "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by many,

    but is
    > it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is that it might be a

    little
    > too oriented towards the beginner.
    >
    > - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy

    sooner
    > or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I

    know
    > it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always

    be
    > easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.


    Absolutely necessary. Go directly to bookstore. Do not pass Go, unless it
    is to 5*PRICE.

    > - "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my

    studies?
    > Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it

    readable
    > by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it

    be read
    > almost cover to cover?
    >
    > If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of

    these
    > books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one

    year.
    >
    > To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
    > conforming to the ANSI standard.
    >
    > If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone can

    help me.
    > Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices

    are
    > not adequate.


    C Unleashed. Don't be discouraged that they're light-years ahead of you on
    most topics. Heathfield's crew has no match. MPJ
    Merrill & Michele, Nov 27, 2004
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Guido Mureddu

    Flash Gordon Guest

    On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 20:26:55 +0100
    Guido Mureddu <> wrote:

    > Hello,
    >
    > I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and
    > answered this sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't
    > found past threads as helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have
    > read them all and many reviews, I prefer to ask directly to people who
    > know the subject better than anyone else.


    Have you also checked the FAQ?

    > First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
    > introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this
    > semester. Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the
    > language in much greater detail than I did with the introductory
    > course. The professor gave us choice between two books: "C: The
    > Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt,


    I'm already less than impressed with your professor.

    > and "A Book on C" by
    > Kelley/Pohl. I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by
    > page, happy to have found a deep and detailed - but readable -
    > reference on the language. As you can imagine, the book's
    > inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the first few
    > chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
    > of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad)
    > impression that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming,
    > book.


    Good, you've got the correct impression. You could see if it works
    better as fuel for a fire than it does as a C text book.

    > I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I
    > don't want another introduction to the language - I've gone through
    > that already. And I want something readable, not some sort of C
    > encyclopedia. My searches narrowed down possible candidates to these
    > books:


    <snip>

    > - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will
    > buy sooner or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more
    > detailed. I know it's still the best - but extracting informations
    > from it may not always be easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a
    > complete reference.


    <snip>

    I don't know the other books you mention, but I've found K&R2 easy to
    read, although I had been developing SW proffesionally for a few years
    before learning C. I believe some around here learnt to program from
    K&R2. So, if I was you I would get K&R2 now even if you also get
    something else.

    > If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper
    > of these books: because of their prices, I want them to last one
    > decade, not one year.


    My copy of K&R2 is old and a bit tatty. If it becomes unusable I'll
    happily buy a new copy.

    > To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise
    > and conforming to the ANSI standard.


    There are some errors in K&R2, but the errata is available on line. It
    is close to complete and I believe the ommissions are minor.

    > If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone
    > can help me. Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three
    > possible choices are not adequate.


    The only C book I have ever owned is K&R2. There are some other good
    works, but they can be hard to find amongst the rubbish.
    --
    Flash Gordon
    Living in interesting times.
    Although my email address says spam, it is real and I read it.
    Flash Gordon, Nov 27, 2004
    #3
  4. Guido Mureddu

    fb Guest

    Guido Mureddu wrote:

    > Hello,
    >

    Hi

    > I'm a student in electronic engineering. I do know you've seen and answered this
    > sort of topic/request countless times, but I haven't found past threads as
    > helpful as I had hoped, and even though I have read them all and many reviews, I
    > prefer to ask directly to people who know the subject better than anyone else.
    >
    > First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
    > introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.
    > Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much greater
    > detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us choice
    > between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book
    > on C" by Kelley/Pohl.
    > I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have found
    > a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language. As you can
    > imagine, the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the
    > first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
    > of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad) impression
    > that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.
    >


    Afraid so...It's not that Schildt is a bad writer, it's just that he's
    ummm...Wrong and won't admit it...and a touch pious.

    > I want a better book - one that I can rely on. At the same time, I don't want
    > another introduction to the language - I've gone through that already. And I
    > want something readable, not some sort of C encyclopedia. My searches narrowed
    > down possible candidates to these books:
    >
    > - "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by many, but is
    > it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is that it might be a little
    > too oriented towards the beginner.
    >
    > - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
    > or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know
    > it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
    > easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.
    >


    When using C, this is a must.

    > - "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my studies?
    > Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it readable
    > by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it be read
    > almost cover to cover?
    >


    I don't mind this book, though I don't know if I could recommend it as a
    still learning the language type of book...But if you have the money,
    pick it up.

    > If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of these
    > books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one year.
    >


    Depends on use.

    > To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
    > conforming to the ANSI standard.
    >
    > If you've actually read through all this, thank you. I hope someone can help me.
    > Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices are
    > not adequate.


    Though I have not read the C version of Dietel and Deitels "C: How to
    program" I have heard some good things about it. The C++ version has
    some excellent examples for the student and is often used as a textbook.
    If we assume the C version is similiar, it should be a fairly good book.

    Years ago I read a Book called "C primer plus". I had a very good
    learning experience with this book.

    Finally, "C Programming: A Modern Approach" I've heard is also quite
    good. Take your pick.

    Bye!
    fb, Nov 27, 2004
    #4

  5. > "fb"
    > >Guido Mureddu wrote:

    [snipped all to heck to highlight a point]

    > > between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and

    "A Book

    > Afraid so...It's not that Schildt is a bad writer, it's just that he's
    > ummm...Wrong and won't admit it...and a touch pious.


    > > - "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my

    studies?

    I was in mortal danger of confusing H S with H & S on my next text purchase.
    thanks MPJ
    Merrill & Michele, Nov 28, 2004
    #5
  6. Guido Mureddu <> writes:

    > I'm a student in electronic engineering.


    As a reference point: I was in your shoes 15 years ago. I'm now
    working on C cross-compiler development for embedded systems (I get to
    define undefined behaviour :).

    > I want a better book - one that I can rely on. [...] My searches
    > narrowed down possible candidates to these books:


    > - "A Book on C", by Kelley & Pohl. This seems to be recommended by
    > many, but is it good as a detailed reference? My general feeling is
    > that it might be a little too oriented towards the beginner.


    This was the required text for my first C class. I think I agree that
    it's targeted to the beginner. I don't have it any more.

    > - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will
    > buy sooner or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something
    > more detailed. I know it's still the best - but extracting
    > informations from it may not always be easy. Also I'm not sure about
    > its value as a complete reference.


    I bought this at the same time as the previous one; it lives with me.
    I find it easy to use and valuable as a reference - get some Post-It
    notes to mark sections you need regularly, and the index is great.

    The current printing is a bit fatter, I seem to recall.

    > - "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for
    > my studies?


    Your lecturer doesn't think so.

    I can't offer a personal opinion on H&S (never read it) but I've heard
    it's comparable to K&R with deeper discussion of hows and whys.


    > If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper
    > of these books: because of their prices, I want them to last one
    > decade, not one year.


    My K&R2 (the first printing, without the red "ANSI C" marking, but
    with the black diagonal "Based on Draft-Proposed ANSI C") is in pretty
    good condition for a paperback text that's been regularly consulted
    for 15 years. The edges of the reference section pages in the back
    are a bit discoloured, but otherwise it's still fine. Prentice-Hall
    seem to do a decent job with textbooks.

    Sitting inside the front cover is a printout of Dan Pop's posting from
    1996 containing Dennis Ritchie's Dec 1994 list of errata - Google has
    it, Message-ID <>.

    mlp
    Mark L Pappin, Nov 28, 2004
    #6
  7. Guido Mureddu

    jjr2004a Guest

    > - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
    > or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I know
    > it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
    > easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.
    >

    Any C programmer needs to read this book.

    When I first wanted to learn C in depth the Kochan & Wood books (it was a
    series) were excellent. Some of the info was not available anywhere else.
    The books are old, some have been updated, some are out of print, some are
    available on their website (just google them). I comment on three below.

    They have a "Programming in C" which I never read since I was already past the
    stage of learning the basics of the language. It seems to been updated and
    is in print.

    "Topics in C Programming" was invaluable for details that are left out of most
    books. For instance, what ALL the flags for printf are and mean. I think this
    is out of print.

    The real eye-opener is "Advanced C Tip and Techniques". This has alot of great
    stuff but the two chapters on advanced pointer use and sequence guarantee
    points is worth the price alone. I don't think this has been updated but it
    looks like it's available in PDF format.
    jjr2004a, Nov 28, 2004
    #7
  8. "jjr2004a" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > > - "The C Programming Language", well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy

    sooner
    > > or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed. I

    know
    > > it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always

    be
    > > easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.
    > >

    > Any C programmer needs to read this book.
    >
    > When I first wanted to learn C in depth the Kochan & Wood books (it was a
    > series) were excellent. Some of the info was not available anywhere else.
    > The books are old, some have been updated, some are out of print, some are
    > available on their website (just google them). I comment on three below.
    >
    > They have a "Programming in C" which I never read since I was already past

    the
    > stage of learning the basics of the language. It seems to been updated

    and
    > is in print.
    >
    > "Topics in C Programming" was invaluable for details that are left out of

    most
    > books. For instance, what ALL the flags for printf are and mean. I think

    this
    > is out of print.
    >
    > The real eye-opener is "Advanced C Tip and Techniques". This has alot of

    great
    > stuff but the two chapters on advanced pointer use and sequence guarantee
    > points is worth the price alone. I don't think this has been updated but

    it
    > looks like it's available in PDF format.


    Would you buy ACTaT before H & S ? MPJ

    -------
    ..pdf is workproduct
    Merrill & Michele, Nov 29, 2004
    #8
  9. Guido Mureddu

    jjr2004a Guest

    >
    > Would you buy ACTaT before H & S ? MPJ
    >

    I'm not familiar with the H & S book but I just looked at the table of
    contents online. It seems to cover ALL of the C syntax and libraries and
    looks like an good reference.

    Advanced C Tips and Techniques looks like it covers some things that aren't in
    the H & S book. But that's because it covers a few techniques in depth and
    does not try to be a refernece manual. It's aimed at intermediate to advanced
    programmers.

    Buy both.
    jjr2004a, Nov 29, 2004
    #9
  10. "jjr2004a" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > >
    > > Would you buy ACTaT before H & S ? MPJ
    > >

    > I'm not familiar with the H & S book but I just looked at the table of
    > contents online. It seems to cover ALL of the C syntax and libraries and
    > looks like an good reference.
    >
    > Advanced C Tips and Techniques looks like it covers some things that

    aren't in
    > the H & S book. But that's because it covers a few techniques in depth

    and
    > does not try to be a refernece manual. It's aimed at intermediate to

    advanced
    > programmers.
    >
    > Buy both.


    I'll take that as a direct order. MPJ
    Merrill & Michele, Nov 29, 2004
    #10
  11. Thanks to everyone who helped me out with this. :)

    I've ordered my copy of K&R2, which seems to be the best choice and recommended
    by many. Maybe I'll buy the H & S tome later. Other books like "C Unleashed" and
    the Kochan books also look interesting, but I won't consider getting them before
    I've got some more experience/skill in the language.

    bye,

    - Guido Mureddu
    Guido Mureddu, Dec 1, 2004
    #11
  12. On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 23:56:39 +0000, fb wrote:

    > Finally, "C Programming: A Modern Approach" I've heard is also quite
    > good. Take your pick.


    I'll second this. "C Programming: A Modern Approach" is a great book and
    is very easy reading. Highly recommended.

    --
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Craig Maloney () http://decafbad.net
    Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world
    owes you nothing. It was here first. -- Mark Twain
    Craig Maloney, Dec 2, 2004
    #12
  13. Guido Mureddu

    Randy Howard Guest

    In article <Pine.WNT.4.58.0411271951370.-745469@guido>,
    says...
    > First of all, I'm not new to programming, and I have already had an
    > introductory course on C. I have an "intermediate C" course this semester.


    Odds are your professor didn't teach you portable, ANSI/ISO C. The
    curriculum, in all likelihood, contained a lot of "wives tales" with
    respect to C, so simply subscribing to this newsgroup and following
    many of the threads until they invariably diverge into OT rants is
    highly recommended.

    > Whatever "intermediate C" means, I intend to learn the language in much greater
    > detail than I did with the introductory course. The professor gave us choice
    > between two books: "C: The Complete Reference" by Herbert Schildt, and "A Book
    > on C" by Kelley/Pohl.


    The fact that the professor had Schildt as a book choice sort of proves
    that you likely suffered badly at the hands of this "course" with respect
    to learning proper C.

    > I have Schildt's. I started reading through it page by page, happy to have found
    > a deep and detailed - but readable - reference on the language.


    Sadly, it's badly flawed. Schildt is universally reviled as the least
    accurate, most prone to stupidity author extant in the field of
    programming texts. Your best option would be to use it to start a
    fire.

    > the book's inconsistencies started to make me suspicious after the
    > first few chapters. I searched here for threads about the book, and found a lot
    > of bashing and general dislike of the book, which confirmed my (sad) impression
    > that I was reading a very enjoyable, but misinforming, book.


    Bingo.

    > - "The C Programming Language, well, K&R2. Definitely a book I will buy sooner
    > or later, but I feel that right now I'd like something more detailed.


    Mistake. You should have bought it first, it should have been used in the
    class.

    > I know
    > it's still the best - but extracting informations from it may not always be
    > easy. Also I'm not sure about its value as a complete reference.


    Do you realize who the authors are, and their relationship to the title?

    > - "C: A Reference Manual" by Harbison & Steele. Do I need this for my studies?
    > Is it actually useful for learning, or is it only a reference? Is it readable
    > by someone who only knows the basics of the language? In general, can it be read
    > almost cover to cover?


    Yes, yes, no, yes and yes. Every serious C programmer should have a copy of
    it.

    > If possible, I'd like to know about the quality of the binding/paper of these
    > books: because of their prices, I want them to last one decade, not one year.


    Go down to Walmart or a suitable equivalent and buy a roll of clear transparent
    shelf paper and use it to cover the book like the old paper book covers you had
    when you were a kid in school. The book will last practically forever
    afterward.

    > To put it simply: I want a book like Schildt's, but correct, precise and
    > conforming to the ANSI standard.


    You do NOT want a book like Schildt's. You want a book the opposite
    of Schildt's, in other words, one that is factually correct.

    > Feel free to recommend another book if you think my three possible choices are
    > not adequate.


    Steve Summit's C FAQ, either in book form or online is required reading.

    Expert C Programming is very interesting, particularly if you do UNIX/Linux
    at all, but definitely not a "tutorial".

    Again, reading this newsgroup and paying careful attention to the various
    threads is probably the best textbok you can hope for.


    --
    Randy Howard (2reply remove FOOBAR)
    "For some reason most people seem to be born without the part
    of the brain that understands pointers." -- Joel Spolsky
    Randy Howard, Dec 5, 2004
    #13
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