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Practical C++ 307

jsight writes with his review of Rob McGregor's Practical C++, published by QUE. He writes "Some books attempt to do one thing really well, and others attempt a little of everything. This book is clearly an example of the latter, in full force. Weighing in at a hefty 900 pages, you would expect this book to be crammed with chapters and details on every aspect of the STL and basic C++. In the following review, I am going to cover where it succeeds in doing this, and where it fails." (This book has been out for a few years; what books would make more sense today for a C++ learner's library?)
Practical C++
author Rob McGregor
pages 900
publisher QUE
rating 7/10
reviewer Jess Sightler
ISBN 0789721449
summary Provides a practical guidebook to learning C++

Section I -- Programming 101

At first glance, the book appears to be written for people with experience programming, however reading through this section clearly dispels that myth. Here we have a section which goes over everything from for loops to if conditionals while simultaneously using verbose, duplicitous language at every step. Perhaps this was intended as a means of reinforcement, however, it seems most of the effort here would be wasted.

The technical depth is what you would expect for a novice, but without enough hand-holding and examples to make a novice feel comfortable. Making matters worse, there are numerous typos in this section, including quite a few in the examples (making them uncompilable without corrections). Some of these appear to be type-setting errors, however, there are enough to potentially confuse novice developers.

I believe that the combination of weak examples, and significant typographical errors are strong enough to give a novice much difficulty in learning the C++ language.

Having said that, the section should be provide no difficulty for any programmer with a good knowledge of any vaguely similar language (eg, Perl, Java, PHP, etc).

Section II -- Beyond the Basics

Ah, now we're getting down to Brass Tacks... this section goes over everything from Function overloading to Structure and Unions. The section on function members within structures also does an excellent job of preparing the reader for the upcoming introduction of Object Oriented concepts.

The sections on Memory management, both from an allocation standpoint, and from a bit manipulation standpoint are first-rate. Details are perhaps not as strong as they could have been, however the material is very accessible, and clearly described.

Probably my only complaint with this chapter is the overly general section on compiling and debugging programs. However, as this book does attempt to be somewhat compiler/debugger agnostic, this is forgivable. From here, we dive into the real power of C++, Object Orientation.

Section III

From the beginning, this book treats Objects as an extension of the structure syntax taught previously (with the default of Public switched to Private). This, along with the classic Plans vs. Product description of the difference between a Class and an Object are quite clear and robust.

Again, this is a solid chapter, describing the details of getting a system of classes up and running, as well as some sample data structure implementations.

And then finally, the last section is a slightly less than 200 page description of the STL. This section is probably the book's weakest part, as it is just strong enough to give you a taste of what is available, but often not strong enough to grasp the details. It's a good start, but much more attention should have been made to this subject (potentially even at the cost of some of the wasted words on how a 'for' loop works). It makes a decent introduction for someone with very limited STL background, however, there is not enough depth to reach a strong level of understanding here.


Overall, this is a solid book for an existing programmer to pick up C++ concepts. A programmer with a strong knowledge of an existing procedural language (such as C) would have no trouble digesting the concepts of this book. Having said that, the poor typographical issues, and verbose wording often muddle an otherwise good book.

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Practical C++

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  • Now THATS an oxymoron...

    Its the only language that ive had trouble getting

    cout "Hello World!";
    (or equivalent)

    to compile.
  • out of stock? (Score:5, Informative)

    by fjordboy ( 169716 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:26PM (#8317143) Homepage
    Contrary to what the article and link said, I don't think you can buy it (new) on However, it is available here at [] for 20.90 new or 9.00 used. Just fyi...
  • by jmv ( 93421 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:26PM (#8317149) Homepage
    It ends with }
  • 900 pages! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    He should've used a little of that practical C++ for compression.
  • Guilt (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:26PM (#8317158)
    Guilt free purchase link [].
    • Don't be so sure of that. Powell's is currently suspect of screwing their workers over in regards to health benefits. I grew up in Portland, so I would usually default to ordering from Powell's (Portland folk are pretty loyal to their hometown). A few months ago, during the height of the socal grocery strike (laughable mess that it is - I know, I live in San Diego and got to watch the whole thing unfold first-hand), I found an independent media website [] that claimed the same behavior was occuring at good
  • I concur (Score:5, Informative)

    by gregarican ( 694358 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:26PM (#8317159) Homepage
    This book has been in my reference shelf for awhile now. Some areas are emphasized more than others -- arrays more than vectors, structs more than classes -- but overall it's a good companion.

    In terms of going over bit manipulation, memory addresses, pointers, etc. it really goes into detail that I wouldn't expect for an entry-level reference. Then again it's so thorough it really isn't just an entry-level reference!

  • old!=obsolete (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RLiegh ( 247921 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:28PM (#8317185) Homepage Journal
    If you're talking about the specifics of a language to the point where the book you're reading is going to be obsolete after the next standards commitee meets--maybe you're reading the wrong book?

    However, if the book you're reading concentrates on the principlas, instead of the individual bits and pieces, age shouldn't matter.

    They still use the ritchie book after all, right?
    • Re:old!=obsolete (Score:3, Insightful)

      Though if it were written based on compiler implementations of the C++ standard it may be old and obsolete, or at the very least, simply incomplete.

      For example, using exceptions as error handling, and moving it away from the normal operation of the code, instead of having tons of if..else cases everywhere right next to meaningfull algorithms. exceptions seem to be a relatively recent addition to C++ compilers as far as standard compliant compilers go.
    • They still use the ritchie book after all, right?

      Hell, yeah! The K&R is by far the best C programming book available. If you want to learn and understand C, there's little else that you'll need (the "Mastering Algorithms in C" book plus a good amount of expirience writing your own programs certainly does help.)

  • Open Letter From Darl McBride:

    The code examples in this book are part of the intellectual property owned by SCO. You must pay $650.00 per code example to receive a license that allows you to use our IP. Send check or money order, no cash please.

    Thank You,

    Darl (Big D)
  • Best learner's C++? (Score:5, Informative)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:29PM (#8317207) Homepage Journal
    (This book has been out for a few years; what books would make more sense today for a C++ learner's library?)

    Best learner's C++ book has to be "Thinking in C++" by Bruce Eckel. I always touted his "Thinking in Java" as the premier book for the learning java developer, but his success started with TiC++. Best of all? Its available free electronically [] on his website (but I always went out and spent the $30 for the paperback version to support him).

    If you pick up the book, you'll understand the language just a little more. He writes the book just how you'd like to learn, not like some math book that blandly gives out information in a manner that puts you to sleep. You can thank me later after reading it ;-)
    • I always considered "Thinking in C++" to be an excellent book for experienced programmers. It's great for picking up C++ if you already know some other language(s). I wouldn't pick it for someone who was a complete neophyte.

      I bought "Thinking in Java" because I expected it to be the same type of thoughful, insightful reading. Boy was I wrong. That book was a total waste. It really seemed that he was concerned with teaching basic programming rather than pointing out the crucial minutae of the language. (Hel

      • I haven't read thinking in c++, so I can't comment on that. But I disagree with your assessment of thinking in java. There were some parts that taught basics as you mention (not just of programming, but also at length the basics of object-oriented design). However, once the basics were out of the way, the later sections explained features of the language extremely well. I definitely think the book is worth buying for these chapters. Rather than simply explaining what the language allows you to do, he explai
    • by Ed Avis ( 5917 )
      I found Stroustrup's book The C++ Programming Language to be quite good, at least if you already know some of the language. It's not quite a tutorial and not quite a reference manual but works nicely as a blend of both.
  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:29PM (#8317212)

    From the review:

    Here we have a section which goes over everything from for loops to if conditionals while simultaneously using verbose, duplicitous language at every step.

    Umm, you do know that duplicitous means "Given to or marked by deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech", right? Or did you mean redundant?

    (The quoted definition was provided by
    • Interesting. I read it to mean "simplified to the point where the author knowingly said things that weren't strictly true."

      A common trait of quicky introductions.

  • The one I used (Score:4, Informative)

    by proverbialcow ( 177020 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:31PM (#8317231) Journal
    My C++ class used "Object-Oriented Programming Using C++" by Ira Pohl. The language was easy to understand, and it was aimed at people who'd done some coding, though it was necessarily a prerequisite. He somehow managed to make the subject accessible to newbies without condescending. A great book for beginners, and since I don't use C++ on a day-to-day basis, I find myself picking it up now and again.
  • by ArmorFiend ( 151674 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:32PM (#8317240) Homepage Journal
    I am in the market for this type of book, however, the one I have my eye on is:

    The C++ Programming Language (Special 3rd Edition) []
    by Bjarne Stroustrup

    A reference is too hard too read, but this looks like it might be the right level - hopefully pretty steep, but with some language design chit-chat thrown in. What do others think of this book? (And what languages have you learned, a VB for dummies alum isn't going to give the same advice as Guy Steele)
    • I haven't personally read this one, but since the author is the originator of C++ I would think it would be the real deal. Personally I check out books from my public library system. That gives me some sort of a time-based goal to get through the thing before I have to return it. If I like the book and would like to keep it on hand as a reference I will scope out buying it.

      The pet peeve that bugs me the most (and this Practical C++ book is included) are typos in the source code. Beginning programmers must

      • I've actually found that typos can be helpful for the learning student. Sure, in the short term they'll pull their hair out, but in the long term, when they make similar typos, they know what to look for, and how to diagnose problems.

    • The Bjarne book is good. No doubt about that. It's a bit steep for someone with no previous exposure to OOP but it covers a lot of good stuff.

      If you want the design rationale and evolution then I can recommend "The Design and Evolution of C++", also written by Bjarne. It's very helpfull not only to know how the language works but also why it was put together that way.

    • I'm just learning C++, basically as an advanced beginner programmer (I already know Perl pretty well). I have Stroustrup's book, as well as one called "Data Structures and Other Objects Using C++" by Michael Main & Walter Savitch. Even for a beginner, Stroustrup's presentation is FAR superior to the one in Main & Savitch. The explanation of points is clear and there is some design chit-chat that doesn't distract much at all from whatever the section its in is really discussing. It's maybe a litt
    • Stroustrup Book (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Black-Man ( 198831 )
      It obviously is the bible... but I feel is more of a reference. I keep it on my bookshelf and use it often as a reference... there is no way you can sit down and read this like a text book. Way too dry.

      • Heh, you're talking to a guy that read Common Lisp The Language [] from cover to almost-cover. Yes, for a good 1.5 years I had no problem going to sleep, I'd just read about three pages and then fall asleep with the book on my chest. And after the 1.5 years, damn if I didn't know Common Lisp well. Every 300 pages or so he'd throw in a joke, usually about teenage mutant ninja turtles, just to see if you were still with him.
        • Jesus man. That's some intestinal fortitude! Myself, I went the easy way out and bought myself a copy of Graham's "ANSI Common Lisp." The man is quite a good writer, and the book is about 1/3 the size of CLTL.

          Of course, I'm wading through Norvig's PAIP now (got a nice deal on both together at Amazon). Now that's a book which isn't exactly an easy read...
      • It is a great reference. But it is also a good read. The last few chapters particularly give good reason why to do certain things and not do other things. Bjarne's insight is without a doubt worth every penny you spend on this book.

        And to address the grandparent post:
        If you can afford the special edition I recommend it, though I think the additions are available on his website if you get the 3rd edition instead.

        The papers and interviews on his website also have vast amounts of good C++ info. He is the def
    • This is _the_ book to have as a C++ programmer. Don't expect to use it for entry level C++ learning though. It's a reference book more than anything, although highly education for people more proficient in the language. I still look at it regularly and learn new things from it (yes, the language is huge and intricate).
    • Stroustrup, as you might know, was one of those who invented C++, so like K&R it's the standard work on the subject. I learned C++ just fine in the course of a week, starting with a solid C and Java background.
    • I have a copy, and I have to say its an excellent book. Its not for the totally green, but covers the language very throughly, and is much more readable than a reference. Hell, it makes a good reference, too, because of its completeness. This is especially true regarding some of the more obscure points of the template system, which many other authors tend to stay away from. It also gives a decent amount of rationale about the design and philosophy of the language, though if you want to get the full story ab
    • I like it as a learning book. Just for reference I learned C from K&R and Unix Network Programming by R. Stevens. So I like short and sweet. I can't read most language books because there's too much fluff. Stroustrup does a great job of communicating the language.
  • by jejones ( 115979 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:33PM (#8317247) Journal
    Overall, this is a solid book for an existing programmer to pick up C++ concepts.

    I'm not sure what books would be good for non-existing programmers.
  • C++ had its day (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mugnyte ( 203225 ) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:34PM (#8317258) Journal

    For many, this C derivative is still a daily living. Thats fine. It's powerful enough.

    These days, most people approach C++ as a way to "write fast code" or they desired to get to a lower level of the machine. Or, they know C and want to learn all about OO programming. NO harm there either, although I question all these motives.

    For the most part though, end-user applications have no need to run in C++. I know the typical exceptions are in gaming, image processing and system internals, but this is a small subset of commercial programming.

    I think elementary programming skills can be taught in C++ (i've done it), but you have to peel away so much of the language, one might as well start from C anyway, and then explain OO, and then combine the two. However, the ancestry of the syntax hangs newbies too often.

    These days, I think the same goals in being "practical" could be achieved with Java for the same (if not less) effort. Plus, one learns the concepts of Events, Interfaces and a more useful standard library.

    I've cranked out over 100K of C++ (haha, not hard to do with low-density langs) but in the end, I wish it would have been a longer-lived system. Many of our framework pieces are now part of the standard Java libraries, and we would have saved quite a bit of time.

    But I think it's time for new programmers to move on.
    • by dmeranda ( 120061 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:40PM (#8317969) Homepage
      I find that those who write off C++ really don't know the language, or at least the "modern" standardized language. C++ is incredibly powerful, and if you use solid OO techniques you really shouldn't have many issues with memory management. At least in C++ (as apposed to Java) the language guarantees that all destructors will be called and with well defined ordering. That allows you to use resource allocation patterns that greatly simplify memory manangement or resource issues entirely.

      Although you can compare pure Java with C++ as languages, it is meaningless to compare a Java framework/JDK such as J2EE with C++, as the former is an entire environment, not just the underlying language. There's lots of stuff that C++ does better than Java (generics/templates, destructors, high-performance containers, abstract algorithms). Not to mention that C++ is a completely standardized and *free* language, whereas Java is a fast moving pseudo non-free standard.

      Oh, and the syntax problems you complain about are not really all that different from Java, or even C#. Yes, they are each somewhat different and some have cleaner syntaxes for specific issues, but in the grand scheme of computer languages they are almost the same. And there are syntax problems with Java too which C++ doesn't suffer...they are both strongly based upon a C foundation, like C#, Javascript, etc.

      And yes, I've written very large C++ projects with many developers very successfully, and C++ has proven to be a very nice language indeed as long as you take the initial time to learn it correctly rather than out of a C++ for Dummy's tutorial.

      Now if you want to talk high-level languages (both Java and C++ are low-level of approximately the same power), then you should be talking about something like Python, or more academically Haskell. But Java is by no means a high level language, just as C++ is not.
      • I find that those who write off C++ really don't know the language, or at least the "modern" standardized language.

        Perhaps more significantly, I find that those who write off C++ because only a "small subset of commercial programming" can benefit from it don't know much about the world of commercial programming.

    • I do agree that C++ as an application programming language is nearing it's apex, but the VAST majority of application development is still done in C++.

      In certain discplines (handheld/cellphone development) it's an absolute neccesity. The other tools simply don't exist or lack the support needed to be truly useful.
    • Re:C++ had its day (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      Rule One: The closer you program to the "metal", the closer to the "metal" the language you use needs to be.

      Ever seen a workable kernel or device driver written in Java? Of course you haven't! You get down to the that level and you'll see C interspersed with assembly. Move up a step to low level system software and it's all C with a smattering of C++. You don't find mid to high level languages until you get to the application level. (I'm not counting high level interpreted languages performing remedial scr
      • Not really. By all accounts, Lisp-family languages are high-level, but various Lisp derivatives have been used to program OSs and drivers before.
    • For many, this C derivative is still a daily living. Thats fine. It's powerful enough.

      Funny how you use "C derivative" in a derogatory way. You can also call Java, C#, Python, PHP, and Objective-C "C derivatives" too. They all use the same syntax style.

      For the most part though, end-user applications have no need to run in C++. I know the typical exceptions are in gaming, image processing and system internals, but this is a small subset of commercial programming.

      We'll ignore the fact that the browser

  • by xiox ( 66483 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:35PM (#8317269) Homepage
    An excellent book is Accelerated C++ - Practical programming by example (Koenig & Moo). It only weighs in at 340 pages, but really helps the beginner to use things like the STL. It doesn't start off teaching basic C, but leaves pointers out until much later, and concentrates on using the STL data types.
    • I agree for the most part. It's reasonably small, very clearly written and it is one of the few that doesn't start by teaching C and then telling you to forget most of what you know when they switch to C++.

      The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is the stupid framing program in Chapter 1 and 2. I mean _come_ on_ writing a program to frame text output on an ASCII terminal? They should really be able to come up with a better example.
    • If you're interested in Accelerated C++, make sure you get a newer revision -- lots of errata in earlier copies:

      See [] for a listing.

      I just ordered this from hopefully their copy is newer!

    • After that, I recommend Alexanderscu's "Modern C++" followed by the good old D&E.
      • Interesting perspective. Both Accelerated C++ and Modern C++ Design are very good for their intended audiences, but I'd have recommended about five or six other books and several years of experience using C++ between one and the other!

      • "Modern C++ Design" is an absolute mind-bender. I don't know if I'll ever use some of that stuff - I find doing singletons the old-fashioned way works for me, quite frankly - but it sure has opened my mind. That typelist stuff - whew. And just when you thought you knew everything about smart pointers...

        What I've taken away from that book is the incredible power and elegance of policy-based design. Every working C++ programmer should understand it, I think.
  • practical? (Score:5, Funny)

    by beforewisdom ( 729725 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:41PM (#8317332)
    Any IT book that is over 900 pages should NOT have the word "Practical" in its title. IMHO


  • Next review, punchcards in a nutshell (It being an O'Reilly book will have a T-Rex on the cover) :-)

  • by prostoalex ( 308614 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:43PM (#8317352) Homepage Journal
    This book is available on Safari [] for subscribers. Cheapest subscriptions start at $10/month. If you're not a subscriber, you can still read the first few sentences of each chapter and section.
  • by 3Daemon ( 577902 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:45PM (#8317373)

    I just had to read up on C++. I'm no expert programmer, but having experience from C and Java (in addition to having learnt the basics of Object-Oriented methodology) I wanted a book that didn't try too hard to explain everything from the bottom.

    I found C++: The core language from O'Reilly incredibly useful in this respect. In its 200 pages, it might not cover every aspect of C++, but it will give you enough to go on so that you can start using the language. Being short and focused, it will give you a good understanding of the basics a lot faster than any larger book could, IMHO.

  • by afay ( 301708 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:49PM (#8317415)
    From this review, this book sounds horrible. I can't stand books that:

    1.) Don't have a clear target audience (from the review it sounds too easy and too little details for a programmer and yet too hard for a complete beginner)

    2.) Seem like the author was paid by the page. Really, even for a complete novice, a well written book can teach C++ in less than 300 pages.

    Conclusion: Don't buy this book.

    That said, I really like Accelerated C++ for a novice programmer. The authors obviously know their stuff and it's very clear and concise. Lot's of good (not pointless little toy programs) examples that are clearly explained. Also, an example is built throughout a chapter so you don't have to comprehend everything at once. Finally, and this is the best part, STL is used from the beginning. Why save the best part of C++ for the end?

    Amazon link: Accelerated C++ []
    • by devphil ( 51341 )

      The authors obviously know their stuff

      Most definitely... since they were part of the group that helped develop the language from the beginning. They work down the hall from Stroustrup, and they are brilliant, brilliant people.

      Koenig has done all kinds of work in almost every aspect of the language and the library (if you've ever wondered why your compiler isn't finding names correctly, that's because it isn't doing Koenig lookup properly), and Moo wrote one of the first "native code" C++ compilers e

  • by Chuchi ( 50607 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:53PM (#8317457) Homepage
    C++ Templates The Complete Guide by Vandevoorde and Josuttis (ISBN 0-201-73484-2, Addison-Wesley) is an absolute must for anybody wishing to use templates (or discover new areas where to use templates).

    The book talks about all the aspects of templates, has plenty of clear examples.

    Apart from this I would not suggest the Stroustrup book for learning C++, but it is excellent as a reference manual.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:56PM (#8317483) Homepage
    The above rant was copied from here. []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:57PM (#8317487)
    Isn't it time we start seeing reviews of books other than C/C++/Java/Perl/C#/HTML?

    I am a hard core C++ person myself, but even I am fed up with the series of similar books on these PLs.

    There are many other topics in programming that deserve better attention by the /. developer community. Examples from the top of my head:

    Books on

    - Code optimization techniques (both for C/C++ & assembly level and optimization for web programming and DB programming)

    - Algorithms and data structures - this one will never go away whatever high level garbage collecting foolproof language/framework you end up using.

    - Software design topics (design patterns and its relatives, UML, alternative paradigms such as extreme programming)

    - Software project management topics ...

    Come on people!
  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @01:58PM (#8317496)
    'Practical' and 'C++'...something's not right there. :)
    • Re:about the title (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pavon ( 30274 )
      Actually practicality is the only thing that C++ has going for it. It certainly is not the most elegant language, or the easiest to learn, or the fastest to write, or the least prone to programming errors. But it is powerfull and efficient, which is why it has been such a practical, popular language.
  • (This book has been out for a few years; what books would make more sense today for a C++ learner's library?)

    Teach Yourself Java in 21 days

  • Why do we need more books on Practical C++? The language itself is very practal and just about every intermediat book on the langauge emphasizes these aspects. What we really need is books that emphasize the practical aspects of languages that aren't used commonly in practice--- Practical Python, Practical Haskell, etc...
  • by Tekmage ( 17375 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:09PM (#8317605) Homepage

    My personal favorite is C++ for Game Programmers [].

    It's not a general-purpose book and not for the complete beginner, but it dives deeper into when and why to use different programming styles and structures.

  • by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @02:12PM (#8317628) Homepage Journal
    The Que book is littered with omissions and errors. If you want to learn C++, start with the free Bruce Eckel e-book Thinking in C++ [], then move on to the Meyers trio, the Sutter pair, Gang of Four, Dewhurst, Alexandrescu, then Agile Software Development, in that order.

    See Accu's booklist [], EfNet #c++'s book list [], or Yechiel Kimchi []'s list of bad books for opposing opinions.
  • ... having Stroustrup's "The C++ Programming Language" + Meyers' "Effective C++" and "Effective STL" on one's bookshelf? It doesn't sound like it's good for a novice. As I have the three books mentioned, why would I be interested in another 900 page tome of which the first section (novices) is irrelevant, and the third section (STL) is sub-standard, according to the review?
  • But where afraid to ask:

    "The C++ Programming Language" by Stroustrup

    "Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Design" by Meyers

    "More Effective C++: 35 New Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs" by Meyers

    "C++ Templates: The Complete Guide" by David Vandevoorde

      • "The C++ Programming Language" by Stroustrup
      • "Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Design" by Meyers
      • "More Effective C++: 35 New Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs" by Meyers
      • "C++ Templates: The Complete Guide" by David Vandevoorde

      Don't forget

      • "Effective STL: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of the Standard Template Library" by Meyers.

      Also, and this may just be me, I've found books by Deital & Deital to be very good references for many languages. They are layed

  • What is this mania for 900-page books on programming languages? The original ALGOL-60 report was 19 pages. The original Scheme report was about 25 pages. Both were far more readable than the bloated trade paperbacks we have today.

    We need short books that read like this:

    • Collection classes

      The standard template library (STL) provides useful collection classes. These make it easier to build common data structures. Arrays of variable size "vector"), lists ("list"), and key/value pairs ("map") are provi

    • All that verbiage just confuses people.

      I take your point, and I agree with it. However, I note that your own description also contains several significant technical errors, if only by omission in most cases. Complex and powerful tools require a certain level of detail to explain them, and while I certainly agree that you can go too far (and ~1,000 pages is probably some way too far here) you can also go too short (e.g., Accelerated C++, while generally very good, almost completely ignores exceptions). A

  • ...Windows source code as examples!
  • One I saw recently in a store near Albany NY was a really really cool book aimed at people who already knew how to program C++, but which provided tricks and tactics. It included (amongst other things) a whole section on how to implement a flat-file database including variable-length records, a section on caching data, another on resource management... All really juicy hardcore technical details that I'd never seen before in a C++ book - and done in a framework-less manner.

    I was out of town for a wedding,
  • by uncadonna ( 85026 ) <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @03:03PM (#8318204) Homepage Journal
    did the reviewer really mean duplicitous as in fraudulent, or did he just mean to say redundant?
  • As a relative noob at programming, I'd have to say that Accelerated C++ is the best C++ book I've seen, particularly in respect to OOP.

    It's a short 300-some pages, and isn't too inundating, while covering the topic properly: not from a non-OOP perspective.
  • Lippman/Lajoie "C++ Primer"

    Good overall intro to the language and supporting library (STL)

    Coplien "Advanced C++"

    A great "next level" book for intermediate C++ devs.
  • by frenchgates ( 531731 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @04:05PM (#8318941)
    Why do most of the books ignore the practical aspects of of C++ that end up wasting tons of programming time, especially for beginners? Primarily I'm talking about things like how to keep tons of #include files under control and debug problems with them in your own code or existing code you are using or evaluating. How to organize source code into various directories for use by multiple projects. When and how to create compiled libraries. How to make DLLs on different operating systems as opposed to applications. And on and on.

    There are a million books about how to program in c/c++, but how about how to get actual work done in c?

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor