Teach Yourself C++: On The Spot Answers (with CD-ROM)
||Author: Al Stevens|
List Price: $29.99
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Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (16 May, 2000)
Sales Rank: 206,140
Average Customer Rating: 2.97 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 2 out of 5
First of all, I do have a limited knowlege of programing. I spent last summer interning for a computational physicist, and I had to learn to write Pearl scripts. However, this is the sum total of my programing experience before buying this book.
I started out reading in good faith believing everything the author said. I installed the Windows based C++ compiler and text editor. I then worked through the first 100 out of ~700 pages.
The program comes with all the code written on the disk. All you have to do is open the file and compile. However, nearly every file that I opened up was a little different than the way the author wrote it in the book. When I tried to copy what was in the book, the code would not compile. It seems as if the author either used another compiler that works with his method, or he typed the programs in the book. Then when it came time to make files for the software, someone realized that none of it compiled and so fixed the code.
Also, none of the programs return a value in the first 100 pages or so. You have to use the software's step function to see anything happening unless you have a computer old enough to still have DOS. I got tired of using this and so tried to write the code from a shell in Linux. Lo-and-behold, I have not found a single example program that compiles in Linux. I even skipped and picked about a dozen examples at random from later chapters. NONE of them compiled in Linux. (BTW this book is only for Windows users)
I've since googled C++ help and found thousands of helpful files. I now see the author's mistakes. They are plentiful, but not huge. They are mainly missing braces or semi-colons. I think the lib calls and what nots are ok; it's just very sloppily written.
Overall, this book is just fine for a beginer to understand, BUT I don't recommend it because of all the mistakes. The writing helped me understand how C++ works, but the programs are awful.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Very good first book to learn C++ for experienced programmer
I am actually not very experienced as a programmer, and just start to learn C++. I started with Stroustrup's C++ Programming Language, which is called the "Bible", but I got bored and lost all the time, it's really dry writing. So I was looking for some alternative, and found this book. I would say it explained C++ in a decent way, and it has a pretty good coverage. I admit that if you don't have any programming experience, it might be a bit difficult to follow some of the concepts. On the other hand, C++ is a complex language, this book illustrates some of the hard topics in a good manner and deepth. If you are new to C++, yet have some experience in programming and computer systems, this may be a very good book for you to start. In addition to that, once you finish this book, Stroustrup's is still a must read if you want to be a real C++ programmer.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Good way to learn C++ quickly
If you've never done any programming before, this book probably isn't the best place to start. But if you even a basic knowledge of some other language (like maybe you dabbled in QBASIC, and have a basic knowledge of entry level programming concepts), than this book is a good way for you to learn C++ quickly. Al Stevens explains concepts in an easy to understand manner using short, concise examples. However, there are two reasons I can't quite give this book five stars.
The first is the source code formatting in the code listings. The use of whitespace could be a lot better. For example, there are no blank lines seperating variable declarations, conditional blocks, or loop blocks from the rest of the code. So seeing the different blocks of code is not always obvious. I'm not sure if this was done to save space on the pages or what, but it does make for some code that could be a lot more readable with the addition of some blank lines.
The second, is that there are some glaring oversights in some of the code samples, and even in some of the text. For example, program 4-3 passes an integer variable to the pow function of the standard C math library. The text to go along with this program states that because the compiler will automatically promote variables to the type needed by the function, that we can pass an integer to the function, even though it expects a double... Well, yes and no. And in this case, it doesn't work. Because the pow function is overloaded, so the compiler doesn't know whether to promote the integer to a float, a double, or a long double. So to compile program 4-3, you need to provide an explicit cast to convert the integer to a double. But the text doesn't mention anything about this, and it's not in the source code either, so the compiler bombs on this program. This is a pretty basic oversight from a programmer as experienced as Al Stevens.
Other than those two complaints, this book is well written, and serves its intended purpose quite well. The book strikes a happy middle ground between assuming a great deal of programming knowledge on the part of the reader, and thus being too complicated for many readers, and assuming no programming knowledge on the part of the reader, and thus boring those who dabbled with QBASIC a few years ago by going over very basic concepts. I would recommened it to anyone who has a basic familiarity with any programming language, and who wants to learn C++.
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