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Expert C Programming [Paperback]

Peter van der Linden
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: £27.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 Jun 1994 0131774298 978-0131774292 1

For software engineers and computer programmers who are writing, developing, testing, debugging software on either IBM PCs or Unix systems.

Written for experienced C programmers who want to quickly pick up some of the insights and techniques of experts and master the fine arts of ANSI C, this volume passes on the wisdom of a highly experienced C compiler writer and his colleagues to help programmers reach new heights, and avoid common software pitfalls along the way. Using an original approach and a humorous style that makes deep knowledge both easy and accessible, it gathers into one place, tips, hints, shortcuts, guidelines, ideas, idioms, heuristics, tools, anecdotes, C folklore, and techniques that are often penciled in margins and on backs of papers by those working in the programming trenches—working on many different kinds of projects, over many, many years.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (14 Jun 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131774298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131774292
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 18.9 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Defying the stereotypical notion that technical books tend to be boring, Expert C Programming offers a lively and often humorous look at many aspects of C--from how memory is laid out to the details of pointers and arrays. The author reveals his points through invaluable anecdotes, such as stories of costly bugs, and through folklore, such as the contents of Donald Knuth's first publication. Each chapter ends with a section entitled "Some Light Relief," which discusses topics (topics that some may consider to be "recreational"), such as programming contests. A fabulous appendix on job interview questions finishes the book. --Jake Bond

From the Back Cover

This is a very different book on the C language! In an easy, conversational style, Peter van der Linden, of Sun's compiler and OS kernel group, presents dozens of astonishing examples drawn from practical experience, including:

  • Software that blew up the space probe to Venus
  • The C bug that shut down the entire AT&T phone system
  • C programmer job interview secrets
  • Why programmers can't tell Halloween from Christmas day
  • The C code for a complete BASIC interpreter

Expert C Programming reveals the coding techniques used by the best C programmers. It relates C to other languages, and includes an introduction to C++ that can be understood by an programmer without weeks of mind-bending study. Covering both the IBM PC and UNIX systems, it is an entertaining and educational romp through C showing how experts really use it. Expert C Programming is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about the implementation, practical use, and folklore of C.

"Not just clearly written, but fun to read. The tone and style of this text should make this a popular book with professional programmers. However, the tone of this book will make it very popular with undergraduates. Appendix A alone would make the purchase of this book a must. It's filled with great advice."

—Professor Jack Beidler, Chairman, Department of Computer Science, University of Scranton

"So that's why extern char *cp isn't the same as extern char cp. I knew that it didn't work despite their superficial equivalence, but I didn't know why. I also love the job interview test questions on C."

—David S. Platt, Rolling Thunder Computing

"In Expert C Programming, Peter van der Linden combines C language expertise and a subtle sense of humor to deliver a C programming book that stands out from the pack. In a genre too often known for windy, lifeless prose, van der Linden's crisp language, tongue-in-cheek attitude, and real-world examples engage and instruct."

—John Barry, author of Sunburst, Technobabble, and other books

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn from experience in the book. 21 July 1999
By A Customer
I wrote C for ten years eight hours a day. This book accumulates what I have learned over this time period and even had something new for me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended! 29 Mar 1999
By A Customer
I liked this book, especially the way he comes up with funny phrases you don't see coming. I've read several other programming books (Safer C, Writing Solid Code, No Bugs!, etc), but this is definitely one of the ones that is enjoyable to read. It adds a light humour to the serious, useful information he provides.
He goes into depth into the subjects of C declarations, memory, pointers, and arrays. He also explains some of the concepts behind the procedure activation record (used when calling a function), linking and compiling. He also challenges the reader with programming assignments to discover more, and provides programming advice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more guff 3 Aug 1998
By A Customer
The reader below might be surprised to learn that Expert C Programming was written several years before Java was thought of. Far from being a criticism of C designed to move readers to Java, Expert C is a tribute to the beauty of C, and makes no mention of Java whatsoever.
Honestly! The stuff I have to put up with!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly twenty years, and still valid. 4 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been coding C for many, many years, and didn't expect that a 20 year old book could give me much news. However, this book took my understanding to a new level. It's also full of humor and good stories, which makes it really entertaining to read. Thank you, Peter, for writing such a fantastic book.

Peter? What about a second edition which covers C99 and C11?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine supplment to a C programmer's library. 13 May 1997
By A Customer
There are those times when reading for enjoyment is merited. van der Linden's conversational style allied with the wealth of topics he covers makes this a fun read. Much of the legend, lore and myths of the C language are explored. K&R explain "how" and PvdL tells you "why" and sometimes "whodunit". The drawback to this book is the sometimes extreme Sun-centricity, not surprising considering the author's employment. He's also had to revise his previous condescending remarks about the need to fetch a key (without a newline), dismissing it as only applicable for "games programming."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a wonderful book for the apprentice C programmer. The title is a bit misleading suggesting that the book is just for the expert. Not so. The novice has just as much or more to gain from reading it. Confused by mind-bending declarations and prototypes? Still feeling a little queasy about some language features? Not quite ready for that 800 page tome on data structures? Check out this book. Its easy, humorous style makes it a pleasure to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make room next to K&R! 1 Jan 1997
By A Customer
Pvdl does an excellent job explaining a dry subject...and he
has a sense of humor! His detailed discussion of pointer v. arrays
and runtime memory management should be a "must read" for any programmer.
This book belongs with K&R and the Tartan-labs book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes a dry subject and makes it palatable. 25 Nov 2011
By jake
There are two reasons why you should buy this book.
1. You will learn something.
2. It will not kill you with boredom.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and funny
This is a great book, lots of funny and insightful tales of C and other languages. It seems rare that a technical book is both fun to read and technically insightful.
Published 3 months ago by Sean Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars Low quality print
I've just received the book, so no comments on the content, however the quality of the book itself is quite low. Read more
Published 15 months ago by D. Livingstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for beginning C programmers
I have been programming in C since I was a student, and I am familiar with most of the material treated in the book. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2011 by M.I.
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, fascinating and insightful! Wish I read it when I was...
I was looking for a programming book to read during my morning coffee breakfast (since I work from home, that lasts for around an hour. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2011 by Iggy
5.0 out of 5 stars Expert Your Life
Defying the stereotypical notion that technical books tend to be boring, Expert C Programming offers a lively and often humorous look at many aspects of C--from how memory is laid... Read more
Published on 20 Feb 2003 by "wo0wo0"
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned a lot; read it in one sitting!
I thought I knew C pretty well; this book cleaned up areas of C that gave me trouble, and now I know why. C programmers - listen to me---save trouble and read this book!
Published on 27 Jun 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, I learned a lot from it
This is a much needed intermediate guide to C. The style kept it readable, and the anecdotes were genuinely interesting (particularly the AT&T system crash). Read more
Published on 21 Jun 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Generally excellent, but marred by lots of typos
This book is an extremely valuable discussion of a variety of topics about the C language that are poorly described in other books, ranging from how to read complicated typedefs... Read more
Published on 18 Mar 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Intermediate Book on C
Bit expensive, but worth it. Gives you insight on topics you haven't thought of, in a clear manner. Read more
Published on 18 Mar 1999
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