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4.3 out of 5 stars32
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2009
When I wanted to add graphics to my programs back in the day, Microsoft made it easy with a great library for C on MSDOS. Then Windows came along and Microsoft added obfuscation rather than explanation, with nonsense such as "message maps" and Class Wizards. Being one (or more) steps removed from a real understanding of how to drive Windows didn't do it for me. Then I found this book - forget your "Learn <nothing> in 24 hours" series, "<miss the point> for Dummies" or a plethora of self-proclaimed "experts" filling reams of dead trees with dead wood. Here is a genuine Software Engineer who writes clearly, authoritatively, accurately - in fact just brilliantly about the REAL engine of Windows. The text is backed up by an arsenal of working, well-written and meaningful code that finally lets the frustrated illustrator (me in this case) see his world graphically rather than as endless lists of numbers (DSP is my thing). Back up your knowledge of the Windows API with MSDN on-line and a copy of Jeffrey Richter's "Advanced Windows NT" (still current in these days of Vista and 7) and maybe a decent graphics library (I recommend Quinn-Curtis' legacy library for C) and you will be back in control of your view of the world from a PC.
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on 28 August 2003
But Programming the Windows API independently it is not. First of all the writer barely mentions explanations to certain aspects of the code and then talks about simple things for ages. For instance he does not tell you how to make a Dialog Box without using a *.rc file that appears in Visual C++. So Borland C++ users (such as me) and left short of what to do since all of the code over the internet is Visual C++ based only.
However, at the end of the day this IS the best book for the Windows API. The examples that come along with the code do actually work, and everything is explained simply to the reader.
5/5 stars if you are using Visual C++, but if you using Borland C++, be very, very wary.
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on 17 September 2010
If you want to learn how to program for Windows, then this is the book to buy! At the time that I am writing this review I have already read the entire book and, even though I can't say I master every concept that was presented, I can honestly state that I feel like I learned much more than I ever planed when I first bought this book. The best thing about the book is the fact that every chapter comes with example programs that actually work ( very rare these days ) and the entire code is shown in the book, so that you can easily follow on with the explanations. The author's style is clear and he doesn't use formalities of all sorts, instead, he even throws a joke now and then to make things easier, which I belive it's very cool. In spite of what other reviewers say, the explanations are very clear, and very little is left out, and that only happens when those things are simple to understand or logical in some way. The only time I did feel like using the Internet for additional information was in the Advanced Topics section of the book ( at the end ), where the author uses some constants or functions which he leaves unexplained. But to be honest, I don't think that would have been necessary, since nobody can remember all that info ( function names, constants etc ) unless they start writing some code and use those concepts as often as they can.

The CD includes all the programs demonstrated in the book plus an electronic version of the book.

So, to conclude, buy it, study it carefully ( don't rush into things - it takes time to understand some concepts ) and... Happy coding!
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on 7 November 2002
This is quite a good book. Though Petzold devotes quite a chunk of space to Unicode which is really only of use if you are programming for NT and he glosses over common controls in one sentence, it is non the less an excellent introduction to programming for Windoze in C.
Previously I had bought Herbert Schildts book, Windows 98 programming which glossed over some of the subjects that Petzold covers in more detail. However, Schildt does cover common controls very well. I discovered that with both Schildts and Petzolds book on Windows I had all the information I needed to write Windows applications.
That said, if you are not fluent in C you will find both of these books hard going and I would recommend that newcomers learn C in a character mode environment such as DOS before attempting to program in Windows.
Worth the money? I'd say yes, buy both books.
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on 27 March 2010
The book is excellent in what it does : cover windows api from 95 onwards to NT. However it lacks updates for the windows XP or later minor changes. However the essentials here are still very relevant. Win32 API has not changed much and is still relevant in the days of managed C# if timing is critical to your application.
Maybe it needs an update to more closely tie modern libraries such as WPF and Forms with the underlying windows API.
I was expecting maybe a little more detail about the messaging infrastructure of windows api.
Overall this is an good book if you would like to tweak pre-existing UI and mix it with newer technologies.

Dr. S Marvasti
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on 17 April 2012
This book (the 5th edition) was published in 1999 when the latest Microsoft offering was windows 98 and NT. I have not been able to find a sixth edition anywhere.
It covers the 32 bit operating system but not of course the 64.

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) was introduced by Microsoft in Windows 98 but there is no mention of it in this book.
However there is a large amount of material which is still relevant to current Windows systems.

The book is huge, having some 1479 pages and a CD. It is aimed at programmers who want to write programs to run under windows and has lots of examples and sample code on the CD.
It uses the Visual C++ programming language for all the examples I have looked at.

More of a reference book than a bedtime read but second hand, it was very good value.
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on 16 July 2012
For sure Petzold's book contains a lot of useful stuff, but the indexing in both the electronic version on the CD and the paper copy are absolutely dire, with the electronic one being by far the worst. Fine if you want to read from start to finish and learn everything by heart or create your own index. This book is all about the cryptic language which is the basis of windows. But just try to find a syntax description of something like the "Ellipse" function in the book. Plenty of entries in the index, but which is the one that details the syntax? The program listings do not belong in the paper version, which serves to make the book ten times fatter than it needs to be.
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on 24 June 2015
Given the book and hence the material within is now some 17 years old you would be forgiven for thinking it's way past it's sell by date...but you'd be wrong. Much of this is still very relevant today. In any case armed with the formidable arsenal of Google and Microsoft developers network(MSDN) as back up...this books a must for anyone looking to expand their programming knowledge to encompass windows programming with the API. One caveat, you really should know a fair bit about C or C++ coding before entertaining this. One other thing, I have this in hardback and now in Kindle as, at 1435 pages, you'll need biceps like schwarzenneger to read this in bed !
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on 7 September 2006
this book is one of the best that i have purchsed, it descusses everything there is about programming windows and how the C++ programming language runs applications. it covers everything from the mouse, windows, threading to the internet, and how to programme it. it has lots of good examples, and i would reccomend this to and programmer starting out with c++. even those that have a few years experiance its still a very good referance gude adn will still teach you a thing or two.
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on 25 June 1999
I would reference this book as the "bible" of win32 programming. This book covers many features of the Windows 95/98/NT features including printing, MDI, Mouse, Keyboard, and all the goodies.
This book sits upon my desk as the #1 reference when writing win32 code (without MFC). If your new to programming and are thinking about MFC I would consider starting with this non-object oriented approach so you understand what MFC is doing behind all the objects.
Easy reading (compared to other programming books) and a great deal of learning can be done.
To 4th edition "Programming Windows 95" owners:
1. If you want to use ToolBar's you better hold on to the last revision because it's missing in this one. I was very unhappy about that.
2. It's huge! If you thought carrying that last book was an issue, add a hard cover and a ton more pages and you've better start working out before carrying this around.
3. More usage of UNICODE and "NT" style information that is repeated in each code segment so be prepared.
It's a revision, and it's good. It's the best out there right now, but will not solve every problem you'll have.
Note: If you like object oriented, and uses of all the enhanced features of C++ you're not going to find it here.
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