The C Programming Language (2nd Edition) Paperback – 22 Mar 1988
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Just about every C programmer I respect learned C from this book. Unlike many of the 1,000 page doorstops stuffed with CD-ROMs that have become popular, this volume is concise and powerful (if somewhat dangerous)--like C itself. And it was written by Kernighan himself. Need we say more? --Amazon.com
From the Back Cover
This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It is the definitive reference guide, now in a second edition. Although the first edition was written in 1978, it continues to be a worldwide best-seller. This second edition brings the classic original up to date to include the ANSI standard.
From the Preface:
We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.
As we said in the first preface to the first edition, C "wears well as one's experience with it grows." With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you to learn C and use it well.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I learned C from this book, and I have to agree with the authors that cite it--it's a good book. I have yet to see its equal for brevity, elegance, and completeness in teaching C programming. If you are a programmer who wants to learn C, then ignore the rest and read the best.
One warning though--this is not a book for beginners. As Kernighan and Ritchie say in the preface: "The book is not an introductory programming manual; it assumes some familiarity with basic programming concepts like variables, assignment statements, loops, and functions. Nonetheless, a novice programmer should be able to read along and pick up the language, although access to a more knowledgeable colleague will help." If you are a complete novice, heed their warning. If you don't have access to a more knowledgeable colleague, you will probably be better off selecting an easier book.
This book is affectionately known as 'K & R', after the names of the authors, and it is almost definitely the most widely respected of all books on any given programming language.
This is the book that introduced the 'Hello World!' program to the world :-), which is now practically a standard first program in any introductory book on any programming language.
This is straight from the creators, and the implied authority, while an excellent reason in itself for taking a look at the book, pales in comparison to its other merits - brevity & clarity being foremost.
This book is best appreciated if you already have some programming background - i say this from experience, since i knew Fortran 77 & Pascal before i learnt C, and the knowledge of Pascal, in particular,made it much easier for me to pick up C than classmates for whom it was the first programming language.
Of course, if you're new to programming, you could still try learning from this, but it might be a bit of a struggle. If so, the books by Kelley & Pohl, K.N.King or Gottfried(Schaum series) may be useful for 'getting upto speed' with C first, and then coming to K & R.
C is the one language which is both 'high level' and 'low level' at the same time - to date, it is the nearest to the ideal of a programming language that is easy enough in description to be followed by human readers, and at the same time close enough to the machine's language to be executed fast.There are faster languages, to be sure - assembly language is necessarily faster than any high level language. But just try coding a reasonably involved program in assembly, or even reading such an effort !Read more ›
The book is expensive ($40) for its size (approx. 250pgs.), but it is worth every penny. To quote the authors: "C is not a big language, and it is not served well by a big book."
As a bonus, almost anything you need to know about C can be found in seconds using the excellent index. It should be noted that this is a language reference and will NOT tell you how to use your editing environment or compiler.
In summary, intermediate or advanced programmers should be able to learn C with reasonable proficiency in a short amount of time.
* tell you how to design programs;
* tell you how to write concise, clear code;
* give you any detailed discussion on algorithms;
* tell you how to write C code that does job X (unless you particularly want a reverse Polish logic calculator).
It will however give you a thorough understanding of the C language and it's possibilities.
In terms of structure there's an introductory chapter which gets you started with "Hello, world!" and then a chapter for each major chunk of the language with some exercises at the end of each chapter. The exercises give you practice in using those aspects of the language you've been reading about. (Incidentally if you work through all the exercises properly not only will you have a very good understanding of the language you'll also end up with a very useful code library.)
Because the authors chose to focus on the language and weren't distracted from that, the book's style is concise but never at the expense of clarity (something everyone who's reviewed the book so far has remarked on). What you tend to get therefore is a description of a language feature (structures, say), a code fragment or two to illustrate the point and then a lengthier example to show how the feature could be used in a more extensive program.
The book's was a joy to read, is a pleasure to go back to and a relief to carry.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Almost 30 years after publication, this is still the number one tutorial book on C. What other technology book can claim to still be relevant after 30 years? Read morePublished 5 days ago by David Deprost
I was handed this book (ok - then I had to get my mother to pay for it) back in 1981 when I was first exposed to UNIX and computers in my one-of-a-kind high school in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jonathan Payne
I first used this book in 1988 and never looked back. Best 'C' book ever.Published 4 months ago by RichardL
Purchase replacement as I lost the first. It's a book by the creator of the C language and, therefore, a must. Personal opinion. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Cameron
It contains mainly the basics and it starts from scratch so I would not recommend it for someone looking for something advanced. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Georgios
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