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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
This book is not "for Dummies". It assumes that you already have some knowledge of structured programming languages (i.e. Pascal). For example, this book spends four well-written pages explaining everything you need to know about functions. If you don't know what a function is, this will clearly not be enough. However, if you do know about functions, this book will not drone on and on for an entire chapter or two on the subject like some of the foot-crunching tomes the size of an encyclopdia. 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. --By firstname.lastname@example.org on November 8, 1997 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I am rereading the book now because I just bought it for my daughter who just completed her first year of programming classes for college in the States using C++ (amazingly enough) but who will be learning C next year so she can "learn how computers actually work".
It's hard to overstate just how good this book is. It's written by computer scientists who also grok programming, by one of the creators of the language itself. It contains countless useful bits of information you can use as a reference the rest of your life. I used to interview supposed C programmers by asking them the simple question: "Do you know how to implement strcmp or strcpy" and if they had ever read this book, the answer would always be yes. And if you do know how those are implemented, you are well on your way to understanding how computers do what they do, how amazing it all is.
From 35+ years ago I can remember that from this book you will learn how strcmp works, how to write a simple memory allocator, how to implement printf, a beautifully simple implementation of quick sort, and how to write the stdio library, and many others. These things have all helped me be a better than average programmer with a lower average IQ than many of the people I have worked with in Silicon Valley over the years.
It is a beautiful example of concise, accurate writing.
And for me it also brings back incredibly fond memories of my high school years and the excitement that has continued ever since.
This is a good book if you're interested in C, and a great book if you combine that with a strong interest in Linux. Otherwise, you might look elsewhere for a more modern approach to C programming. You won't find much guidance in the way of developing large software projects in C, but playing around and implementing command line tools is all here.
If you want to be an expert I'd definitely recommend this book. This book also gives example programs and tutorials and explains every line it writes, but don't over explain it, as in they come back to some things later on in the book as not to distract from the main thing being taught at the point you are at. This book also tries not to do too much hand holding and gives you exercises to write programs for yourself and lets you figure out some stuff by yourself as it acknowledges that the best way to learn to program is to actually do it rather than just read about it. I haven't ran into any compatibility issues yet meaning that none of the things the books have taught me so far hasn't worked because of the age of the book, all the things I've learnt so far you are still able to apply when coding without running into errors when compiling and running, if you do they're usually minor and can be fixed with a quick google search but its rare when you do. Anyhow this book has a nice clear contents page and references to things like useful libraries and functions you can include when coding, so you can find the section relevant to you if you wish.
This book also has a lot of content to cover so you'll always be learning new things and getting better, it starts of with a nice tutorial introduction to ease you in. Other books I've read on C are usually very very basic and underwhelming and you end up already knowing like 90% of the things taught, whereas this book actually shows you everything. Although don't expect it to constantly hold your hand. If you have a drive for learning and you're determined to write programs this book is definitely for you if you're lazy and want a (Learn programming language in 24hrs or 7days) guide and shortcuts this isn't for you, neither is that even realistic.
I'm definitely gonna stick with this book!
I wish I'd never binned my original copy
Thank you so much.
I feel as though with my understanding of C I am making great leaps with my game development skills.