From the Inside Flap
This book was born of rage.
When I first tried to learn the C language in 1985, I could not find a book that made sense to me. I had been designing business systems and programming COBOL for more than 15 years. All the books on C that I found were "self-referential." That is to say, the authors had been writing C for so long that they had forgotten what it was like not to know it. I gave up after a few months. I was enraged that nobody had written a readable and useful book.
One day in 1988 my client, Rob Gillette, dropped 20 C programs on my desk and said, "Here, Jim, learn C and finish this subsystem." I went back to the bookstore and found the books to be a little better than three years before, but still not very good. I learned C, but it was a painful experience.
In 1991 I began working on business systems being developed in C. It was at this time I realized that I could write the book I had been looking for: C for COBOL Programmers.
C is just another language. Much of it works like COBOL, but with symbols instead of words. Parts of C have assumptions different from COBOL, and parts have rules different from COBOL. The purpose of this book is to use your knowledge of COBOL to teach you C. The book shows you where C works the same way as COBOL and shows you where it's different. It also focuses on the parts of C used most often in business systems.
C has some very nice features and some that are a real pain in the neck, just like COBOL.
Come on, jump in! The water's not that cold!
From the Back Cover
Written by an experienced business data systems designer and programmer, this new tutorial provides an ideal introduction to C for the COBOL programmer who wants to become proficient in the powerful C language. Featuring side-by-side comparisons of the syntax and constructs of the two languages, C for COBOL Programmers uses the reader's knowledge of COBOL to build a framework for learning C quickly and easily. The book introduces coded examples in C early, and in the context of a business environment. A complete chapter is devoted to explaining the important differences between COBOL and C for data handling and I/O, while another chapter focusses on C programming standards as applied to business data processing. A valuable appendix cross-references COBOL commands to C commands, operators, and functions.
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