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Programmer's Guide to NCurses [Paperback]

Dan Gookin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 20, 2007 0470107596 978-0470107591 1
Programming the console in UNIX?

Here's just what you need.

First, you'll get a no-nonsense tutorial guide to the nCurses version 5.5 library, taking you from basic to advanced functions step by step. Then you'll find an A-to-Z reference of more than 175 nCurses functions, cross-referenced and illustrated with examples. With this all-purpose nCurses reference, you?ll:

  • Learn techniques that can be used to program Linux®, FreeBSD®, Mac OS® X, or any other UNIX-based OS.
  • Program, control, and manipulate text on the terminal screen.
  • Control interactive I/O, organize content into windows on the screen, and use color to highlight text and organize information.
  • Use a mouse to further refine input.
  • Create nCurses programs using your choice of editors.
  • Find hundreds of quick, easy-to-understand programming examples.

Author Dan Gookin is known for making technology make sense. Buy this book and you'll see why.


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Programmer's Guide to NCurses + termcap & terminfo (O'Reilly Nutshell)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Programming the console in UNIX?

Here's just what you need

With the growing popularity of Mac OS X and various Linux flavors, UNIX claims more and more devotees every day. The nCurses library is the programming tool you need to work in this environment, and this book is your all-purpose nCurses reference.

First, you'll get a no-nonsense tutorial guide to the nCurses version 5.5 library, taking you from basic to advanced functions step by step. Then you'll find an A-to-Z reference of more than 175 nCurses functions, cross-referenced and illustrated with examples. Dan Gookin is known for making technology make sense. You'll soon see why.

Build a firm foundation for nCurses

  • Learn techniques that can be used to program Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, or any other UNIX-based OS
  • Program, control, and manipulate text on the terminal screen
  • Control interactive I/O, organize content into windows on the screen, and use color to highlight text and organize information
  • Use a mouse to further refine input
  • Create nCurses programs using your choice of editors
  • Gain a solid understanding of nCurses, from the basics to the advanced
  • Find hundreds of quick, easy-to-understand programming examples
  • Explore the detailed nCurses library reference included, with examples and cross-references as well as more details and descriptions than you'll find anywhere else

About the Author

DAN GOOKIN began his career as a computer columnist and magazine editor. Then in 1991, he wrote DOS For Dummies and launched a juggernaut. Among his many titles in that popular series are PCs For Dummies, Word For Dummies, and C All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies. Thanks to his unique style and dry wit, Dan's books are always informative and never boring.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 556 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470107596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470107591
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Gookin has been writing about technology for over 20 years. He combines his love of writing with his gizmo fascination to create books that are informative, entertaining, and not boring. Having written more over 120 titles with 12 million copies in print translated into over 30 languages, Dan can attest that his method of crafting computer tomes seems to work.

Perhaps his most famous title is the original DOS For Dummies, published in 1991. It became the world's fastest-selling computer book, at one time moving more copies per week than the New York Times #1 bestseller (though as a reference, it could not be listed on the NYT Bestseller list). From that book spawned the entire line of For Dummies books, which remains a publishing phenomena to this day.

Dan's most popular titles include PCs For Dummies Word For Dummies, Laptops For Dummies, and Droid X For Dummies. He also maintains the vast and helpful Web site, www.wambooli.com.

Dan holds a degree in Communications/Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. Presently, he lives in the Pacific Northwest, where he enjoys spending time with his sons playing video games inside while they watch the gentle woods of Idaho.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both a Tutorial and a Reference Book March 15, 2007
Format:Paperback
This is just about the only book availablon NCurses. In fact, the only book even close is the O'Rielly Warthog book on Curses and it's twenty years old. As a book on nCurses, this one is really quite good. It starts quite simple with bringing up a text editor in a terminal window and a text editor and going on from there.

A little less than half the book is a tutorial that gives you specific 'cookbook' like instructions to get you familiar with the syntax and general concepts of working in NCurses. After that it becomes a reference book where each of the 175-180 (or so) functions in the NCurses library is discussed. There's usually a Format Reference, the Value Returned by the function, Notes, Examples, and a Sample Program that uses that function.

The book does not have a CD so the NCurses library of functions itself is not included. But it usually comes with the Linux disturbutions and is certainly available over the Internet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its bloated November 27, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book describes the NCurses library in an easy to understand manner. for my taste its a bit too much hot air that serves no purpose other than to fill space, plus the font is really big, this wasting more space. More than half of the book is basically a reprint of the man pages but without a good page layout so its really hard to find anything without looking up the page number in the alphabetical index first.
The book does not cover the Forms library nor the Menu library which is why I give it only 3 stars altogether. With 500 pages, the complete NCurses library could have been covered and the man pages dont really belong in a book like this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to nCurses August 28, 2008
Format:Paperback
A couple weeks ago, I wanted to start playing around with the python curses module, but it's been forever since I've done anything with curses. So, for a bit of a refresher course, I picked up Dan Gookin's Programmer's Guide to nCurses (note this book covers the C API, not the python API).

I was actually very surprised at how good of an introduction Dan's book is. His laid back style of writing helps keep the reader entertained, and his short code snippets make for succinct examples that get right to the point without losing the reader in pages of boilerplate. The book itself is a fairly quick read too; although it officially weighs in at 556 pages, the last 300 pages or so is a reference manual for the nCurses API.

I honestly didn't have too many problems with the book, other than the occasional typo (including an off-by-one error in the code on p. 177). However, I would warn the reader that I had some issues with a few of Dan's examples. First, in many of the examples, the error handlers are missing a getch() call, which causes the program to immediately exit when an error occurs without pausing to let you see the errors. Also, in Chapter 8, some of the examples involving wrefresh() wouldn't work for me unless a call was made to refresh() beforehand (but after that call was made once, all the wrefresh() calls worked after that). Not sure if this is an issue with nCurses or with my system, so YMMV.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking to become familiar with the nCurses API. Although the book doesn't cover more advanced topics, like best practices for designing and building full-fledged nCurses applications, it still makes for a very good starting point.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you are a technical reviewer or editor of a technical manual such as "PG2nC", you should keep in mind that your typical reader is not leafing through the sub-chapter headings in your table of contents to find the one that is the cutest.

Rather than thinking headings such as "Blurping Text", "Watch Out! I've Got You Cornered!", "Silence, Please!", "Dueling Windows", "Stained Glass Windows", "Stop Repeating Me!" etc etc /ad nauseum/ are entertaining and hilarious, the very pinnacle of editorial wit, Readers such as myself are scratching our heads, thinking "how in God's name am I supposed to find anything when all of the topic headings have been replaced by random noise?"

Manuals like this one, which are hundreds of pages long, have one intended purpose: help Readers Locate Information As Fast As Possible.

Anything that detracts from this purpose is the editorial equivalent of Clippy.

A final example: Chapter 7 is entitled "Keyboard Madness!". You may well have named it, "I Have Absolutely No Idea!"
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