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Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ Paperback – December 25, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0321543721 ISBN-10: 0321543726 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1272 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (December 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321543726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321543721
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #332,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bjarne Stroustrup is the designer and original implementer of C++, the author of The C++ Programming Language, The Annotated C++ Reference Manual, and The Design and Evolution of C++, and the consulting editor of Addison-Wesley's C++ In-Depth Series. Having previously worked at Bell Labs and AT&T Labs-Research, he currently is the College of Engineering Chair in Computer Science Professor at Texas A&M University. The recipient of numerous honors, including the Dr. Dobb's Excellence in Programming Award (2008), Dr. Stroustrup is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an AT&T Fellow, an AT&T Bell Laboratories Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, and an ACM Fellow. His research interests include distributed systems, simulation, design, programming techniques, software development tools, and programming languages, and he remains actively involved in the ANSI/ISO standardization of C++. Dr. Stroustrup holds an advanced degree from the University of Aarhus in his native Denmark and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Cambridge University, England.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead.
—Admiral Farragut

Programming is the art of expressing solutions to problems so that a computer can execute those solutions. Much of the effort in programming is spent finding and refining solutions. Often, a problem is only fully understood through the process of programming a solution for it.

This book is for someone who has never programmed before, but is willing to work hard to learn. It helps you acquire the principles and practical skills of programming using the C++ programming language. My aim is for you to gain sufficient knowledge and experience to perform simple useful programming tasks using the best up-to-date techniques. How long will that take? As part of a first-year university course, you can work through this book in a semester (assuming that you have a workload of four courses of average difficulty). If you work by yourself, don’t expect to spend less time than that (maybe 15 hours a week for 14 weeks).

Three months may seem a long time, but there’s a lot to learn and you’ll be writing your first simple programs after about an hour. Also, all learning is gradual: each chapter introduces new useful concepts and illustrates them with examples inspired by real-world uses. Your ability to express ideas in code — getting a computer to do what you want it to do — gradually and steadily increases as you go along. I never say “learn a month’s worth of theory and then see if you can use it.”

Why would you want to program? Our civilization runs on software. Without understanding software you are reduced to believing in “magic” and will be locked out of many of the most interesting, profitable, and socially useful technical fields of work. When I talk about programming, I think of the whole spectrum of computer programs from personal computer applications with GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces), through engineering calculations and embedded system control applications (such as digital cameras, cars, and cell phones), to text manipulation applications as found in many humanities and business applications. Like mathematics, programming — when done well — is a valuable intellectual exercise that sharpens our ability to think. However, thanks to feedback from the computer, programming is more concrete than most forms of math, and therefore accessible to more people. It is a way to reach out and change the world — hopefully for the better. Finally, programming can be great fun.

Why C++? You can’t learn to program without a programming language and C++ directly supports the key concepts and techniques used in real-world software. C++ is one of the most widely used programming languages, found in an unsurpassed range of application areas. You find C++ applications everywhere from the bottom of the oceans to the surface of Mars. C++ is precisely and comprehensively defined by a non-proprietary international standard. Quality and/or free implementations are available on every kind of computer. Most of the programming concepts that you will learn using C++ can be used directly in other languages, such as C, C#, Fortran, and Java. Finally, I simply like C++ as a language for writing elegant and efficient code.

This is not the easiest book on beginning programming; it is not meant to be. I just aim for it to be the easiest book from which you can learn the basics of real-world programming. That’s quite an ambitious goal because much modern software relies on techniques considered advanced just a few years ago.

My fundamental assumption is that you want to write programs for the use of others, and to do so responsibly providing a decent level of system quality. That is, I assume that you want to achieve a level of professionalism. Consequently, I chose the topics for this book to cover what is needed to get started with real-world programming, not just what is easy to teach and learn. If you need a technique to get basic work done right, I’ll describe it, demonstrate concepts and language facilities needed to support the technique, provide exercises for it, and expect you to work on those exercises. If you just want to understand toy programs, you can get along with far less than I present. On the other hand, I won’t waste your time with material of marginal practical importance. If an idea is explained here, it’s because you’ll almost certainly need it.

If your desire is to use the work of others without understanding how things are done and without adding significantly to the code yourself, this book is not for you. If so, please consider if you would be better served by another book and another language. If that is approximately your view of programming, please also consider from where you got that view and whether it in fact is adequate for your needs. People often underestimate the complexity of programming as well as its value. I would hate for you to acquire a dislike for programming because of a mismatch between what you needed and the part of the software reality I describe. There are many parts of the “Information Technology” world that do not require knowledge of programming. This book is aimed to serve those who do want to write nontrivial programs.

Because of its structure and practical aims, this book can also be used as a second book on programming for someone who already knows a bit of C++ or for someone who programs in another language and wants to learn C++. If you fit into one of those categories, I refrain from guessing how long it will take you to read this book, but I do encourage you to do many of our exercises. This will help you to counteract the common problem of writing programs in older, familiar, styles rather than adopting newer techniques where these are more appropriate. If you have learned C++ in one of the more traditional ways, you’ll find something surprising and useful before you reach Chapter 7. Unless your name is Stroustrup, what I discuss here is not “your father’s C++.”

Programming is learned by writing programs. In this, programming is similar to other endeavors with a practical component. You cannot learn to swim, to play a musical instrument, or to drive a car just from reading a book — you must practice. Nor can you learn to program without reading and writing lots of code. This book focuses on code examples closely tied to explanatory text and diagrams. You need those to understand the ideals, concepts, and principles of programming and to master the language constructs used to express them. That’s essential, but by itself, it will not give you the practical skills of programming. For that, you need to do the exercises and get used to the tools for writing, compiling, and running programs. You need to make your own mistakes, and learn to correct them. There is no substitute for writing code. Besides, that’s where the fun is!

On the other hand, there is more to programming — much more — than following a few rules and reading the manual. This book is emphatically not focused on “the syntax of C++.” Understanding the fundamental ideals, principles, and techniques is essence of a good programmer. Only well-designed code has a chance of becoming part of a correct, reliable, and maintainable system. Also, “the fundamentals” are what lasts: they will still be essential after today’s languages and tools have evolved or been replaced.

What about computer science, software engineering, information technology, etc.? Is that all programming? Of course not! Programming is one of the fundamental topics that underlie everything in computer-related fields and has a natural place in a balanced course of computer science. I provide brief introductions to key concepts and techniques of algorithms, data structures, user interfaces, data processing, and software engineering. However, this book is not a substitute for a thorough and balanced study of those topics.

Code can be beautiful as well as useful. This book is written to help you see that, to understand what it means for code to be beautiful and to help you to acquire the principles and practical skills to create such code. Good luck with programming!

A note to students

Of the 1,000++ first-year students we have taught so far using drafts of this book at Texas A&M University, about 60% had programmed before and about 40% had never seen a line of code in their life. Most succeeded, so you can do it too.

You don’t have to read this book as part of a course. I assume that the book will be widely used for self study. However, whether you work your way through as part of a course or independently, try to work with others. Programming has an — unfair — reputation as a lonely activity. Most people work better and learn faster when they are part of a group with a common aim. Learning together and discussing problems with friends is not cheating! It is the most efficient — as well as most pleasant — way of making progress. If nothing else, working with friends forces you to articulate your ideas, which is just about the most efficient way of testing your understanding and making sure you remember. You don’t actually have to personally discover the answer to every obscure language and programming environment problem. However, please don’t cheat yourself by not doing the drills and a fair number of exercises (even if no teacher forces you to do them). Remember: programming is (among other things) a practical skill that you need to practice to master. If you don’t write code (do several exercises for each chapter), reading this book will become a pointless theoretical exercise.

Most students — especially thoughtful good students — face times where they wonder whether their hard work is worthwhile. When (not if) this happens to you, take a break, re-read the foreword, look at Chapte...


More About the Author

Bjarne Stroustrup is the designer and original implementer of C++.
He is a founding member of the ISO C++ standards committee and a major contributor to modern C++.
He worked at Bell Labs and is now a managing director in Morgan Stanley's technology division.
He is also a visiting professor at Columbia University and a distinguished research professor at Texas A&M University.
He is a member of the USA National Academy of Engineering, an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow.
His publication list is as long as your arm. For details, see his home pages.

Customer Reviews

This book is great for the "advanced beginner".
Wyatt Willoughby
You will learn programming from this book and will get a foundation in the C++ language enough to know where to go next.
Paul A. Bonyak
I began to read this book from beginning and worked most of the exercises.
Orkhan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

226 of 234 people found the following review helpful By Claudio Puviani on December 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For some reasons, I had expected a book on reflections on Stroustrup's philosophy of C++ programming aimed at experienced practitioners. I was quite surprised by the heft of the book, but much more so by the content. It's a book for non-programmers or beginners to teach them how to program with C++ as the vehicle and it's structured for use as a textbook for a first year college course.

Physically, the book is massive, weighing in at over 1200 pages. It is printed on good quality semi-glossy paper and the extensive use of color will remind some of the Deitel & Deitel series, at least superficially.

The prospective student will probably benefit from a comparison of this book to the existing leading tutorial books. The leaders, by popularity or quality, are (in no specific order): Lippman, Lajoie, & Moo's C++ Primer (4th Edition), Eckel's Thinking in C++: Introduction to Standard C++, Volume One (2nd Edition) (Vol 1) and Thinking in C++, Volume 2: Practical Programming, Dietel & Deitel's C++ How to Program (6th Edition), Koenig & Moo's Accelerated C++: Practical Programming by Example (C++ In-Depth Series), Lippman's
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Richard Elderton on April 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had just finished reading Herbert Schildt's book C++: The Complete Reference and had resolved not to read another door stop before devoting much more time to practising the new techniques I had learned. Then I got wind of Bjarne Stroustrup's new book for beginners: Programming Principles and Practice Using C++. Now Dr Stroustrup occupies a very elevated position in the panoply of C++ deities; his words are cast in stone and he is often referred to as "the creator" of C++ (read: he invented it). Most programming tutorials have shortcomings of one kind or another, so I was intrigued to discover what sort of a job BS had done. I was not disappointed.

Firstly, his approach is not to treat learning C++ as a purely language-technical issue, but to talk about programming as a means to the solving of problems, and use C++ (the most versatile and widely used programming language we have) as a vehicle to do this.

After a dedication to Lawrence Petersen, his collaborator on this project, there is an interesting chapter concerning the place of computer systems in modern life.

Programming is introduced in the conventional way with the simplest concepts, then the learning curve becomes progressively steeper (a feature which is required of a reasonably complete introduction to the subject, even given the 1264 pages of this book).

BS uses several techniques that I had not seen before. All the code is printed in a bold typeface in blue. That makes it easier to distinguish code terms from other, possibly similar words within the body text. He does not use unnecessary spaces in his code. This helps to clarify where spaces are actually required by the syntax as opposed to merely beautifying the code.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Wyatt Willoughby on May 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
I agree with Hubert above. This book is great for the "advanced beginner". I too have been through several of the shorter, more to the point, "teach yourself C++"-style books. I am glad that I did those first. I am totally self-taught and unfortunately have no mentor to ask anything. This is the first book that has spent any time on data validation and parsing and has introduced catching errors as part of the bigger picture rather that a discrete subject. This is the way it should be be done.

Chapters 6 introduces parsing. This has been the missing link for me. As soon as you start writing anything beyond the simplest of programs you run into the problem of needing to validate and make sense of user input. You always just knew that there had to be a "standard" way of doing this because the problem is so fundamental, however, the answer is not obvious. I developed a far simpler "home-grown" parser for an ip address calculator program I wrote but using token objects is FAR superior. (which makes me wonder about how many other things I know nothing about) It is not simple and I spent a lot of time reading and trying to truly internalize the chapter and doing the exercises. However, I do wish that more of the answers were published on his site for those of us working at home alone without the benefit of a professor.

Also, graphics and GUIs are given some coverage. This is also unusual for a beginner book. None of the others that I have does this. I think it is important to show that C++ is graphics friendly early on otherwise the ignorant get the impression that only newer languages like VB can handle such things.

So, basically I see this book as a cornerstone in your self-education.
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