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C: A Reference Manual (4th Edition) Paperback – October 5, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0133262247 ISBN-10: 0133262243 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Ptr; 4 edition (October 5, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0133262243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0133262247
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

You can find bigger books about C, but you won't find one as authoritative or helpful as this reference manual. Harbison and Steele have now gone through four editions and are beginning to cover language differences which can surprise the experienced C coder moving to C++. As always, the authors do an excellent job of explaining what's standard and what it replaces. No hairy syntax has been omitted, so this volume can make wending one's way through obfuscated code, if not pleasant, at least less miserable. Whether you learned C from Kernighan or some massive tome, you'll want this volume as your day-to-day reference. And you won't mind buying a new edition once in a while, because you'll have worn the old one out by then.

From the Publisher

This fourth edition of the bestselling C reference covers two important developments: the ISO C Amendment 1 (1994), which specifies new facilities for writing portable, international programs in C; and a discussion of how to write C programs that are compatible with C++.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Dennis L. Hughes on October 22, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've never understood why this book hasn't gotten more attention, so I'll add my vote to the others.
I'm a professional software developer (MFC, C++, and C). I first learned C in about 1992 using Kernighan and Ritchie, the only other C book you ever need to buy.
I own several other C books, but have found that C ARM is the only one I ever use. Everything is there, in enough detail to answer every question I've ever had about C. The book even covers earlier versions of the language, if you're stuck with an older compiler (or need to port some older code).
Secondly, the book is detailed and strict. Short of checking the actual standards documents, I know of no better way to answer those nit-picky language-lawyer questions that _will_ pop up sooner or later. I use a reference for those things that _don't_ pop up every day, and hence aren't usually covered in a tutorial book. They're in C ARM.
C++ programmers should own a copy of C ARM, too. C is, after all, a "subset" of C++. However, C++ is such a huge language that the standard C++ reference/tutorials like Stroustrup (my preference), or Lippman and Lajoie, leave full coverage of C to other books. That's where C ARM comes in. No, you're not supposed to use printf() in C++ applications, but people do and you may well have to debug their code. If that's not convincing, recall that level of detail that I mentioned above. Stroustrup doesn't even have an ASCII table.
Again, this is definitely not a primer. It is a reference for experienced C programmers. Buy K&R if you want to learn C.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Eric Koldinger on January 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is absolutely the best book on the C language I've ever seen. The coverage is complete and detailed, the appendices accurarately and succinctly detail the ANSI standard C libraries. Basically, if you're writing C code, you need this book. It's displaced K&R on my desk as my C reference; it's easier to read and better organized.
Be forewarned, this is not a tutorial. It's aimed at someone who already knows the language, and needs a detailed description for those nagging questions you can't answer anyplace else.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has no equal. If you need exact information about any fine point of C, the depth and precision of this book is unique. Also, I'm not aware of any other reference on C that clearly tracks the differences between K&R (original) C, traditional C, and ISO C. If you have to deal with legacy code, it can be invaluable to understand why older code does certain things the way it does. (You thought your predecessor did something stupid, only to find that it only looks that way because of a change in the language.) Finally, the 4th edition includes advice on writing C code that will be compatible with the C subset of C++. In a market jammed with 1200 page piles of padded garbage (and the only useful content pirated from the documentation that comes with the compilers), this book really stands out. It's an amazing piece of work. I've owned the 2nd, 3rd, and now the 4th editions, and if there should be a 5th I'll buy it without hesitation. I actually have two copies of the 4th edition: one at work and one at home. What more can I say? Note that the only negative reviews are because someone didn't read the title -- this is a REFERENCE manual, not a tutorial for beginners.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
this text will not teach you c. in fact, you need to be familiar with fundamental coding practices and theory before taking on this book. this book is exactly what its name implies, and that is a reference manual. it is hands down the best reference manual on c out there. if you need to understand a particular aspect of the c language (but not how to code) this book *will* help you. if i can't find what i'm looking for in the man page i turn to my trusty c:arm. the reference is clear, concise, and perhaps even terse. it is not bogged down by inadequate flowery language or contrived examples. the reference topics include lexicon, the preprocessor, declarations, types, conversions, expressions, statements, functions, and the standard c libraries. the reference topics for the standard libraries include language additions, character and string processing, memory, i/o, storage, mathematic, time and date, control, and other miscellaneous functions. do not leave your cubicle w/o this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sean McCammon on November 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had space for one C reference book in my bookshelf but it never reached there. This book is a constant reference for me when checking replies in the comp.lang.c newgroup (and we all know how picky they are there).
This is without doubt the best C reference book on the market today. Accept no substitute.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
The definitive C reference. The only C book I use (and I use it plenty.) Much superior to Kernighan and Ritchie's book.
Concise, well-written, well organized, good index. Don't let the small size of the book fool you--I've never had a question yet that it didn't answer.
Covers both ANSI C and K&R (old) C and describes the differences between them. Also gives function prototypes and descriptions for the C standard library routines.
This is a reference manual which is targeted to experienced programmers. If you already know several programming languages and you want to learn C, this book will work fine. If you're a beginning programmer, you should buy a C tutorial book first and buy this book later.
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