Customer Reviews: Stl Tutorial & Reference Guide: C++ Programming With the Standard Template Library (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)
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on July 6, 2015
Must have.
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on December 28, 2011
this book is totally disappointment, not much better than man pages: just show the functions' signatures, not much in depth useful information. don't buy!
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on May 3, 2010
I would have thought there was more to STL.
Like the cookbook. Good thing; it accounts for about half the book.
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on October 15, 2009
This is a useful book for STL even if some info is not up to date
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on August 15, 2003
Whenever I need help with STL, I open this book only to find that it has nothing useful on it. For those who have MSDN don't bother to buy this book.
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on August 30, 2002
As an advanced programmer, I must say that I'm disappointed that the level of information provided is not as deep and meticulous as I had hoped.
Additionally, both the index and the overall organization of the book leave much to be desired.
The book, however, is a valuable reference for beginning and intermediate programmers. It explains the STL (Standard Template Library) from the ground up, explaining when, where, and why you would use any particular aspect of the STL, how to use the STL, and sufficient examples to understand correct syntax. This book also contains a detailed section of applying the STL to real-life programming examples. Furthermore, the book also contains a comprehensive reference guide for quick and easy access to pertinent information about STL aspects you frequently use and modestly comprehend.
If you are a beginning or intermediate programmer, this book is worth adding to your collection.
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on January 7, 2002
This volume is a much improved version of the original of the same title. An additional author has come aboard. The major improvements I noticed were in the examples. There are many more examples and many more STL features now have examples showing how you can use them.
The tutorial aspect of this book, which comprises the first part of the book, makes a strong case for not re-inventing the wheel, but rather using the containers, iterators and algorithms in the standard library. Practical examples come right from the start. This may take some getting used to by those who have never seen STL used before, however, the excitement is tonic.
Also, the approach, of showing STL use before getting into the theories of iterator-based access, has been adopted in several subsequent C++ texts by teachers of C++ and has been found pedagogically sound.
Don't overlook the precision and clarity of the (English) language discussion of the STL in the tutorial. It's worth reading every so often as a refresher.
And the value of the reference section, which is easy to navigate and has everything in it that most other books dealing with STL don't is great indeed.
On the whole, if you work in C++, this is a carefully put-together book that will have lasting value and continual use in your library.
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on November 24, 2001
John's reviews are interesting. While I agree with many of the points he makes, I disagree with some. And I found a few to be self-contradictory.
He says, for instance, that "This is a good solid book that will get you up to speed quickly on all the important ideas in STL, and many of its basic usage idioms", but then naievely claims that "there aren't any higher level ideas than those presented here". Does the book cover only basic concepts, or is it that if the book doesn't cover it, it is not knowledge?
The book is full of concrete examples. But my problem was that they were trivial. Reversing or sorting or finding characters within a string is great fun. But it doesn't help me understand who owns the memory within a container. Or how to directly and safely reference an element at an arbitrary position within a container outside of an iteration loop. A majority of the examples use trivial intrinsic datatypes for contained elements; how is using a struct or class different?
All of those issues are important aspects of using the library, and not something I think a busy reader should leave to "a little imagination". While most of the disputed facts are eventually available in the text, they're not easy to find. The organization of the book isn't quite intuitive enough to make it a thoughtful reference or a breezy tutorial.
And, in many cases, once found, they're not clear. John cited page 151 for an explanation of the differences between some of the collections. There, it says "With maps an multimaps, the data items are pairs of keys and data of some other type..." What's that mean? Two keys and data of some other type? Or a key and data of some other type? Does "pairs" mean "two", or an instance of the "pairs" utility class?
The book really is missing information. None of the examples do any error checking whatsoever, and the exceptions that the templates throw aren't described. (Maybe, like priority queues, error handling was formalized after the book went to press. It is showing its age, and there's now a 2nd edition. I haven't purchased it.)
It's ambitious to write a book that tries to serve as both a tutorial and the reference. (Me, I think it's just impossible.) This book does very well, but falls short of adequately completing either goal.
I think that there's a bias against this book because it doesn't fit well with the way these reviewers would have liked to learn the subject at hand. I know that's where I landed. While true masters do indeed make it look simple, making it look simple doesn't help learning. Otherwise, we could all watch Tiger Woods for a few Sundays before taking home a Buick and a six-figure check.
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on December 7, 2000
It's been several years since my original review of this book. The short version of my review is that this book is poorly written and hard to use. None of the several engineers who have borrowed this book from me have liked it.

Get a copy of "The C++ Standard Library" by Josuttis instead. It is a tremendously better reference and tutorial on STL, and an infinitely more readable book.
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on November 3, 2000
Just a few more points, to refute earlier incorrect reviews:
One reviewer said: "For instance, in the detailed presentation of sets and multisets, nowhere is it mentioned what the difference between the two is. You have to go to the "Overview of STL components" to get the information."
This is incorrect: the authors cover the difference numerous places (and most people can guess what the difference is). See for example pages 118 and 151 (the latter being the section explaining set, multiset, and map).
Another reviewer said: " fails to mention several large chunks of STL that you could immediately use, including the functionals and some very useful pieces (strings (with iostreams), bit sets, fstreams, locales, limits, etc)."
This also is incorrect and misleading. Most of the items above are not part of STL, but rather the standard C++ library, so of course the authors don't discuss them. Also, presumably by "functionals" the reviewer means function objects, or function adaptors. Both of these are well coevered in the book.
Another review stated: "If you look for some concrete examples then this book isn't it."
This is hard to accept: almost every page of this book contains carefully chosen example code illustrating the point at hand. Even a little imagination should suffice to adapt it to your particulars.
And finally: "While this book might help you use STL containers in straightforward circumstances, it doesn't contain enough theory to give you mastery of the topic."
Also hard to accept. This book covers as much theory as there is to present; there aren't any higher level ideas than those presented here. For example, they take great pains to explain why there is a separation of algorithm and data structure, and to illustrate the pivotal role iterators play in organizing the library, to ensure (mostly) that the right algorithms are used with the right containers. If one looks for even deeper meaning, well, most of us don't know any, so feel free to write a book on it when you find it.
Seems like people are really biased against this book. Again, it's a really good introduction to the fundamentals. Sorry to see it get trashed.
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