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C Unleashed Paperback – August 18, 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

C Unleashed is a very comprehensive book on the ANSI C programming language. This book promotes solid, portable programming using ANSI C, thus benefiting programmers on any platform, including mainframes. Covers the New Standard for C, known as C9X, and includes embedded systems, simulation processing, threading and multiprocessing, digital signal processing, and natural language processing.

About the Author

Richard Heathfield is a software consultant in the UK and director and chairman of Eton Computer Systems, Ltd. He has been programming with the ANSI C programming language commercially for almost 10 years. His experience includes writing a Y2K diagnostic engine, network synchronization software, code generators, testing tools and two Executive Information Systems. He specializes in writing across-platform software. In his spare time, he is working on a custom Internet/LAN applications for small-to-medium sized business based on a UDP/IP communications wrapper. Lawrence Kirby is a graduate of Cambridge University in England and has been programming with ANSI C for 10 years, mainly on communication and financial data related systems. He has contributed extensively to comp.lang.c and comp.std.c over the years, gaining a thorough knowledge of the language, closely following the development of the new C9X standard. He is considered one of the gurus of C and now the new C9X.
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Product Details

  • Series: Unleashed
  • Paperback: 1392 pages
  • Publisher: Sams (August 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672318962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672318962
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 2.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When seeking a reference, most experienced programmers will rather buy a reference that focuses more on the advanced issues than the language concepts itself. Mainly because almost all decent compilers come with extensive help files that cover most of what the programmers might need regarding the language itself. This book doesn't explain much about C, but instead uses C as a tool to explain some very useful issues that are crucial to almost all advanced programmers.
The book wastes no space on trivial stuff like how to open your compiler or use a non-standard C function. Instead, it goes directly into what's important, explaining the concepts and giving concrete examples where appropriate, all using ANSI C.
Since most of the issues aren't dependant on the implementation schemes, almost any advanced programmer would benefit from this book, even if he/she is not programming in C (assuming advanced knowledge of C, of course). The only exceptions are the topics that talk about the ANSI C rules and code organization and optimization. The only disadvantage here is that this book doesn't cover object oriented concepts, but that's not a surprise of course as the book is titled "C Unleashed." But still for anything else other than that, this could be a great help even to C++ programmers.
The book chapters have been written by more than 10 experienced programmers, 6 of them are really good, which makes each chapter standalone as a small tutorial on some issue. The writing style of Richard Heathfield and many of the co-authors is very nice to read and clear to understand. Some parts, of course, do not have that nice writing style, but throughout the book, the technical information is very clear and easy to comprehend.
I wouldn't recommend this book to any new programmers. But for the more advanced ones, this is something they would want to check.
-Mokhtar M. Khorshid
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Format: Paperback
First of all, the book gets four stars instead of five because of the horrible, horrible editing. Typographic errors abound, including inside programs, where the formatting is often not what the author intended (like the many instances of spaces *inside* the decrement operator); at least one figure is chopped off, and some tables are incorrectly formatted too. The authors don't share the same coding style, and the editor fails to make the programs look consistent across the book. Generally, I found SAMS books lacking in both content and presentation, but this is an exception, as the content is great. Shame on you, SAMS, for making a mess of the presentation.
That said, it is a very good book; it covers many interesting topics to varying depths, but always deep enough to be useful, and certainly impressively deep considering the breadth and variety of the topics. The strongest point of the book is the advice about how C programs ought to be written, and the special care given to the Standard. As one of my fellow reviewers demonstrates, there are people in need of that advice, although not all of them are prepared to accept it (he gave the book a single star).
An unusual number of authors contributed to this book, which is a Good Thing, as it means that each chapter was written by someone who was very familiar with the topic, rather than by a sigle person who knew what he was talking about, but maybe didn't have lots of actual experience in that particular area. The main author did a good job on keeping the book coherent (I'd usually assign the praise to the editor, but judging by the awful mess they made in other respects, I suspect it was the author's work, not the editor's), yet the chapters make sense on their own.
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Format: Paperback
C Unleashed contains 29 chapters which range from 15 to 111 pages long. The chapters are mostly by very experienced developers and are written in a breezy style like a magazine or blog article. From looking at the TOC, I expected to learn a lot from reading through the chapters. I did get some good information, but it came with a lot of aggravation. The chapters tend to have very low information density, somewhat random content and organization, and don't give any pointers to the more detailed material you will need to actually implement things. I had this book on my shelf for a few years and always found searching for information online to be more productive. Here is the table of contents:

1. C Programmer Unleashed!
2. Holy Wars: Programming Standards -- Causes and Cures
3. Optimization
4. Dealing with Dates
5. Playing with Bits and Bytes
6. Offline Data Storage and Retrieval
7. When Things Go Wrong: Code-Mending
8. Managing Memory
9. Simulations and Controllers
10. Recursion
11. Simple Abstract Data Structures
12. Binary Search Trees
13. Rapid Sorting Techniques
14. Tries
15. Sparse Matrix
16. Working with Graphs
17. Matrix Arithmetic
18. Digital Signal Processing
19. Expression Parsing and Evaluation
20. Making Software Tools
21. Genetic Algorithms
22. Cross-Platform Development: Communications Programming
23. Writing Common Gateway Interface (CGI) Applications in C
24. Abritrary Precision Arithmetic
25. Natural Language Processing
26. Encryption
27. Embedded Systems
28. Parallel Processing
29. Looking to the Future: C99
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