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Practical C++ Programming, Second Edition 2nd Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 063-6920004196
ISBN-10: 0596004192
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When I picked up Practical C++ I was very skeptical, I've read numerous books aimed at beginner/intermediate readers and very few of them left any lasting impression on me. This book however, did! It's an excellent book, and it feels like it's written by a programmer and not an academic as most tend to. Not only are you going to learn about C++ in the easiest way possible, you're going to learn a lot of tips from someone who's been developing in C++ a long time. ... But I can't say enough good things about this book, it covers a lot more than C++, and it has a whole chapter on program design. This book is all you need to get started with C++. The title says Practical C++ and I'd say it's very practical. Highly recommended." - Peter Waller, news@UK

About the Author

Steve Oualline lives in Southern California, where he works as a software engineer for a major phone company. In his free time he is a real engineer on the Poway Midland Railroad. Steve has written almost a dozen books on programming and Linux software. His web site is http://www.oualline.com .

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2nd edition (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596004192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596004194
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Victor Wai Tak Kam on June 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed a book to refresh my C++ knowledge since it has been a few years since I have written C++ code. My labmates already own copies of Stroustrup's definitive "C++ Programming Language", Stephen Prata's "C++ Primer Plus" and Chapman's "Late Night Guide to C++", but I wanted to own a C++ text so I can read it at home. The O'Reilly series of programming languages (Perl, Python) generally are pretty good, and I got this book with high expectations.
Bad move. The text is just filled with errors and bugs. Some bugs are so rudimentary you just have to question whether the authors tested the code. For instace, the section on substr on P.50:
"... to extract a portion of a string, there is the substr member function. [Form of function is]:
string.substr(first, last)
This function returns a string containing all the characters from first to last. ... "
And proceeds to give an example. Alas; the form of the substr function is NOT string.substr(first, last), but string.substr(first, number of characters). This caused me a good half hour of confusion and head scratching. I simply did not expect the book to get this wrong, and especially not with substr examples given right after.
Apart from bugs, typos and related logistic errors, this book suffers from poor integration of material. The chapters on Style and Programming Adages are pretty good, but the rest of the chapters (30 chapters in total) really need some serious conlidation. It's easy reading, true, but for me, it's hard to acquire a good understanding of C++ out of it.
The title of the book is somewhat misleading. A more appropriate title would be "Introductory C++ Programming". You cannot turn to this book when writing practical code.
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Format: Paperback
Practical C++ Programming is dedicated to teaching the reader how to program in the C++ programming language. I make this seemingly redundant statement because upon first hearing the title I thought the book may have been intended as a guide for teaching experienced C++ programmers how to avoid the pitfalls of bad object oriented practices using the language. Quite the contrary, this book is designed to teach anyone, from complete beginner to experienced programmer, how to program in C++. The book has four goals:
1. Teach the reader C++.
2. Instill good programming style and practice (indeed, the book's subtitle is "Programming Style Guidelines.")
3. Teach the programmer basic software development concepts.
4. Introduce the reader to debuggers and the make utility.
Practical C++ Programming is a fairly large book: 549 pages organized into six "parts" containing 30 chapters and 5 appendixes. The parts are as follows: Part I - The Basics, Part II - Simple Programming, Part III - Advanced Types and Classes, Part IV - Advanced Programming Concepts, Part V - Other Language Features, Part VI - Appendixes. You will have to read most of the book in order to learn C++, although there are a number of chapters you can avoid if your goal is to learn only the language's mechanics.
I must start by saying that I like the book, I think it has value. There are a number of things I really appreciate about the book. There are also some problems that adversely impact the book's use by beginners (more about those later.)
The book discusses all the essential elements of C++. Areas covered include: Class definition, namespaces, scope definition and resolution, operator and function overloading, object memory allocation (i.e.
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Format: Paperback
This is a programming textbook for C++ that assumes that you have little or no programming experience. Over half of the text is dedicated to basics of programming, constructions like arrays and so on - even the idea of classes isn't broached until p. 191.
But the serious problem with this text is that it encourages really bad things without warnings. For instance, every C++ programmer knows that class destructors really, truly ought to be virtual; but the text doesn't mention this at all until chapter 21, when discussing virtuality. Up until then, even the examples in the text include non-virtual destructors. Someone reading this text without reading it cover-to-cover, with extraordinary care, will miss this rather crucial point completely - and if, gods forbid, they end up using some of the sample code for their own purposes, they'll find themselves with bugs that are very difficult to track down.
This is unfortunately symptomatic of the style of the text as a whole. So many of the examples contain major flaws which aren't even discussed until the end of the book that they're virtually useless, except perhaps as good exercises in "What's wrong with this code snippet?"
Not recommended - there are better books out there.
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Oualline's "Practical C Programming" is a pretty good book. I like and recommend it. Unfortunately his "Practical C++ Programming" is practically the SAME book. About 80% of this book is copied word-for-word from his earlier book.

This copying extends to the ridiculous. In Practical C Programming, he gives a couple examples of optimization. They're reprinted word-for-word in Practical C++ Programming. Has he only done two code optimizations in his life? And obviously, these two weren't done with C++ in mind.

He's obviously a C programmer (and I think probably a pretty good one) who tried to write a C++ book but didn't really make much of a mental evolution. For example, his chapters on data structures are reprinted here, and they're the same words he used in his first book to discuss linked lists, trees, etc. That's fine and good, but the coverage of the STL, inheritance, design patterns, etc. is either very sparse or completely missing. It'd be better to have more discussion of inheritance and other OOP features than "how to write a linked list in C".

Judging by this book, Oualline is not a C++ expert but rather a C guy who views C++ as "more of the same". He took his earlier manuscript and marked it up with changes. A book that discusses C++ from the outset - rather than as an afterthought - would be much better.

Avoid this book.
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