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C++ Primer Plus (5th Edition) 5th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 334 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0672326974
ISBN-10: 0672326973
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Prata teaches astronomy, physics, and computer science at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California. He received his B.S. from the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Stephen has authored or coauthored more than a dozen books for The Waite Group. He wrote The Waite Group's New C Primer Plus, which received the Computer Press Association's 1990 Best How-to Computer Book Award, and The Waite Group's C++ Primer Plus, nominated for the Computer Press Association's Best How-to Computer Book Award in 1991.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction: C++ Primer Plus

Introduction

Preface to the Fifth Edition

Learning C++ is an adventure of discovery, particularly because the language accommodates several programming paradigms, including object-oriented programming, generic programming, and the traditional procedural programming. C++ was a moving target as the language added new features, but now, with the ISO/ANSI C++ Standard, Second Edition (2003), in place, the language has stabilized. Contemporary compilers support most or all of the features mandated by the standard, and programmers have had time to get used to applying these features. The fifth edition of this book, C++ Primer Plus, reflects the ISO/ANSI standard and describes this matured version of C++.

C++ Primer Plus discusses the basic C language and presents C++ features, making this book self-contained. It presents C++ fundamentals and illustrates them with short, to-the-point programs that are easy to copy and experiment with. You'll learn about input/output (I/O), how to make programs perform repetitive tasks and make choices, the many ways to handle data, and how to use functions. You'll learn about the many features C++ has added to C, including the following:

  • Classes and objects

  • Inheritance

  • Polymorphism, virtual functions, and runtime type identification (RTTI)

  • Function overloading

  • Reference variables

  • Generic, or type-independent, programming, as provided by templates and the Standard Template Library (STL)

  • The exception mechanism for handling error conditions

  • Namespaces for managing names of functions, classes, and variables

The Primer Approach

C++ Primer Plus brings several virtues to the task of presenting all this material. It builds on the primer tradition begun by C Primer Plus nearly two decades ago and embraces its successful philosophy:

  • A primer should be an easy-to-use, friendly guide.

  • A primer doesn't assume that you are already familiar with all relevant programming concepts.

  • A primer emphasizes hands-on learning with brief, easily typed examples that develop your understanding, a concept or two at a time.

  • A primer clarifies concepts with illustrations.

  • A primer provides questions and exercises to let you test your understanding, making the book suitable for self-learning or for the classroom.

Following these principles, the book helps you understand this rich language and how to use it. For example:

  • It provides conceptual guidance about when to use particular features, such as using public inheritance to model what are known as is-a relationships.

  • It illustrates common C++ programming idioms and techniques.

  • It provides a variety of sidebars, including tips, cautions, things to remember, compatibility notes, and real-world notes.

The author and editors of this book do our best to keep the presentation to-the-point, simple, and fun. Our goal is that by the end of the book, you'll be able to write solid, effective programs and enjoy yourself doing so.

Sample Code Used in This Book

This book provides an abundance of sample code, most of it in the form of complete programs. Like the previous editions, this book practices generic C++ so that it is not tied to any particular kind of computer, operating system, or compiler. Thus, the examples were tested on a Windows XP system, a Macintosh OS X system, and a Linux system. Only a few programs were affected by compiler non-conformance issues. Compiler compliance with the C++ standard has improved since the previous edition of this book first appeared.

The sample code for the complete programs described in this book is available on the Sams website, at http://www.samspublishing.com. Enter this book's ISBN (without the hyphens) in the Search box and click Search. When the book's title is displayed, click the title to go to a page where you can download the code. You also can find solutions to selected programming exercises at this site.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into 17 chapters and 10 appendixes, summarized here.

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Chapter 1 relates how Bjarne Stroustrup created the C++ programming language by adding object-oriented programming support to the C language. You'll learn the distinctions between procedural languages, such as C, and object-oriented languages, such as C++. You'll read about the joint ANSI/ISO work to develop a C++ standard. This chapter discusses the mechanics of creating a C++ program, outlining the approach for several current C++ compilers. Finally, it describes the conventions used in this book.

Chapter 2: Setting Out to C++

Chapter 2 guides you through the process of creating simple C++ programs. You'll learn about the role of the main() function and about some of the kinds of statements that C++ programs use. You'll use the predefined cout and cin objects for program output and input, and you'll learn about creating and using variables. Finally, you'll be introduced to functions, C++'s programming modules.

Chapter 3: Dealing with Data

C++ provides built-in types for storing two kinds of data: integers (numbers with no fractional parts) and floating-point numbers (numbers with fractional parts). To meet the diverse requirements of programmers, C++ offers several types in each category. Chapter 3 discusses those types, including creating variables and writing constants of various types. You'll also learn how C++ handles implicit and explicit conversions from one type to another.

Chapter 4: Compound Types

C++ lets you construct more elaborate types from the basic built-in types. The most advanced form is the class, discussed in Chapters 9 through 13. Chapter 4 discusses other forms, including arrays, which hold several values of a single type; structures, which hold several values of unlike types; and pointers, which identify locations in memory. You'll also learn how to create and store text strings and to handle text I/O by using C-style character arrays and the C++ string class. Finally, you'll learn some of the ways C++ handles memory allocation, including using the new and delete operators for managing memory explicitly.

Chapter 5: Loops and Relational Expressions

Programs often must perform repetitive actions, and C++ provides three looping structures for that purpose: the for loop, the while loop, and the do while loop. Such loops must know when they should terminate, and the C++ relational operators enable you to create tests to guide such loops. In Chapter 5 you learn how to create loops that read and process input character-by-character. Finally, you'll learn how to create two-dimensional arrays and how to use nested loops to process them.

Chapter 6: Branching Statements and Logical Operators

Programs can behave intelligently if they can tailor their behavior to circumstances. In Chapter 6 you'll learn how to control program flow by using the if, if else, and switch statements and the conditional operator. You'll learn how to use logical operators to help express decision-making tests. Also, you'll meet the cctype library of functions for evaluating character relations, such as testing whether a character is a digit or a nonprinting character. Finally, you'll get an introductory view of file I/O.

Chapter 7: Functions: C++'s Programming Modules

Functions are the basic building blocks of C++ programming. Chapter 7 concentrates on features that C++ functions share with C functions. In particular, you'll review the general format of a function definition and examine how function prototypes increase the reliability of programs. Also, you'll investigate how to write functions to process arrays, character strings, and structures. Next, you'll learn about recursion, which is when a function calls itself, and see how it can be used to implement a divide-and-conquer strategy. Finally, you'll meet pointers to functions, which enable you to use a function argument to tell one function to use a second function.

Chapter 8: Adventures in Functions

Chapter 8 explores the new features C++ adds to functions. You'll learn about inline functions, which can speed program execution at the cost of additional program size. You'll work with reference variables, which provide an alternative way to pass information to functions. Default arguments let a function automatically supply values for function arguments that you omit from a function call. Function overloading lets you create functions having the same name but taking different argument lists. All these features have frequent use in class design. Also, you'll learn about function templates, which allow you to specify the design of a family of related functions.

Chapter 9: Memory Models and Namespaces

Chapter 9 discusses putting together multifile programs. It examines the choices in allocating memory, looking at different methods of managing memory and at scope, linkage, and namespaces, which determine what parts of a program know about a variable.

Chapter 10: Objects and Classes

A class is a user-defined type, and an object (such as a variable) is an instance of a class. Chapter 10 introduces you to object-oriented programming and to class design. A class declaration describes the information stored in a class object and also the operations (class methods) allowed for class objects. Some parts of an object are visible to the outside world (the public portion), and some are hidden ...

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1224 pages
  • Publisher: Sams; 5 edition (November 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672326973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672326974
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the overall best C++ book for both beginner and intermediate programmers. As a self-learning student struggling to fully understand C++, i have gone through most, if not all, of the popular C++ books. My quest for the ultimate introductory and user-friendly C++ self-learning guide finally ended when i bought this one after reading several online recommendations from experienced teachers and successful C++ students.

The author of C++ Primer Plus introduces the basic topics, without assuming prior knowledge and this approach definitely helps you to build a solid background. You can gradually assimilate and understand the basic concepts before moving on to more complex ideas and principles. The reader is taken through a steadily increasing learning curve but you should follow the order of the chapters as you progress through the book, analyse the examples and work through the problems, if you want to get a thorough understanding of those concepts.

There is an important issue that needs to be addressed regarding the 6th edition, namely, the list of errors or "errata". Honestly, the "errata" is being tagged too easily to the 6th edition, based on previous reviews, and it is unjustified for this excellent book. The apparent deluge of complaints about errors in the 6th edition isn't fair as it gives the wrong impression and it might cause a few people to shy away from the opportunity of learning from this highly instructive and overall great book.

I haven't seen this crucial piece of information mentioned anywhere, but this should soothe your mind about errors in the book; there is a second printing which was released in early 2012, and it fixed all the known errors shown on the errata page!
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Stephen Prata: give the man a cheer (beer!) (or many)! This book is good...no, not good...GREAT! A book doesn't last 20 years (yes, 20) through various editions (5 obviously) without being something special. And this is no exception. This is unqeustionably the best beginner/intermediate book on C++ I have ever read (it pains me to say it...but it has dethroned Object oriented programming in c++ by Lafore, ISBN 0672323087 in that respect). Maybe it's just me, but Prata has a tone (a way) that just makes it VERY easy to relate to the concepts he is trying to explain. He doesn't belabor a point, nor does he treat you like a gumby or one of his colleagues to impress with his knowledge of the arcana of C++. He, oddly enough, seems more interested in teaching you (properly) then trying to get paid (look at the size of the book! if he were looking to get paid, cut the book in half, sell it in two parts or sell one reduced size part for the same price).

Prata offers fair coverage of the language: particularly the basics, as well as some nice software engineering opinions along the way (not in little colored boxes like Deitel with an Ant picture...which is cool: the ant analogy just annoys me- loss of identity, no individuality, part of a hive, etc...). Obviously he can't cover everything. Check out the chapter listing to see if he has what you want! But what he does cover-> the ++basics are extremely well done. There are programming exercises at the end of each chapter of course (with answers).

Prata has adopted a friendly, welcoming tone, laced with humor (not insipid humor, or just plain lame). He doesn't lambast microsoft or push any particular product/compiler. He provides little tips if you're using new or old, non-ansi-c++ compliant compilers.
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If you are new to C++, this is THE C++ you need to read. There is another book called "C++ Primer" (no plus). The following comment is what I wrote for the book C++ Primer, which may give you some idea of the difference between these two:

This is a great book for anyone who want to enhance his/her knowledge

on C++, but this is by no means a primer book. If you are new to C++,

read the book "C++ primer plus" first. It is so funny that the book

"C++ primer plus" (which is also a great book) is really an introductory

book. The names of these two books should be swapped because C++ Primer

introduces more advanced topics and the topics that an experience programmer should know but a student does not need to. From my teaching experience in a state university, I would suggest students to read C++ books in the following order:

C++ primer Plus

C++ Primer

Thinking in C++ (great book, free on the internet)

The C++ Programming Language (by Stroustrup)

Then you may want to read some books on special topics such as Visual C++, Database, etc.
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The decorously named "C++ Primer Plus, fifth edition" is a book for C++ beginners and those who would consider themselves a C++ virtuoso. C++ Primer Plus doesn't follow the trend of being the type of programming book that you either learn from and set away forever on a dusty shelf nor the type that you can use as a reference guide but can't use it to learn from. This is one of the few programming books I have read that I have both learned from and can still use as a perfectly suitable reference guide.

In C++ Primer Plus, you are lead through the "cin's" and "cout's" of C++. In this book you will be given well guided lessons with examples from the basic to the advanced features of this wonderfuly capable programming language. You will learn the common C++ programming idioms and techniques as you turn the pages, each example constructed clearly and professionally. One of the great features attributed to this book is the dedication to teaching its readers C++, one being each example code given to you to
use was carefully crafted to be compitable with most popular and even a few less heard of, C++ compilers.
The author is also good at explaining each piece of code with wonderful precision and patience, so well in fact they don't have to provide constant screen shots to show what they are trying to explain - unlike many other programming books.
If you have ever wanted to learn a programming language that is greatly respected in the business world, then I would of course suggest picking up C++. If you want a great book to learn from and use as a guide throughout your programming life for C++, then I suggest picking up "C++ Primer Plus, fifth edition".
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