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C Programming: A Modern Approach 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0393969450
ISBN-10: 0393969452
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Editorial Reviews

Review

... this book will be well received because of its unique approach to the presentation of the material; it is full of examples and insights. King does not stop--as many others do--in merely explaining how the C programming language works. His well-written and well-organized book is full of advice and explanations of best practices in how to use the language most effectively. One of the most welcome aspects is that King identifies C programming 'idioms,' explains when the idioms are applicable, and shows why they are useful. The book is aimed at people with no prior programming experience, yet it is quite comprehensive in its treatment of the majority of C programming concepts. It is up-to-date in that it also covers the information needed by a C programmer in using the standard C library... -- Choice, September, 1996

A few years ago, I decided to switch from Fortran (which I had used for over 20 years) to C. I purchased about a dozen different books purporting to explain how to use the C language. Most were densely unreadable, few had a usable index, and some were riddled with errors. Now comes the book I really wanted... It is apparent that this book was written by someone who has spent time teaching the subject. The writing style is entertaining and clear. There are many good examples... Best of all, the index takes you right to the part of the book you need--it is not too sparse, and it is not cluttered with irrelevant references. The first time I picked up this book I quickly found the solution to a file-reading bug which had perplexed me for months. I am placing this book at the top of my heap of programming texts, and I am recommending it to all of my programming colleagues. -- Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences, September/October, 1996

The exceptional value of the book lies in the fact that the material is well structured and is made accessible to anyone with minimal programming experience, to those unfamiliar with C, and even to those who do not know any programming language... The book accomplishes the author's stated goal of making it the ideal classroom textbook with examples... Reading this book was extremely useful, both because I have discovered new things in it and, first and foremost, because it has helped me to restructure my knowledge of C. -- Computing Reviews, February, 1997
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 661 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc; 1st edition (February 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393969452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393969450
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have browsed some C and C++ books in major bookstores to see how the materials are organized and presented. This one was not a book I had a chance to browse, but one which I had to buy for an extension course (Introductory C Programming) at UCLA last summer.
At first I thought King's book was hard because of a certain depth of penetration into elements of good programming practices with examples one after another. As I became serious and started to reading intently, I found out how effective King was in paving the way toward a comprehensive understanding of C programming through worked out code and annotations. King is very skilled in breaking down and building up C code, unlike certain celebrated C programming language experts who apparently do not care to be clear or are simply ineffective. So my conclusion is: Read this each chapter of this book very closely, carefully and seriously, and try to understand every last point King is raising. Also, do not neglect working out some of his exercises at the end of each chapter for the benefit of practice as well as learning C. In almost every chapter of the book, he gives very good, organized and annotated but not tedious and complex examples. The problems are generally reasonable and hardly ever too complicated because I never found them overwhelming, either from a coding perspective or mathematically. Perhaps it is because King comes across as someone who emphasizes organization, detail, clarity and explanation in his style of presentation. There are no problems dealing with heavy scientific or engineering applications for those who dread them.
Great points: (1) Fundamentals - beginning chapters goes into detail for a solid grounding of C language basics (syntax, etc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered K.N. King's ``C Programming: A Modern Approach (Second Edition)'' from Amazon for my recent birthday. Having had more birthdays than I care to admit, this gift to myself is right up there with a Lionel train set I got for my eighth birthday (not from Amazon, of course -- it didn't exist that long ago but passengers trains sure did :)).

In this second edition, I think that KNK is now the logical heir to K&R. That's not meant as blasphemy -- Kernighan and Ritchie's still great volume is around 20 years of age and it's unlikely they'll be getting together for K&R3. The C language has undergone enough changes (with the amendment of 1994) and C99, that a ``Modern Approach'' really is needed.

There's another author familiar to readers of the comp.lang.c newsgroup for his approachable, engaging writing style. That author is a wonderful writer but doesn't let the truth get in the way of good narrative. King, though, is an equally engaging writer but is obviously passionate about correctness and adhering to the C standard. He's also meticulous about portability so that the examples are written in pure C and not some platform-specific variant.

I've the entire book and can find hardly anything even nitpick. Aside from a minor style difference about using parentheses with the ``sizeof'' operator, which King explains his rationale for doing so, that's about it.

His explanation of C99 (and the differences from C90 are clearly indicated) made me aware of some really nice features of the current standard for the language (and makes me wonder why one very notable compiler implementer hasn't yet supported C99).

In short, get this book. The Q&A sections at the end of each chapter are very well done.
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Format: Paperback
Some years back, someone mentioned the first edition of this book on Usenet as a possible alternative to K&R for someone trying to learn C. I was surprised, but I got a copy of the book to find out... And he was right.

Let me get the biases out on the table first: I did technical review of this book for the 2nd edition. But... While that leaves me in a great place to be biased about it, it also means that I'm aware of just how few typos or bugs were there even in the draft versions.

This book is an excellent teaching resource; it covers the language carefully, completely, and well. However, mere clarity of communication isn't enough to make a good programming reference; you also need to have confidence that the example code works as described, that the explanations given are correct, and so on. This is one of the only books out there I feel comfortable recommending to people, without worrying that I'll end up having to correct dozens of misconceptions later.

Quite simply, this is the C book I recommend to people who want to learn C, or polish up their C. In a market full of "approachable" books which are full of errors, this book offers a combination of clarity and accuracy which is unmatched.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second of King's books I have purchased. It is also the second that I am very very pleased with.

This book presents a quick systematic clear way of learning to program in C period. This has to be the easiest programming book I have ever read that goes beyond absolute basics.

Frankly I don't understand the few negative reviews others have given the book. Yes it would have been nice to have answers to the exercises. However this is a programming book, you get the answers yourself by doing the work. Mistakes are readily apparent, simply because it won't work!

In terms of difficulty, the exercises are doable. There have been a few that did stump me.....for a little while. With a bit of rereading and some experimenting, I have managed to answer all that I have attempted.

Do yourself a favor if you are learning C and buy the book either as a stand alone or as a supplement to another book.
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