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C: A Reference Manual (5th Edition) 5th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 72 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0130895929
ISBN-10: 013089592X
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This best-selling, authoritative reference manual provides a complete description of the C language, the run-time libraries, and a style of C programming that empha_sizes correctness, portability, and maintainability.

Describing the C language more clearly and in more detail than any other book, authors Samuel P. Harbison and Guy L. Steele Jr. provide in a single manual:

  • Standard C (1999) - the new revison of the C Standard supports complex and Boolean types, variable length arrays, precise floating-point programming, and new libraries for portability and internationalization.
  • Standard C (1989)- the version of C used by most of today's programmers.
  • Traditional C-common practice before 1990, with millions of lines of code in use every day.
  • C++ compatible C-code that can be used as C or C++.
  • The complete C run-time libraries for all C versions.

C: A Reference Manual is the only book that describes all the details of C-past and present. It is the single must-have reference for all C programmers and implementors.

Thoroughly revised and updated, the expanded Fifth Edition includes a complete description of the latest C Standard, ISO/IEC 9899:1999, with its powerful language extensions and new libraries.

New! Visit the Web site. www.CAReferenceManual.com contains source code for the longer examples in the book, expanded discussions on language issues, the latest ISO/IEC language corrigenda, and links to other C resources.

About the Author

From 1996-present Harbison led SDS infrastructure team and defined a software framework architecture across all TI DSPs and dev't tools, worked to make it fit with TI businesses, help negotiate alliances and acquisitions to make it happen. (Rollout and proudcts will appear in 1998.) Developed long-term vision in SDS and helped develop technology roadmaps. From 1995-96 as CTO Harbison set Tartan's technical direction. He defined and ran a new engineering organization and product development process that gave project managers more authority. He helped spearhead Tartan's long-term growth strategy by defining new products for C and Assembly programming on DSPs. Harbison managed the technical due diligence for TI merger. In 1992, he founded and directed the C/C++ Division, Tartan's first business unit and key to diversifying into commercial markets. Developed first PC-hosted products and first C++ product, for TI DSPs. Created a line of DSP math functions. Pioneered world-wide distribution channels using TI and 3rd parties. (Direct sales used elsewhere.)In 1990, Harbison founded a company, Pine Creek Software, funded by Digital Equipment Corp. to create a market for the Modula-3 programming language. Wrote the first Modula-3 textbook, exhibited at trade shows, wrote software, and published a newsletter. Still recognized as an authority, he was contracted by CRC in 1997 for a Modula-3 chapter in forthcoming Handbook of Object Technology.From 1982-1989, Harbison held various senior positions at Tartan, including Vice President. He led the software QA team & developed company-wide QA policies (1989). He managed several technology groups (1985-89). He was the project manager for Tartan's first commercial product (1984), and program manager for a contract with IBM to develop compilers for their RT PC (precursor to RS/6000). He designed and led development of Tartan's debugger (AdaScope). He developed the C compiler front end, and other internal tools (1981-1984). From 1980-82 Harbison was part of the SPICE research project at Carnegie-Mellon, which evangelized the concept of a "personal workstation" before most companies thought it was feasible. From 1974-80, he helped to develop the Hydra object-oriented, multiprocessor operating system, whose concepts were later used in the Intel 432 microprocessor.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 5 edition (March 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013089592X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130895929
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dennis L. Hughes on October 22, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've never understood why this book hasn't gotten more attention, so I'll add my vote to the others.
I'm a professional software developer (MFC, C++, and C). I first learned C in about 1992 using Kernighan and Ritchie, the only other C book you ever need to buy.
I own several other C books, but have found that C ARM is the only one I ever use. Everything is there, in enough detail to answer every question I've ever had about C. The book even covers earlier versions of the language, if you're stuck with an older compiler (or need to port some older code).
Secondly, the book is detailed and strict. Short of checking the actual standards documents, I know of no better way to answer those nit-picky language-lawyer questions that _will_ pop up sooner or later. I use a reference for those things that _don't_ pop up every day, and hence aren't usually covered in a tutorial book. They're in C ARM.
C++ programmers should own a copy of C ARM, too. C is, after all, a "subset" of C++. However, C++ is such a huge language that the standard C++ reference/tutorials like Stroustrup (my preference), or Lippman and Lajoie, leave full coverage of C to other books. That's where C ARM comes in. No, you're not supposed to use printf() in C++ applications, but people do and you may well have to debug their code. If that's not convincing, recall that level of detail that I mentioned above. Stroustrup doesn't even have an ASCII table.
Again, this is definitely not a primer. It is a reference for experienced C programmers. Buy K&R if you want to learn C.
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Format: Paperback
My friend borrowed this book from me about two weeks ago and won't give it back, I have since turned to my left side over 20 times looking for it to no avail (serious). If I was to describe this book in one word it would be "Clean", everything in this book is just beautiful, from the ease of use, to the technical details, to even it's fonts and thickness of the pages, everything is so clean and precise that the book makes you want to read it and perhaps even keep it on a pillow next to you at night (but enough about my sheltered life).
One thing that I did not expect before receiving this book was the amazing language overview that comes with the book, they could have sold the book with just that part and it would have still been great. The overview goes into great detail and is really good at pointing out things that other C books miss and the fact that the author is well versed on all the features of the latest C99 Standard adds even more to the wealth of information. My favorite part of the book is the part on the C Pre-processor, which had a great deal of information that I was not previously aware of.
Apart from that, there is the reference side which has all the detail you could ever want in a standard library reference book, all in a very simple to search format (Oh yeah and I should mention, the index kicks ....).
So long story short, if you want a single book that you can turn to for 99.9% of your standard C problems, divorce your wife and give that spot in your bed to "C: A Reference Manual (5th Edition)"... or 6th if it's out by the time you read this review.
ps. If your looking for this book in a bookstore make sure the lady types in "C: A Reference Manual (5th Edition)" and not "See: A Reference Manual (5th Edition)", long story, I'll tell you another time.
Hope you enjoyed reading this
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Format: Paperback
This is absolutely the best book on the C language I've ever seen. The coverage is complete and detailed, the appendices accurarately and succinctly detail the ANSI standard C libraries. Basically, if you're writing C code, you need this book. It's displaced K&R on my desk as my C reference; it's easier to read and better organized.
Be forewarned, this is not a tutorial. It's aimed at someone who already knows the language, and needs a detailed description for those nagging questions you can't answer anyplace else.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been using the Harrison/Steele manual (4th ed.) for years. As a reference manual, it is unsurpassed. I decided to update to the 5th edition recently and all I can say is: don't. For some reason, Prentice Hall has decided to print this edition on a low-weight, cheap paper. Whereas the 4th edition had clean, crisp text on bright paper, the 5th edition's text visibly bleeds along the paper fibers. This results in a smudged, blurry look to the text and makes reading more difficult. If you don't need the material on internationalization or complex arithmetic, you should find a copy of the 4th edition. Your eyes will thank you.
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By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has no equal. If you need exact information about any fine point of C, the depth and precision of this book is unique. Also, I'm not aware of any other reference on C that clearly tracks the differences between K&R (original) C, traditional C, and ISO C. If you have to deal with legacy code, it can be invaluable to understand why older code does certain things the way it does. (You thought your predecessor did something stupid, only to find that it only looks that way because of a change in the language.) Finally, the 4th edition includes advice on writing C code that will be compatible with the C subset of C++. In a market jammed with 1200 page piles of padded garbage (and the only useful content pirated from the documentation that comes with the compilers), this book really stands out. It's an amazing piece of work. I've owned the 2nd, 3rd, and now the 4th editions, and if there should be a 5th I'll buy it without hesitation. I actually have two copies of the 4th edition: one at work and one at home. What more can I say? Note that the only negative reviews are because someone didn't read the title -- this is a REFERENCE manual, not a tutorial for beginners.
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