- Paperback: 800 pages
- Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (August 14, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0672312409
- ISBN-13: 978-0672312403
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.7 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 86 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,244,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sams Teach Yourself Visual C++ 6 in 21 Days 1st Edition
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The Amazon Book Review
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For the majority of C++ programmers, the pace and style of David Chapman's Teach Yourself Visual C++ 6 in 21 Days will make a good deal of sense. The author covers all the essentials of basic Windows and Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) development, and then addresses several new features in Visual C++ 6, all while moving quickly enough for the busy, working programmer.
Chapman's first section introduces the basic Visual C++ 6 tools, like the AppWizard and ClassWizard, and discusses the essentials of building dialog-based applications using basic Windows controls such as static text, edit, button, and list box controls. Further chapters cover mouse and keyboard basics, timers, menus, and fonts. In short, the first week provides a traditional introduction to Windows and MFC programming without the frills.
The second set of tutorials delves into Graphical Device Interface (GDI) graphics programming, always a challenging topic for new MFC programmers. Then the author moves to using ActiveX controls inside your applications (a real strength of Visual C++, enhanced in the new release). The basics of toolbars, saving and restoring files to MFC applications, and an introduction to Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) programming round out this set of chapters.
The last set of exercises will give the MFC developer some new expertise. First, the author looks at the potential of ActiveX Data Objects (ADOs) for database development and how to build reusable libraries in both static and dynamic targets. Advanced material introduces the basics of networking and the TCP/IP protocol and discusses MFC support for working with the Web.
For readers with a little more time, handy appendices discuss additional topics such as printing, the MFC container and helper classes, and the basics of exception handling and debugging. Clearly, the constraints of the 21-day format have not prevented this author from successfully covering many essential topics in today's MFC programming with a good level of detail. --Richard Dragan
From the Back Cover
Learn Visual C++ through the Teach Yourself series, with sections on: Q&A, Do's and Don'ts, Workshop, Shaded syntax boxes, Type/Output/Analysis icons. Week One starts you with Visual C++. After installing and maneuvering through the components of the software, you'll examine a preliminary program to get the feel for C++ and Visual C++. You'll learn: C++ basics; hierarchies; members, functions, and objects; inheritance; MFC; installing Visual C++, the Visual C++ compiler. In Week Two, you'll look at components of Windows applications and how they are invoked with Visual C++. Topics include: keyboard input; mouse usage; data file handling; lists and serialization; toolbars and status bars; graphics; and projects. Week Three examines the more involved aspects of Visual C++ and Windows applications.
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Top customer reviews
For readers who are writing Windows applications using Visual C++, the author has done a pretty good job of overviewing how to develop with Visual Studio. He begins with the simplest features of Visual Studio, and builds up to more advanced features, to the extent possible in Visual Studio. Some features of Visual Studio are so entrenched at all levels of the package that it is difficult to separate them out, being themselves advanced features, at early stages in the book. This is readily apparent in the author's use of the "WinExec' function instead of the "CreateProcess" function, since the latter is deemed to complicated for the beginning reader. The Class Wizard and AppWizard are brought in early on, no doubt to encourage the reader to become adept at using them as soon as possible. The major goal of the book then is to get the reader to create a Windows application as soon as possible.
Some helpful and useful discussions in the book include: 1. The Q&A section at the end of the chapter, wherein the author attempts to anticipate a typical reader's questions after they have finished the chapter. 2. The review sections at the end of each week, detailing to readers just what they are expected to know before moving on. 3. Binary attribute flags, for memory-senstive applications that need window and control capabilities. 4. The creation of custom dialog windows; the author is very detailed here and he also shows the role of the MFC class library in creating these. 5. ActiveX controls are introduced fairly early, and this is good considering their importance and pervasiveness in current applications. 6. How to make application objects serializable using the CArchive class and Serialize function. Performance and legacy issues with serialization dictate that particular attention be made to this discussion. 7. Database access and updating. Performance issues involved in database access again make this discussion mandatory reading for those who are involved in these kinds of applications, particularly for database applications that are used in a client/server configuration with a database server that is accessed over a wide-area network. The author does not discuss these issues unfortunately, but ADO, which is used to build a database application in the book, has had performance problems in the past. 8. The creation of library modules and dynamic link libraries. For creating software for scientific purposes where classes should be used from one application to another, this discussion is particularly appropriate. The author also spends a small amount of time on how to create test applications to test these modules. In addition, he shows how to convert a regular DLL so that it can be used by applications not created with Visual Studio. The author mentions that in the design of DLLs one must insure that they be "threadsafe". Multithreading in C++ however is not a subject that is usually encountered in a course on C++, so this inclusion may cause difficulty for some readers. This is alleviated somewhat in a later discussion on threads. 9. How to add multitasking to applications. Multithreading again makes its appearance here, but in this case the author spends more time on explaining the origin and need for it. The author details a fun example of multithreading that involves four spinning color wheels. 10. The discussion on creating Internet applications. Although the author does not dicuss performance issues in creating these, he does give some basic background on how actually to program them.
In a nutshell: the book has a lot of merit but I suggest that it is used to complement other titles and once you are happy with its limitations it's probably worth considering. Also, as the entire book and source code are free on the web ...I seriously suggest you try before you buy:
THE BAD POINTS
1. The book's lack colours, poor layout, cheap paper, inconsistency in the use of Hungarian notation and annoying phrases such as "well done! you have learned a lot today", only serve to irritate the reader.
2. The amount coding mistakes are inexcusable even though there are some errata on the SAMS web site but this is not a full list.
3. The author often switches from a top-down to a bottom-up approach of writing code. You start writing classes, functions, declaring variables etc without any explanation as to why. A review of the chapter is ultimately necessary.
4. There are several cases of macros, call back functions etc just appearing in the code without any description yet some of the simplest concepts are over described.
5. Some key concepts which are at the very foundation of MFC are unclear or not are discussed well.
6. The 37 page chapter on C++ is far too small to be of any use and should be left out as it's a book on VC++. Every VC programmer would have their own books on C++.
7. The 'Quiz' and 'Exercises' are too simple to test yourself on your ability to absorb the chapter.
8. The 21 day style of the book is over ambitious as the author must assume that you will absorb 100% of every chapter. Also some days contain more than twice the number of pages as others.
9. The format is more 'click this', 'type that' and so on thus the reader simply ends up copying the code into the editor.
10. The appendix follows a different style than the rest of the book and the some sections appear to be included as the author has used up his 21 day allocation.
11. Many variables are declared as public thus not employing good OO style approach.
THE GOOD POINTS
1. The book does provide good complete introductory examples which allow the user to see real workings of a project. I have always found that there are too many books, although excellent references provide no working examples thus making difficult in integrate the topics into your own code.
2. Most of the introductory topics are introduced, albeit lightly, but they do at least provide you with working examples to start your own projects.
3. Some of the chapters in the appendices are quite good and have a different writing style and flow that the rest of the book. However, I just realised that these are taken directly from Jon Bates's far superior book 'Using Visual C++ 6'.
4. The near 800 odd pages mislead you into believing that you cover a lot more than you actually do. 'Using Visual C++ 6' or 'Practical Visual C++' covers a lot more and has perfectly good examples to match in a similar number of pages.
5. The entire book including text and examples (which all appear to work!) are available for download on [website] which make it easy for searching and give the user the option of trying the book before he/she buys it.
6. You do get productive quickly which makes it a great companion to other VC++ books.
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