Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition
Why Does 2+2 = 5986?
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 1997
Pages: 456

There are lots of introductory C books, but this is the first one that has the no-nonsense, practical approach that has made Nutshell Handbooks® famous.C programming is more than just getting the syntax right. Style and debugging also play a tremendous part in creating programs that run well and are easy to maintain. This book teaches you not only the mechanics of programming, but also describes how to create programs that are easy to read, debug, and update.Practical rules are stressed. For example, there are fifteen precedence rules in C (&& comes before || comes before ?:). The practical programmer reduces these to two:

  • Multiplication and division come before addition and subtraction.
Contrary to popular belief, most programmers do not spend most of their time creating code. Most of their time is spent modifying someone else's code. This books shows you how to avoid the all-too-common obfuscated uses of C (and also to recognize these uses when you encounter them in existing programs) and thereby to leave code that the programmer responsible for maintenance does not have to struggle with. Electronic Archaeology, the art of going through someone else's code, is described.This third edition introduces popular Integrated Development Environments on Windows systems, as well as UNIX programming utilities, and features a large statistics-generating program to pull together the concepts and features in the language.
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oreillyPractical C Programming, 3rd Edition

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(10 of 13 customers found this review helpful)


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By apotheon

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      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      I used the book to refamiliarize myself with C after years away. I'm an experienced developer in other languages, without which this book might have proved difficult because of flaws in presentation. Some practices and explanations in it are woefully out of date. Another reviewer's complaint about buggy examples misses the fact the author asks the reader to find and fix those bugs along the way. It covers a lot of important matters for C programming, and with some good programming experience in other languages this book is an adequate -- but not excellent -- introduction to C.

      I wrote a more detailed, thoughtful, and probably helpful review than this, but will not post it here because PowerReviews requires me to assign copyright for any review I share here. Too bad.

      (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)


      One of the best!!


      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      I've been programming for over 12 years now in a multitude of different languages like C, C++, MATLAB, and JAVA to name a few. I remember when I took my first C class, and the problems that I came across as a young student. The books that we used in school were filled with jargon (so I thought at the time). Why was it jargon, one might ask? This is because we couldn't understand it. The ideas and concepts (at the time) were difficult to grasp (for a first-timer) and moreover, we had little or no help at all. This book will help you UNDERSTAND the "how to's", "when to's" and "why to's" in C programming.

      This book encompasses the most basic fundamental rules of programming in C and stresses the importance of 'Style'. The use of comments, proper indentation and appropriate debugging is also described in detail.

      I really like the book because Steve has made an effort to simplify programming in C. Novice programmers expect to have easy access to solutions (i.e. complete programs that compile and "work"). However, the approach that Steve has taken is, in my opinion, the best. There are some programs in the book that compile and run without any errors (or warnings). That is to say that they are complete. There are others which are incomplete. With whatever little experience I have, I can say that he has done this intentionally so that you work on your programs step-by-step. It can be a struggle to complete the programs, but the effort will pay off eventually.

      I also like the fact that he has made the effort to point out how a simple mistake (or exclusion) can mess up your entire program. Like for example 5-10 (3rd edition 1997), where we have a program to calculate the area of a triangle. An end comment (*/) is excluded which gives you errors.

      In an ideal world, one can expect solutions to every problem and any situation. In the "real" world, a programmer is faced with a host of problems when programming and solutions are not always available. One has to be creative to come up with a solution. This book teaches you to do that.

      I think I've made my point. I'll just leave the curious readers with this:

      For those who are looking to learn, be creative and are motivated to become good programmers, I highly recommend this book. Its one of the best! GOOD LUCK. :)


      Recommended book

      By duchuy

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      This book is perfect, especially when you had prior experience with other program languages like Java, etc.

      I tried some other C books, like the one of K&R, and some other older stuff, which did not attract me as much as this book.

      As the book stated earlier, this is a practical favours, and not it doesnot focus muchh on the concepts and definitions. Instead, it walks reader to explore the usage of C syntax and styles. It requires reader of having prior programming experience.

      The main focus of the book was on the pointers, structs, preprocessors and file I/O handling.

      I skipped some parts like Bit fields (chap 11), Floating points (chap 16). However, the chapters dedicated for practical knowledge and building small, real-life applications (chap 7, chap 15, chap 18, chap 20) didnot suffice and a bit hard to read. On the other hand, the old-C compilers is a bit helpless, since now it's hard to find 'ancient' C compiler and write program compatiable with them.

      The author missed some things which in turn confused me: The file_format designing is quite trivial. Also, it was published in 1997, then a bit date so far, and I must take time to choose a nice IDE to develop C programs on this book (Dev-C++ is quite good).

      Anyway, I enjoy the way the author mentioned and represented problems. Always, most exercises werenot too difficult. The definitions were well-depicted that aided reader in better understanding. This book also affected on the way I make comments and arrange programs.

      After all, reading this book guided me to explore the C++ book of this author.

      (7 of 10 customers found this review helpful)


      This book is not for the Beginner !

      By Mark Lemoine

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      This is my first C programming book and to be honest, I find this book to be difficult in its exercises.

      Many of the exercises are vague and few express to the reader what the author is actually looking for.

      I am a college student, who has wanted to throw this frustrating book on several occaisions and its usually after I have taken problems I have played with for an entire day ( or Days) to my instructor, and it takes him hours to figure out how to resolve the problems

      In General I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who didn't have previous experience with C programming. A lot of the problems I have dealt could have been solved with One little solution -- The Authors ansewers to the Authors Exercises.

      I'm not lazy and I don't want you to give me anything but when you totally lose me I'd like an answer so I can see where I went astray.

      (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


      Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition Review

      By Munky

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      Reviewer: Munky


      The Book:

      Practical C Programming

      By Steve Oualline

      451 pages

      3rd Edition August 1997

      ISBN: 1-56592-306-5

      Book Link:

      This book covers a great range of information on C programming. It can be read by programmers of any level of experience. I happen to know some C and am very comfortable with programming and found that the beginning few chapters really would have been helpful to me a few years back. The book starts with a detailed description of C and how it came to be, also an entire chapter is devoted to the novice programmer. It covers the simple topics of acquiring and installing a compiler. It also focuses on some key

      programming concepts.

      The next part of the book features a lengthy section on the style of C

      programming. Once one understands the simple chapter, they move on to

      actual C programming. The author begins speaking of declarations and

      simple properties of C.

      The rest of that part continues to build on the previous principles.

      Everything in the book is cumulative and must be known in order to xontinue. The book continues to arrays, then loops, and then the actual

      methods a programmer should take in developing programs.

      The second part of the book is more advanced than the first. It contains

      for, while and switch statements. As well as how to program C in a

      structured manner. Finally the book concludes with advanced topics of

      structures, pointers, file manipulation, and modular programming.

      This book is an invaluable resource to the novice and advanced C programmer. I recommend it for all skill levels as both a learning aid and a reference guide. It deserves a nice place on my shelf next to the large group of O'Reilly books already there!

      (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


      Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition Review

      By William

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      This book is absolutely superb.

      Oualline comprehensively details the C programming language and how to use it practically. Following the style and usage emphasized throughout this book will result in clear, robust, and (most importantly) buffer overflow-free code. If you are learning C, I wholeheartedly recommend this book, either instead of, or (at the very least) in addition to, the K&R.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


      Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition Review

      By Kenneth Wilcox

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      WHERE WAS THIS BOOK WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL!!!! Back when I was in school we had a book from another publisher that seemed to make C more confusing than it should have been. Steve Oualline does an Excellent job of simplifying the explanation of a rather complex language. As scarry as this may sound, this book actually makes C sound like fun. I only have two gripes about this book. 1) It wasn't the text book I used in school. I know it's not directly O'Reilly's fault, I just hope other instructors read this book and evaluate it for their classes. 2) That some of the programming exercises are a little vague. The answers to them are not in the book or the companion web site so it could frustrate readers that would like to increase their skills, but are unsure of what the question is or how to solve it.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


      Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition Review

      By Jeff Pierquet

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      Practical C Programming was a nice surprise for me. It is the epitome of what I expect from an O'Reilly book. Steve Oualline's writing style is very clear, and makes for quick, easy reading, while covering all the bases of the language.

      Where K&R might have spent two paragraphs and a skimpy example of a new concept, Oualline really explains the example. While the bit on pointers in K&R is heavy reading for those who don't know lower level languages, and plain confusing at worst, this book makes them easy, giving examples, tables, and illustrations that clarify actual their actual usages.

      Having spent several weeks trying to get through K&R in my spare time as a beginner to C, it's refreshing to pick up a book twice it's size and read it in four days. The writing style is that good, and the clarity of the examples is as well. Throughout the author emphasizes good style, and shows it himself in his examples.

      The bottom line is that it was not only a great book that made me feel very confident with C, but that was actually fun to read as well. I am glad that I found it when I did.

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


      Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition Review

      By Kristy

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      A great book! Covers a lot, and is written in plain english that is easy to understand. Should include a quick reference though, but is highly recommended.

      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


      Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition Review

      By Cameron

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Practical C Programming, 3rd Edition:

      My first O'Reilly book and so far, it's the best. This book is simply incredible (I don't own the camel book yet though... :)).

      I think this book is wonderful for beginners. As for advanced programmers, I am not one myself so I can't comment on that. How other people have not liked this book is beyond me. The book is written in such a way that it's actually fun to read. Great examples, the book explains things in a way that you can understand. I've learned more about C from this book than I did in my semester of beginning C++.

      I 100% recommend this book!

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