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C++ Cookbook

Jeff Cogswell and Ray Lischner and Ryan Stephens
Published by O'Reilly Media
ISBN:0-596-00761-2
592 pages
£ 31.95
Published: 11 Nov 2005
reviewed by John Collins
   in the September 2006 issue (pdf), (html)
bookcover  

This book provides solutions to short C++ programming ``problems'' as ``problem'' and ``recipe'' format. I've never much cared for this format, which seems a poor substitute for understanding the language properly particularly for C++ with all its subtle nuances.

The first 100 pages are spent discussing how to build C++ programs and libraries using various compilers and operating systems which seem to me to fall outside the scope of a ``cookbook''. Then are presented fairly simple discussions of numeric conversions, string manipulation and dates and times. Then we skim over the standard library containers and algorithms before starting to discuss classes and exceptions. Next we skim over streams and files before discussion of some science and mathematical operations, a version of multithreading, some discussion of Unicode and finally XML handling using some XML libraries (but not libxml which I use).

I didn't like the order in which things were treated - talking about classes so late seems to me to defeat the whole point of C++. I didn't really feel that the treatment of standard containers (before the classes they might contain!) did a lot to help the user choose the right one. There was no treatment of templates even though the part at the beginning discusses the export of templates quite extensively. I thought that the early chapters were a bit basic and some of the later chapters just seemed to pick things to do out of the air. Handling XML is probably worth a book in itself -- I didn't think it was nearly complete enough.

I really didn't feel this book was too helpful for other than an introduction to some basic concepts.

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