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C++ in a nutshell Ray Lischner
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
808 pages
£ 28.50
Published: 23rd May 2003
reviewed by John Collins
   in the December 2003 issue (pdf), (html)

This is a very comprehensive and carefully written reference manual for C++ for the ISO 14882 standard covering the language and the standard library in the two halves of the book. An appendix covers features of well-known implementations, including Microsoft and GNU. There is a glossary of terms just before the very detailed index.

I thought that the language description section was very clear with some good examples of what is being described and some interesting ``tricks'' such as recursive templates. It has icons to signify tips and warnings for the user which are helpful, especially in the area of portability.

I really liked the standard library reference section which is far better laid out than Stroustrup's book in my opinion. At last I have everything I might want to do with strings or streams in the one place an in a nice alphabetical order rather than having to put lots of little coloured markers on the edges of pages like I have in my copy of Stroustrup. My particular ``gripe'' with Stroustrup is that you often have to go to the definition of one container type in a different chapter to work out how to use a particular function with another type.

The library section describes various C library functions properly as well which in ``real life'' you have to use as well as the C++ style of working. I found myself using it ``in anger'' in the course of this review for a program I was writing and found it really easy to find what I wanted.

I am sure C++ users will be glad of this book which I would very much recommend. You'll probably want to get the Stroustrup ``bible'' as well, but this is definitely clearer and easier to follow if you're in a hurry and you'll probably find an example of just what you need.

Definitely a good book, and very comprehensive for one describing itself as being ``in a nutshell''.

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