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Practical C++ Programming, 2nd Edition Steve Oualline
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
ISBN:0-596-00419-2
574 pages
£ 28.50
Published: 3rd January 2003
reviewed by Peter Waller
   in the June 2003 issue (pdf), (html)
bookcover  

When I picked up Practical C++ I was very sceptical, I've read numerous books aimed at beginner/intermediate readers and very few of them left any lasting impression on me. This book however, did! It's an excellent book, and it feels like it's written by a programmer and not an academic as most tend to. Not only are you going to learn about C++ in the easiest way possible, you're going to learn a lot of tips from someone who's been developing in C++ a long time.

This is not a Windows-oriented book, although there is a mention of Visual C++ in chapter 1, it focuses a lot more on the gcc tools, and I found the chapter on debugging in gdb invaluable. There is also some material on optimisation, when and how to apply it. There are questions at the end of the chapters (with answers) which are always fun to test your knowledge. The chapter on Linked Lists was also well written and demonstrated, a lot of people often find Linked Lists difficult, and it's well backed up with an excellent chapter on pointers. However, I thought the class on fixed-point was overkill, on FPUless machines I tend to use macros for simplicity and speed. There is also a lot of mention of C and sometimes you get the feeling that some knowledge of C is required. But I can't say enough good things about this book, it covers a lot more than C++, and it has a whole chapter on program design. This book is all you need to get started with C++. The title says Practical C++ and I'd say it's very practical. Highly recommended.

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