July 6, 2004

Review of 'Beginning C'

Author: TechBookReport

TBR writes "Ivor Horton's Beginning Java 2 is a firm favourite and one of the titles often recommended to Java newbies. It's well-written, has lots of interesting examples and is particularly good for those who have no prior programming experience. The same can be said of this new edition of 'Beginning C'.

Like the Java book, this is a title that is aimed as much at the reader who is new to programming rather than to the experienced developer who wants to pick up a new language. As such the book aims to point out all the elements of good programming practice: clear coding style, structured code, flow charts and other diagrams, good use of comments. Furthermore the book makes no assumptions, so the reader is guided gently into learning about looping, conditional execution, the use of variables and functions and so on. While this may be going over old ground to anybody who has used a different language it's essential to the beginner.

While the introduction to programming material is more common in the early chapters of the book, it doesn't disappear in the later chapters. However, as the book proceeds the emphasis moves much more to the core of the C language. The coverage is very thorough, particularly when compared to a lighter introduction such as C Programming In Easy Steps. Horton doesn't shy away from looking at material often considered tricky, particularly when it comes to pointers. Unlike a number of introductory books, the treatment here is very thorough, and covers the use of arrays of pointers and pointers to functions as well as the basic usage of pointers. Similarly the book doesn't skip on using memory allocation functions, (malloc and co), unlike some introductions.

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