November 16, 2004

Review of 'C++ Without Fear'

TBR writes "Just in case the title doesn't alert you, the cuddly purple monster on the front cover should be enough to tell you that this is a C++ designed for the complete beginner. That's right, C++ for the complete beginner rather than for someone who has already programmed in another language. This is a laudable enough aim, there are no good reasons why someone new to programming shouldn't start with C++. However, as with all introductory titles for all languages, there are pitfalls to be wary of. The first is the tendency to try and hide complexity and pretend that everything is easy or straightforward. The alternative is to blind with science and leave the naïve reader struggling to keep up. There's a happy medium which many of the best intro titles manage to reach. Unfortunately the fluffy purple monster that adorns the cover of this one is a poor omenâ¦

The author assumes absolutely no prior knowledge of programming, so in the first few chapters he introduces both C++ and basic program constructs: data types, looping, flow control, functions etc. The text is very snappy, and good use is made of simple examples that illustrate the point. There's a fair amount of repetition in that each code snippet is broken down and examined in some detail, even if the detail only re-iterates what has already been covered. This can get fairly annoying after a while, but there are those who may find the repetition useful. In addition the text includes frequent 'interludes' which cover more advanced topics or material that is slightly peripheral to the main text."


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