Author: Larry Ullman
Publisher: Peachpit Press, 2004
Aimed at: Complete beginners
Pros: Clear introduction to C
Cons: All text-based applications
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead
This is a very “classical” approach to learning a language. It doesn’t try to be gimmicky, instead it’s a slow-paced introduction to programming assuming that you know nothing. In fact it almost assumes that you are slightly slow witted but there is a well known maxim of “never over estimate your audience” and C isn’t a language designed for the complete beginner. It isn’t specific to any particular C compiler and it suggests a number of free to download and use compilers and IDEs.
The book’s slow pace is made up for a little by the comments and asides which actually work in that they draw your attention to common misconceptions and subtleties. Short and simple examples are introduced step-by-step with a high degree of clarity. Even difficult topics like pointers, header files, memory management and the pre-processor are introduced in ways that make them seem simple and logical. Of course much of this simplicity is achieved by avoiding anything difficult. You will find out all you need to know about writing console-based applications but graphics or GUIs are beyond the scope of this book, as is the wider issue of using APIs. Equally there is no mention of object-orientation or C++ of which modern C has to be regarded as a subset. While this is a very sound exposition, it deals with last year’s technology. Even so, if you need a very basic introduction to C for a complete beginner then this is a good choice.