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Keywords: C, gcc, runtime library

Title: C In A Nutshell

Authors: Peter Prinz and Tony Crawford

Publisher: O'Reilly

ISBN: 0596006977

Media: Book

Level: Reference

Verdict: If you need a C reference then this is recommended


'C In A Nutshell' is a single volume resource that provides the C programmer with a comprehensive language reference, details of the standard run-time libraries and documentation of key tools (the gcc compiler, make and the GDB debugger). For the practicing C programmer this is core material, covering pretty much all of the essentials for day-to-day use.

While the language syntax, data types and program construction all are covered in the first part of the book, this doesn't really function as a proper language tutorial. Sure, a programmer familiar with Java, for example, could probably get enough to start programming in C, for an absolute beginner this isn't the place to start. The writing is terse and to the point, a lot like C itself in fact, and this enables the authors to pack in a hefty amount of material. Coverage extends to the ANSI 1999 C standard (and C99 specific material is clearly flagged throughout).

The second part of the book covers the standard headers and run-time libraries. This is the part of the book that most programmers will find most useful. Like a lot of languages it is relatively easy to grasp the core syntax and essential concepts of C (such as pointers, dynamic memory mapping etc), and it's the contents of the libraries that you are more likely to want a reference for.

The third and final section of the book looks at the core programming tools - the compiler, make and the debugger. The authors wisely stick to the GNU toolset rather than focus on the wider range of commercial and closed source tools available. Note that there is no coverage of integrated development environments, the emphasis is on the command-line tools.

The range of material covered is ideal for the practicing C developer. If you need a C reference then this is recommended.

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Contents © TechBookReport 2006. Published February 9 2006