Mentor for C self study wanted

james oscartheduck at
Fri Oct 26 07:09:33 PDT 2007

On Thu, 2007-10-25 at 23:19 +0200, Harald Schmalzbauer wrote:
> Am Donnerstag, 25. Oktober 2007 20:22:26 schrieb Aryeh M. Friedman:
> > > Absolutely.  (I just didn't mention it before because
> > > obviously Harald already has a beginner's book on the
> > > C programming language.)
> >
> > Herald does in fact have one that sucks (it does a terrible job on type
> > sizes for example [doesn't mention that they may very on different
> Well, probably it's not that bad.
> First, thanks to all for your help.
> K&R has been laying arround here for at least 2 years. I hated it.
> It instructs me to use functions like printf without explaining it, and the 
> examples are not really motivating. So every time I tried to write something 
> on my own I was stoped by the simple printf, for example.


No, but seriously, it took me a good three years of picking up K&R and
trying to get through the first chapter before I eventually started
seeing why it's referred to as *the* book.
> I'm sure it's a very good book as a reference, but it couldn't motivate me as 
> a real C beginner (not a bloody programming beginner though).
But if it doesn't work for you, that's okay :) It *is* a good reference,
though. There's annotation for the standard libraries in an appendix.

> So I bought two new books, the first, which I've started with, 
> is "Markt+Technik, jetzt lerne ich C" (ISBN-13 978-3-8272-4210-5).
> Indeed, it hasn't made clear that short and int are different, they just 
> explained short and long (and double long) and I thought short is a synonym 
> for int.
> But it explains in some short sentences the most important 
> behaviour/requirements for the functions we use. It still leaves me alone 
> when it comes to compilers, but after only three evenings so far I think that 
> I made real progress. Writing a simple practice just works :)
> And I already know that float x; x=10/3 is 3 not 3.3333. I can't remember 
> reading that in the K&R in the first quarter of the book.
> I'm still quiet happy with it.
> The next book is O'Reillys C in a nutshell (ISBN 3-89721-344-3). I'll open it 
> if I have structs and pointers practiced...
If you've got the cash to spare, try out O'Reilly's "Practical C
Programming". That book is very friendly, contains a tonne of great
examples, and a lot of on the spot quizzes. 

I was sold on it when I read the rear cover. It says something like:
"K&R teaches there are nine rules of precedence in C. We teach two: the
first is that addition comes before subtraction, the second is use
parentheses for everything else."

That kind of simplicity isn't something you see everywhere.

> And of course I'll "replay" the K&R if I have some more basics.
> Thanks,
> -Harry
> > machines])... since he is paying me a small amount to help him in detail
> > I am going to recommend K&R to him (with the caution is is meant for
> > experienced programmers)

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