REVIEW - The Visual C++ 5 Programmer's Reference - Windows 95/NT


The Visual C++ 5 Programmer's Reference

Windows 95/NT


Richard C. Leinecker



Ventana Press (1997)




Francis Glassborow


February 1998



How do you review a dictionary? Well certainly not by reading it from beginning to end (you may, but even having done so there would still be important questions left unanswered such as 'How easy is it to use?') Ideally you would use it for some time to see if it actually met your needs as a reference.

Please note the title. In the minds of many writing books about Visual C++ they are writing specifically about the Microsoft development package. This is true of this book. You will find hardly anything in it about C++ and nothing about the Standard C++ Library. The authors document MFC containers but not a whisper about STL ones. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you understand the book's aims. Of course some have grave reservations about writing code that leans so heavily on a proprietary library. It locks your investment into a specific company's operating systems. Put that to one side.

If you get tired of using on line help files to find your way round use of VC++ in a WIN32 environment you might elect to purchase this book. It aims to be a comprehensive reference on MFC and the ancillary material you need in order to understand your MFC code. It doesn't actually cover very much else in VC++ so if you want to know about profilers, code inspection tools etc. you will have to look elsewhere.

There is no index at the end of the book, this is replaced by a 'Jump Table' after the table of contents. The book includes a CD that contains an electronic copy of the text. Now what would you expect the jump table to do in this form? Wrong! It lists the text from the book but neither includes a reference to the relevant page nor provides a hypertext link. In other words it is completely useless. Apart from being able to carry the book as a CD when travelling I can think of no added value that this CD provides.

I think there are better alternatives.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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