REVIEW - C++ Programmer's Notebook - An Illustrated Quick Reference


C++ Programmer's Notebook

An Illustrated Quick Reference


James Edward Keogh



Prentice Hall Ptr (1998)




Francis Glassborow


April 1998



This is the kind of book that makes me very angry. No one responsible for it seems to have taken their jobs seriously. My dislike of the typography and layout is probably entirely personal but what can be said about production staff who allow an apostrophe to be replaced byĆ­(that is an i with an accent) not once but many times. No proofreader can make this kind of error, it stands up and shouts to be noticed.

What about the technical reviewers? The book is littered with errors ranging from the mildly irritating claim that 123456E3 was equivalent to 1234.56 (missed decimal point, but several times) through errors such as

is not needed because it is the default for all types (Oh no it isn't for
) and the claim that on PCs that
s are 16-bit (the copyright date on this book is 1998!) While I do not expect anyone to be able to list the operators of C++ completely, I do expect a technical reviewer to notice when an author completely omits three precedence levels (well actually he has missed more because he has injected rankings that don't exist. He has missed about half the operators (and I'm not counting the new ones such as
typeid, throw,
and the new style casts).

The author puts C++ in the title and claims complete coverage. There is no mention of exception handling, namespaces or any of the keywords introduced in the last four years. He completely ignores the Standard C++ Library while spending considerable time on some aspects of the C Library.

This is not a book about C++, not the 1997 version nor the 1985 version. It just might be a book about C with classes. The authors understanding of C is on the thin side and his grasp of C++ is less than that which I expect someone attending one of my courses to have achieved by the end of the third day.

In simple terms this book should never have been written, never have passed the proposal stage, never have got through a technical review and shames those responsible for its production. With a 1998 copyright it is a good justification for book burning. What really worries me about this book is the piece on the back cover about the author. If you see a copy of the book read the back cover and you will see what I mean. I only hope that he did not use C when developing mission critical systems for major Wall Street firms.

Sometimes people ask why I insist that C Vu attempt to review all books on C and C++. The reason is that I believe that we have a responsibility to good authors and well written books to expose the monsters that tarnish the reputation of computer books and haul C and C++ into a state of disrepute. The existence of bad books is damaging to both the respect for our work and the esteem in which C and C++ are held.

If you think that I am being too strong on this issue, remember that bad books not only misinform their readers but reduce the sales of good books. Novices who buy this book have that much less money and time to spend on books that would help them. Not only readers should be complaining about the rubbish, so should the authors. If you are an author and your publisher publishes a bad book complain loud and long - it is damaging your livelihood.- Francis Glassborow

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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