REVIEW - Computing Concepts with C++ Essentials

Title:

Computing Concepts with C++ Essentials

Author:

Cay S. Horstmann

ISBN:

0471318477

Publisher:

Wiley (1998)

Pages:

704pp

Reviewer:

Francis Glassborow

Reviewed:

April 1999

Rating:

★★☆☆☆

I think he has a sane balance between using the language and understanding it.

This book is not perfect (what book ever is?) but it is in a totally different class from Savitch' Problem Solving with C++. This is fairly moderate revision and updating of a book that was already better than average. In two thirds of the space of Savich' book he has packs in far more. Potential monotony is broken up with sidebars that are sometimes way off topic, but they serve the purpose of keeping the interest from flagging. In addition he clearly identifies extras such as quality and productivity tips, advanced topics and common errors.

I think he has a sane balance between using the language and understanding it. You will not learn how to write your own templates (there is a small item hidden away in the chapter on Data Structures but not enough to be useful) here but you will learn to use those in the Standard Library.

string
as a specialisation of
basic_string
is introduced early and used consistently.

Sadly with so much good I must report a fall from grace when he comes to tackle a polymorphic hierarchy he completely forgets about destructors and the need for making them

virtual
.

This book could also have done with a more rigorous technical review, and I hope that it gets such as part of a process of producing a third edition. The faults are correctable without a major rewrite. It is not the book that I would write but it is a worthy effort that will do student readers much more good than harm.

The author set out to write a good textbook on simple programming with C++ as the tool. He did not set out to write a comprehensive text on C++ and I can find no fault with that. This is a book that is well worth considering for a university (or senior school) course on programming with C++ as long as all concerned clearly recognise its objectives. Use this book for starters and then study something such as The C++ Primer 3rd edition or The C++ Programming Language 3rd edition and you will be ready to develop your expertise with some of the excellent intermediate to advanced books that are being published.


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.