REVIEW - ANSI/ISO C++ Professional Programmer's Handbook


ANSI/ISO C++ Professional Programmer's Handbook


Danny Kalev



Que Pub (1999)




Francis Glassborow


June 2000



I wish the publishers had not stated that the author is a member of the ISO/ANSI C++ Standards Committees as it lends more authority to his work than it deserves. To the best of my knowledge the author has never attended a meeting of WG21&J16. That is not to say that there is no justification for the statement. Kalev is listed as an observer and is entitled to participate in any of the C++ Standards reflectors that he wishes to, however his is not a name that springs to mind as an active participant (I do take almost all the C++ Standards reflectors and think I am reasonably familiar with the active participants). I am only mentioning this because I think readers should ignore this part of the information on the back cover. On the other hand two of the three members of the Technical Validation Group (TVG) are active members of the C++ Standards Committees so you can be reasonably certain that the technical content is basically sound (though not perfect). For example the author seems to believe that implicit

is deprecated, it is not because we actually removed it from the language (as did C in its latest version).

There are other places that leave me less than happy. For example on page 76 I find the following constructor definition:

Person(const char* name = NULL				, int  age = 0) {}
Look at that line carefully. That is more than a typo, and the faults (one fatal and the other contrary to all texts on C++ style) suggest very strongly to me that the TVG never looked at the text in detail. In other words you would be wrong to assume that the text carries the full endorsement of the members of the TVG. If you think I am being picky, on the same page in a section titled Blocking Object Copying he shows that he does not understand the full method because he provides inline definitions (not just declarations) for the
access copy constructor and assignment operator.

The end result is that we have a book that is very much a curates egg (good in parts and rotten elsewhere). I am afraid that wipes it out for its target readership. If you know enough to know the good from the bad, you know enough not to need this book. I strongly recommend that the publishers get the book fully technically reviewed and then publish a substantially rewritten second edition. There is enough good to be worth salvaging but there is too much bad mixed with it to justify its price.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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