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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
C++ From the Beginning
Author:
Jan Skansholm
ISBN:
0 201 40377 3
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Pages:
538pp
Price:
£21-95
Reviewer:
Christer Loefving
Subject:
beginner's c++
Appeared in:
10-1
To write a book about C++ aimed for beginners is not an easy task, but this is a real good one. Jan Skansholm is a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Chalmers University in Sweden and has also written 'Ada 95 from the beginning'. He does not require any previous experience of C from the reader and really starts from scratch by explaining how a computer and a program works.

There is a short but interesting history of OOP and the process of developing a program is described in detail, without expecting any previous knowledge of programming from the student.

After 185 pages (of a total of 537) the author starts to explain object- oriented program development. I have never before seen topics like pointers and inheritance explained in such a clear and easy to understand way. The code examples are clean and compact. I think the samples have to be short when trying to explain such a difficult language as C++. The book's value is enhanced by the small information windows with syntax and/or explanation of different C++ statements. These Windows are collected in a index of their own at the end of the book. For me, this title will also find use as a handy pocket reference beside the computer.

The newer features of the C++ programming language are well covered. For example, the topic of exceptions is treated in its own chapter. However, I don't like the authors idea of collecting the

switch
statement,
do
statement and the
conditional
operator in a last chapter for the reason that they did not 'fit in anywhere else in the book'. Of course the
do
statement should have been introduced together with the
while
and
for
loops and the
conditional
operator in the same scope as
if-else.

There is a collection of good exercises after most of the chapters, but in spite of that, I think the speed in this book (after the first chapters) will make it hard to read for the real beginner. Maybe making it more suitable for programmers with experience from some other language, requiring a thorough introduction to C++. However, this title is well worth itsprice.