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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:
Borland C++ Builder How-To
Author:
J. Miano&T. Cabanski&H. Howe
ISBN:
1 57169 109 X
Publisher:
Waite Group
Pages:
822pp+CD
Price:
£46-95
Reviewer:
Nigel Dickens
Subject:
borland; advanced c++
Appeared in:
10-4
This is a big book, 822 pages plus a CD. The cover states that it is written for intermediate and advanced programmers and that is certainly true. It is a reference book presented in a question and answer format, dealing with 120 problems.

Each section begins by posing a question, 'How do I...', followed by a section entitled 'Problem' which expands on the question, outlining the difficulty by explaining the circumstances which gave rise to it. 'Technique' then outlines what is to be done and 'Steps' takes you through the solution in great detail, with diagrams and code listings. 'How it Works' explains why the various steps were necessary and finally 'Comments' has tips and suggestions, often giving reasons and solutions for unexpected events that may occur when the outlined program is run.

On the whole it is very thorough. Many solutions, such as placing a horizontal scroll bar on a list box require the use of Windows API functions. This example and others like determining how much system memory is available may be familiar to experienced Windows programmers but they are, I think, undocumented in C++ Builder. Some solutions such as creating BDE aliases at runtime and creating multi-page dialogues are lurking somewhere, or at least hinted at in the C++ Builder documentation, but other How-tos are easily available in the program help files.

This last group may seem to diminish the usefulness of the book but I think they are worth including all the same. For example, the Exception class hierarchy is described (together with using the non-standard Microsoft structured exception handling for hardware exceptions) as is using the C++ Builder String class. Having this sort of information at your fingertips can save a lot of time. Unfortunately the 'How it Works' section on strings begins

'unlike most other programming languages in widespread use, C and C++ do not have a string data type.'.

The index is good but I found the contents more useful. Each How-To grouped under chapter headings like 'Mouse and Menu' or 'Threads' identifies areas of interest quite clearly.

The main problem with this very good book is the price. At£46.95 you would have to ask if your need really is that great.