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C in a Nutshell


Learning a language–any language–involves a process wherein you learn to rely less and less on instruction and more increasingly on the aspects of the language you’ve mastered. Whether you’re learning French, Java, or C, at some point you’ll set aside the tutorial and attempt to converse on your own. It’s not necessary to know every subtle facet of French in order to speak it well, especially if there’s a good dictionary available. Likewise, C programmers don’t need to memorize every detail of C in order to write good programs. What they need instead is a reliable, comprehensive reference that they can keep nearby. C in a Nutshell is that reference.

This long-awaited book is a complete reference to the C programming language and C runtime library. Its purpose is to serve as a convenient, reliable companion in your day-to-day work as a C programmer. C in a Nutshell covers virtually everything you need to program in C, describing all the elements of the language and illustrating their use with numerous examples.

The book is divided into three distinct parts. The first part is a fast-paced description, reminiscent of the classic Kernighan & Ritchie text on which many C programmers cut their teeth. It focuses specifically on the C language and preprocessor directives, including extensions introduced to the ANSI standard in 1999. These topics and others are covered:

  • Numeric constants
  • Implicit and explicit type conversions
  • Expressions and operators
  • Functions
  • Fixed-length and variable-length arrays
  • Pointers
  • Dynamic memory management
  • Input and output

The second part of the book is a comprehensive reference to the C runtime library; it includes an overview of the contents of the standard headers and a description of each standard library function. Part III provides the necessary knowledge of the C programmer’s basic tools: the compiler, the make utility, and the debugger. The tools described here are those in the GNU software collection.

C in a Nutshell is the perfect companion to K&R, and destined to be the most reached-for reference on your desk.

Table of Contents
Part I: Language
Chapter 1. Language Basics
Chapter 2. Types
Chapter 3. Literals
Chapter 4. Type Conversions
Chapter 5. Expressions and Operators
Chapter 6. Statements
Chapter 7. Functions
Chapter 8. Arrays
Chapter 9. Pointers
Chapter 10. Structures and Unions and Bit-Fields
Chapter 11. Declarations
Chapter 12. Dynamic Memory Management
Chapter 13. Input and Output
Chapter 14. Preprocessing Directives

Part II: Standard Library
Chapter 15. The Standard Headers
Chapter 16. Functions at a Glance

Part III: Basic Tools
Chapter 18. Compiling with GCC
Chapter 19. Using make to Build C Programs
Chapter 20. Debugging C Programs with GDB

Book Details

  • Paperback: 622 pages
  • Publisher: O’Reilly Media (December 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596006977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596006976
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