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Slashdot: Who's Afraid Of C++? [Book Review]

Jun 20, 2000, 20:33 (0 Talkback[s])

"Breaking with traditional lecture-on-paper format, Heller demystifies computers, programming, and C++ for absolute beginners. That's right -- he recruited a full-fledged novice user, capable of little more than e-mail and word processing, and turned her into a decent programmer while reviewing this book. (She became Mrs. Heller shortly after that.) Any computer owner with time, the ability to follow directions, and the willingness to learn could also become a programmer."

"The resulting text is more of a collaboration, or a commentary. Steve, the author, presents his information and then Susan, the novice, interrupts to ask questions. The big gamble is that her questions are the same that the average reader would ask. It largely pays off, only occasionally belaboring a point. (To be fair, it could also be called 'reinforcing a point.')"

"Heller's writing is informal, but precise. Some might find it chatty, but beginners will find it more comforting than raw technical prose. His flow of topics makes sense (and does not copy the "Chapter two is everything to know about types, and chapter three is all about flow control" scheme other introductory teaching books steal from K&R). Little prior knowledge is necessary. Before actually programming, the book explores raw hardware, answering such questions as "What happens when you execute a program?", "What's a register and why is cache important?", and "How does source code turn into a running program?"

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