Practical C++ Programming

Ok, I know this isn’t technically a PHP book. However, Ray was gracious enough to get me this book for review, and I believe the book offers techniques and advice to just about any programmer, not just for C++.

Practical C++ Programming, like most O’Reilly books, is a top-notch technical book, with a focus on beginning programmers, but with enough readability to serve more experienced C++ coders. Steve Oualline does a great job of mixing technical, aesthetic, and design advice, spattered with small, amusing anecdotes and miniature quizzes. He uses examples effectively to reinforce standard programming concepts and gently nudge the reader along the sometimes painful path of C++.

The best aspect of the book isn’t the technical knowledge passed along by Oualline; it’s the more abstract things he tackles that truly separate it from other C++ books, such as object orientated and procedural design practice, styling and naming conventions, and the tools of programming that many books miss: Makefiles and a brief overview of debugging utilities. It’s refreshing to read a book that takes such points into account, and I found myself nodding in agreement in these sections.

As far as technical material, Oualline keeps up-to-date by including sections on fairly new and complex topics such as namespaces, STL, and templates, without alienating the reader. He uses code often to explain various points, keeping most examples small, but building to larger snippets and build on previous chapters smoothly. The ‘C to C++’ chapter in particular was excellent, and I think even C++ programmers could benefit from a quick overview of this section.

All in all, Practical C++ is an excellent book as a supplement to your generic C++ reference book, especially for those new to C++ programming or just coding in general. However, I think many, more experienced, programmers could also benefit from his gems of wisdom on various topics that he sprinkles throughout the book. I’ve come to expect the best from O’Reilly, and, again, I wasn’t disappointed.


Practical C++ Programming
Author: Steve Oualline
Publisher: O’Reilly Publishing
Published: 2002
ISBN: 0-596-00419-2
Rating: * * * *