Jan 25, Herbert Schildt is the world's leading programming programming books have sold more than 3 million . C Is a Programmer's Language. Teach Yourself C By Herbert Schildt Teach Yourself C Details: site Sales Rank: # in In the world of programming, nothing stands still very long. Contribute to mohitsshetty/Computer-Engineering-Reference-Books development by creating an account on GitHub.
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Jan 25, About the Author. Herbert Schildt is the world's leading programming More specifically, this book fully describes Standard C++. This is the. Dec 17, In here I've added the most famous 5 books on C programming. As a starter Book 2 - C - The Complete Reference 4th Edition-Herbert-Schildt. C book. Read 8 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Whether you are a beginning C programmer or a seasoned pro, the answers to all you.
This was a common extension, which usually resulted in garbage values being returned to the calling environment, but some systems would magically act as though 0 had been returned.
In the 4th edition page , he has removed the claim, although he now states: If main does not explicitly return a value, the value passed to the calling process is technically undefined. In practice, most C compilers return 0, but do not rely on this if portability is a concern. A well-stated piece. Unfortunately, while covering C99, Schildt apparently missed that the C99 specification explicitly requires that the compiler make it look as though main returned 0 but see below for a pedantic interlude about this if execution reaches the end of the function without a return or exit.
On the other hand, many compilers still default to C89 mode, and do nothing of the sort. No other values may be portably used, though many systems establish additional conventions. In particular, exit 1 indicates success on at least one operating system, even though it's often used as an error indicator in Unix-like systems.
Still, somewhat improved. C99 sort of allows for non-int return types for main , in that it is implementation-defined whether other forms of main are accepted. If other forms are accepted, and they have a return type not compatible with int, the returned value if you fall off the end of main is unspecified. In the new edition, he correctly changed the open mode to "rb", making the behavior well-defined. However, he still uses exit 1 to get out of the program; see the preceding discussion on "Page ".
To be fair, though, I didn't catch that either. I don't object to this, and I don't have any reason to believe it was related to the criticism in C:TCN. Correcting the error would have made this a good example to help users understand what prototypes are for.
Removing it makes the claims about headers providing prototypes much less useful to the reader. C:TCN, "Page " C:TCN, "Page " Let's start with the 4th edition's description of getc , on page The getc function returns the next character from the specified input stream, and increments the file position indicator. The character is read as an unsigned char that is converted to an integer. If the end of the file is reached, getc returns EOF. However, since EOF is a valid integer value, you must use feof to check for the end-of-file condition.
If getc encounters an error, EOF is also returned. If working with binary files, you must use ferror to check for file errors. The problem is that he's just plain wrong. The key is that the character is converted to unsigned char and then to int.
On most systems, this guarantees a positive value—and EOF is a negative value there are theoretical exceptions, which I cover at the end of this subsection. There is no possibility of confusion if you use the right type for the return of getc. Note that the comment about "binary" files is also wrong; this has nothing to do with binary-mode files.
His sample program can fail with text-mode files too. There may well exist values which, converted to char, compare equal to EOF. At least, there may if char is signed. If char is unsigned, it is impossible for this loop to terminate, because no unsigned char will compare equal to EOF but see the upcoming Pedantry Break in the section on the "Page " comments.
Finally, last but not least, note that he does not check whether argc is at least 2 before trying to access argv, and he uses plain printf to display an error message, rather than taking the opportunity to show the reader what stderr is for.
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Here's where it gets interesting. That same warning is present in the 3rd edition, for both getc page and getchar page In the 4th edition, it's been removed from getchar but not from getc.
So what, you ask? The previous version of this document pointed out the error on page , but didn't mention the identical error on page A suspicious reader might note that it's conspicuous that most of the errors I pointed out on that page got fixed, but precisely identical wording and errors even two pages previously did not.
In fact, there are many more examples like this. With the wisdom of accumulated years of debugging, I consider it a pretty minor typo, but I do wish the 3rd edition had been better proofread. Glad to see it fixed, though. I complained about it. The new sentinel isn't really a big improvement, and the loop is still broken see Handling EOF for more on this.
They accept values in precisely the form that getchar returns them—converted to unsigned char and then to int. Converting back to char can break things. This is certainly a problematic design in C, but this is the sort of thing that a "Complete Reference" ought to point out about these functions. It sure would be cool if the language had provided some kind of magic sentinel value you could use to always determine that input was done and there were no more characters!
The whole section is an embarrassment. He has addressed the complaint in a purely literal fashion, in that the code no longer uses a space as a sentinel value, but he hasn't addressed the substance, which is that the loops should have been done using EOF to terminate.
The relevance of this is that, on such a machine, it is possible for int to still have its required range, but to be the same size as a char. Thus, on such a machine, there might exist at least one value of unsigned char such that, converted to int, it was a negative value, and compared equal to EOF. However, to the best of my knowledge, all such systems that have provided the getchar function and related functions have ensured that, in fact, the EOF value is distinct from any value which can actually be read from a file.
For instance, char could be a bit type, but you would still only see values when reading "characters" from a file. Schildt has no concept of what parentheses do. He writes, on page Parentheses are operators that increase the precedence of the operations inside them. The really great material on this was in the 3rd edition. It's missing in the fourth. While normally I would frown on simply removing material, it was bad enough that, yes, it is better to say nothing at all.
The way an order-of-evaluation error usually occurs is through changes to an existing statement. Say, however, that later you decide that x really needs the value pointed to by p squared. Schildt even knows better; he correctly states, on page 58 4th edition or page 56 3rd edition : This leaves the compiler free to rearrange an expression to produce more optimal code. However, it also means that your code should never rely on the order in which subexpressions are evaluated.
That's the 4th edition version; the 3rd edition is substantively identical. So, even back in the 3rd edition days, Schildt knew that order of evaluation is not guaranteed But then wrote the above nonsense.
In the 4th edition, the example for "Order-of-Evaluation Errors" is now an unexceptional example, which doesn't point out the much, much, more common problem of the sort of code he illustrated incorrectly in the previous edition. The new version page : The way an order-of-evaluation error usually occurs is through changes to an existing statement sequence. The reason is that the second way increments a before it is added to b.
This was not the case in the original code! This is not an atypical response; on the rare occasions when Schildt seems to have accepted that he made a mistake, he seems to be unwilling to genuinely correct it and produce a good example, but rather, takes the shortest path to something that won't get those complaints anymore, even if it's no longer remotely useful for teaching C. Interestingly, this looks to be one of the cases where the exact thing complained about in my older complaints about C:TCR has been addressed, but only in effect by removing the affected code.
The original point was to address difficulties that could occur when differences in the order in which parts of an expression were evaluated could cause problems. The new example is in no way an illustration of an order-of-evaluation problem within an expression.
Beginning programmers often find the order of evaluation of expression components confusing. Schildt had a great opportunity here to explain exactly when C does, and does not, specify the order of evaluation of components of an expression, and how to spot possible problems caused by relying on a particular ordering. Instead, apparently not understanding the rules, he simply avoided the question.
Java The Complete Reference, 8th Edition
While it's nice that the 4th edition is less wrong about this than the 3rd, it would have been nicer still to have some real discussion of these very significant issues. Some correspondants have raised various objections about the previous version of this document, and I think they deserve some consideration and time.
Nitpicking Some have argued that the previous version of this document picked on way too many issues which were trivial, unimportant, or disputed. For instance, Schildt's claim that numbers are "in general" represented using two's complement. The phrase "in general" is sometimes used in English to indicate that something is a reliable or safe assumption, and otherwise used specifically to call out the existence of exceptions.
I interpreted the phrase more in the former sense; I am not sure whether this was right or not, but I still feel that the explanation is at most unnecessary. The right time to talk about representations would be while discussing bitwise operators, where it's reasonable to mention the variances and common implementation choices.
Interestingly, Schildt got that wrong too; see Page Typos Some of the errors have been dismissed as "typos". This is quite possibly true.
However, usually, when there are typos in a book, one would expect to see some errata. I'm aware that, as of this writing, some of the errata for my own book never seem to have made it through the publisher; I'm going to go submit them myself, since I still have the list floating around. However, others are harder to dismiss as typos. Worse, typos of the sorts in question probably ought to be getting caught during technical review or proofreading; it would be understandable if there were only a few, but there are comparatively many.
Qualifications One occasional complaint is that I am somehow "unqualified" to raise these criticisms.
This is nonsense. Not because of any particular qualifications though I am apparently now generally regarded as being qualified to comment on writing about C , but because it's a pure argumentum ad hominem ; it doesn't matter who raised the criticisms, it matters whether they are correct or not.
As demonstrated by the fact that Schildt has indeed corrected many of them, we can reasonably infer that even he grants that they were correct. The qualifications don't really matter at that point; what matters is whether Schildt's book is in fact accurate or inaccurate. Seebs makes mistakes Another objection I've seen is that, since I make mistakes, I should not criticize Schildt. Again, this is ridiculous. The question of whether these criticisms are accurate stands on its own merit.
Yes, I make mistakes. Lots of them. I'm very error-prone, and will get even trivial things wrong on the first pass, often enough for it to be an issue. I address this by carefully testing code before putting it into production, using a code review process, sending my writing out for technical review, and otherwise taking steps to ensure that the final product is correct, even if the first draft was not.
Schildt, by contrast, is on the fourth edition of a book, published by people who presumably have the resources to hire a technical reviewer, and yet we see no errata, no acknowledgements of errors, and very few improvements even when there are unambiguous mistakes in his work.
It's a tutorial, not a reference I've heard a couple of times the assertion that the book is "more a tutorial than a reference". This is not particularly true, honestly; a large portion of the material in the book consists of lists of functions with descriptions of their semantics and possibly tiny sample code, but without any real explanation of how you would use them. However, even if it were true, it does not seem that it would change anything.
C is not a language which rewards casual approximations of correctness. If you wish to learn C, you will be best served by learning it properly, including all the acknowledged quirks, design weaknesses, and other limitations of the language. Trying to "simplify" C to teach it produces victims who cannot work effectively in C.
A good tutorial might present simplifications, but would identify them as such and correct them later, rather than presenting them as the real and whole truth. Furthermore, as revealed in the in-depth look , the book is a very poor tutorial, frequently omitting key points or concepts. Summary I wish the examples above had been more carefully cherry-picked than they were, but really, the examples here appear to be pretty representative. The "pick a page" section consists of things obtained by flipping the book to a random page.
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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Sep 18, Mohammad Elsheimy rated it liked it Shelves: Oct 30, Perla C.
Oct 06, Scott rated it really liked it Shelves: Complete coverage of all components of C programming. Covers universal basics such as variables, arrays, operators, and functions.
Jun 09, Vinicius Menezes rated it liked it. Insightful book on how the language is interwined. Explores almost all aspects of the language taking time to explain everything in detail. Hebert Schildt masterpiece. After this book C-based languages will be a lot easier to learn.
Nov 15, Vidyashree added it. Harshil Gupta rated it it was amazing Apr 09, Googly Hallowsin rated it really liked it Jul 16, Mishaiel rated it really liked it Jan 07, Ademar Alves de Oliveira rated it really liked it Apr 13, Pedantic break: I previously claimed he was wrong to call this a declaration, rather than a definition, but it turns out I was wrong on that; the word "definition" has a fairly specific definition in the C standard, and structure types are not defined, only declared.
Only macros, objects, functions, enumeration constants, and typedef names can be "defined". The real issue here is simply that this isn't the "general form".
It's an oversimplified summary of some common use cases, offered right where he should have been explaining the options available in more depth.
The example of printing character-by-character would be much improved by pointing out the need to, say, in some way verify that you haven't gone past the end of the object. Of course, that's omitted; Schildt just assumes that the array will be null-terminated.
C: The Complete Reference
This one is questionable. According to C99 6. I am pretty sure the intent is that you are allowed to assign a structure to another structure even if one of its members is uninitialized, but I would in general not recommend relying on this. This wording is new, and may not have been in the C standard when Schildt's book was written, but I think it reflects the intent of the standard.
On the other hand, even if it's permissible, I would think it would make a better example to show that assignment copies all of the members. A book that aimed to teach everything you need to know about C, rather than a superficial subset, would also point out the issues with copying structures some of whose members are pointers—many novice programmers are surprised that, after an assignment, both structures then share a single pointed-to object. So there you have it. An arbitrarily-selected ten page hunk of C:TCR.
I would not recommend this book to anyone based on this sample. This section has crucial omissions, misses multiple opportunities to explain crucial things, has examples which work by lucky coincidence and avoid teaching the reader about real-world cases where a similar example wouldn't work , and contain a number of outright errors. This goes a long way, in my mind, towards establishing that the sorts of complaints leveled against the rest of the book are genuinely typical and representative.
The list of miscellaneous pages given above is not a complete or exhaustive list; it is merely a representative sample of what you find opening the book to a random page. Searching through an arbitrarily-selected section doesn't support the occasional claims that most of the book is just fine, and only a few examples are flawed. Higher level problems Of course, it can't all be fun and games. There are a number of cases where Schildt makes more fundamental errors; not individual failed code fragments, but a consistent and general mis-explanation of fundamental concepts.
I hardly have a complete list available, but here are the ones I spotted easily during a quick review. Schildt very helpfully decides to use terms like "global" and "local" rather than the formal language of the standard. This, it turns out, results in some amazingly bad material. No one is surprised. On page 26, he tells us: Unlike local variables, global variables are known throughout the program and may be used by any piece of code. Also, they will hold their value throughout the program's execution.
He's conflating two aspects of file-scope variables; their scope, and their storage duration. This doesn't seem like it'd be a big deal, until he starts talking about things that would affect storage duration or scope.
Such as, say, the static keyword. On page , things get confusing, in a way that follows directly from his poor or at least, incorrect for C definitions of "local" and "global".
The C type-qualifier static is, well, confusing. It's confusing because its semantics are sort of non-obvious and differ with context. Unfortunately, Schildt only makes it worse. He uses the term "local variable" to refer to what C would call an "automatic" variable, normally. Then he explains that, if you qualify it with static, a local variable has permanent storage reserved for it.
Then we get to the incoherent heading static Global Variables page 34 : Applying the specifier static to a global variable instructs the compiler to create a global variable known only to the file in which it is declared.
Come and see the rare and amazing wild oxymoron in its native habitat! Bring your kids! It's a global variable which isn't visible anywhere else. The problem here is that he should have stuck with the way the language is actually defined—distinguishing between storage duration, scope, and linkage.
That would make it easy to explain that, for variables declared in a restricted scope, static imposes the "static storage duration", and that for variables declared outside of any function, which necessarily have static storage duration, static restricts linkage.
It's confusing, sure. The weirdness of the meaning of static has troubled writers trying to explain C for a long time. However, that's no excuse for nonsense such as a "global variable known only to the file in which it is declared. Scope is whether something is defined only inside a particular function or block, or visible to all functions. Linkage is whether it's visible only within a given translation unit or to the whole program. Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for spotting that I'd mistakenly called it "scope".
More generally, the confusion results in additional issues elsewhere; for instance, on page , Schildt claims that: File scope identifiers are visible throughout the entire file. Variables that have file scope are global.
No, they're not. They're visible within that file, and could be linked to from another file that provided a declaration for them. This is the kind of oversimplification that results in people being unable to figure out why their code doesn't compile.
For another example, describing the C99 variable-length array feature, he says that VLAs can only be local variables. No, they can only be automatic variables; you can't declare a static local VLA.
Memory layout This one has been a bit controversial, just because, back when the 2nd and 3rd edition of C:TCR came out, a large number of users would have been on MS-DOS systems, on which the description given was moderately accurate.
However, even in the 3rd edition, the book proudly claims to be usable in any environment, not just DOS or Windows.
The fun starts on page A compiled C program creates and uses four logically distinct regions of memory. The first region is the memory that actually holds the program's executable code. The next region is memory where global variables are stored. The remaining two regions are the stack and the heap.
The stack is used for a great many things while your program executes. It holds the return addresses of function calls, arguments to functions, and local variables. It will also save the current state of the CPU. The heap is a region of free memory that your program can use via C's dynamic memory allocation functions. Although the exact physical layout of each of the four regions of memory differs among CPU types and C implementations, the diagram in Figure shows conceptually how your C programs appear in memory.
He shows, of course, the classic DOS memory map; program code at the bottom, global variables above that, heap above that growing up, stack at the top growing down. That's not an unheard of implementation, but by the time this book came out or so , it was actually sort of unusual; most operating systems I know of separate stack and heap completely, such that they can't possibly interact.
I can't tell you what he means by "save the current state of the CPU". Maybe he's talking about register saving for task switching in multitasking environments? I'm not sure that's always done on the stack. It's vague enough that I can't tell you whether it's wrong or irrelevant, though. In the third edition, there was a section on "Stack-Heap Collisions" page In the fourth edition, it's been corrected to a somewhat improved piece about stack overruns.
However, it's still got issues. All C compilers use the stack to store local variables, return addresses, and parameters passed to functions. It should not be in Chapter 28, purporting to cover "Efficiency, Porting, and Debugging", and clearly well past the "tutorial" section of the material. Quite simply, not every compiler even has a "stack". Some systems don't really have any such feature. Every compiler for C has some kind of mechanism for handling function calls, but that doesn't mean it's a stack.
More significantly, it is quite common for function parameters or local variables not to be stored on any "stack", but to be stored in CPU registers.
That distinction can matter a lot, and should have been covered, rather than hand-waved away. Several people have pointed out that, conceptually, any design sufficiently powerful to support recursion will necessarily have a data structure which is "a stack" in a more general computer science sense; a data structure which allows efficient last-in, first-out access, so the most recently stored data can be retrieved fastest, corresponding nicely to the way in which function arguments and return values would typically be used.
That's true. However, there is a difference between "a stack" and "the stack"; "a stack" could be a general computer science term, but would specify nothing about the representation or layout of the data stored.
Schildt refers, quite clearly, to a contiguous region of memory, in which each function's data is adjacent to the memory for the function calling it, or the functions it calls. This is not necessarily true, nor is it useful. Some systems have handled recursive function calls by dynamic allocation, meaning that memory used for function calls could later be reused by other parts of the program, and could be interspersed with dynamically allocated memory.
The issue here isn't that most readers are likely to work on such a system I haven't, myself, but I have been told that some mainframe systems use such designs ; it's that the "stack" concept, while it could be a useful analogy, is better used as an analogy to explain the effects of function calls, than offered as a flatly literal explanation of how things work.
A good teaching book ought to explain in some detail what the implications of its description of this are; Schildt basically ignores them, although at least he's removed the parts where he described them and they were just plain wrong. This is a case where I do think the fourth edition has improved noticeably from the third edition, but it's still not a good fit at all for the material.
It is also a case where a specific complaint from my previous page has been addressed largely by removing things or just avoiding a difficult or interesting problem. The claim about global variables is mostly just confused. Really, it's usually static variables including globals, but also including static variables declared in functions that get a block of space, and in some cases, there's a distinction between the block for variables initialized with non-zero values, and those initialized with zeroes.
Similarly, "the heap" is not necessarily a single region. It would have been better to cover this in terms of C's actual storage rules, talking about static, automatic, and allocated storage durations. Newlines and Output Schildt frequently omits trailing newlines on output. This is a common habit among DOS programmers, as the MS-DOS command prompt apparently used to start with a newline, so that programs which had already produced a newline were followed by a blank line.
However, it's not portable, in two ways. The first is that, in general, C does not define the behavior of output to a text stream which is never terminated by a newline.
The second is that streams may be buffered -- output sent to a stream may not be delivered to the host environment until flushed using fflush or until some other event occurs. There are three levels of buffering; unbuffered self-explanatory , line-buffered data are buffered until a new-line character is encountered , or fully buffered data are buffered until a certain size of block is filled, such as "every 8, bytes".
The standard input and output streams are very often line-buffered, although the standard does not require this; all it says that standard input and standard output are "fully buffered if and only if the stream can be determined not to refer to an interactive device.
What this means is that, on many systems, printing a prompt which does not end with a newline produces no visible output until you either explicitly flush the stream or send something ending in a newline. There may be other circumstances under which output is sent, but only those are guaranteed to deliver the output to the host environment. One common exception is that some systems will automatically flush output streams when waiting for input; on such systems, the prompt would actually get displayed.
This behavior is strongly recommended by C We could imagine that Schildt was aware of this, and relying on it, but the examples in the 3rd edition book did the same thing, back when it resulted in no prompt being displayed on most systems. See C99, 7. This may seem fairly trivial, but in many cases the net result is that a newbie programmer trying one of the sample programs would, instead of getting a prompt, see no output at all.
This kind of thing sometimes surprises users.
It could easily have been avoided. Schildt does sometimes attach newlines to output, it's just not consistent. Consistency would have been useful, here.C:TCN, "Page 53" For an instructive example, let us look at the famous "page 53" code fragment—an exceptionally poor example that was widely panned as being illustrative of the horror of the 3rd edition of C:TCR.
Thursday, 4 December With fourteen years' more experience, including most of a decade of active participation in C standardization, thousands of lines of code written, and a few years of work as a professional writer, I still stand by the evaluation of the book.
The statement was wrong, however, it would not have been hard to fix it. That an example for something so fundamental would have gone through at least two revisions I have no idea what it looked like in the 1st edition, if it even existed then is a bit disturbing.
There is no possibility of confusion if you use the right type for the return of getc.
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