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Practical C++ Programming, Second Edition

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This book is devoted to practical C++ programming. It teaches you not only the mechanics of the language, but also style and debugging. The entire life cycle of a program is discussed, including conception, design, writing, debugging, release, documentation, maintenance, and revision.

Style is emphasized. Creating a good program involves more than just typing code. It is an art in which writing and programming skills blend to form a masterpiece. A well-written program not only functions correctly, but also is simple and easy to understand. Comments allow programmers to include descriptive text in their programs. Clearly written, well-commented programs are highly prized.

A program should be as simple as possible. Avoid the use of clever tricks. Cleverness and complexity can kill programs. This book stresses simple, practical rules. For example, the 15 operator-precedence rules in C++ can be simplified to 2:

  1. Multiply and divide before you add and subtract.

  2. Put parentheses around everything else.

Consider two programs. One was written by a clever programmer, using all the tricks. The program contains no comments, but it works. The other is nicely commented and well structured, but doesn't work. Which program is more useful? In the long run, the "broken" one is more useful because it can be fixed and maintained easily. Although the clever one works now, sooner or later it will have to be modified. The hardest work you will ever have to do is modifying a cleverly written program.

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