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'[PIC]: C Programming - Synopsis of Replies.'
2000\10\09@133411 by Andy Howard

picon face
The response to my question about learning C was impressive, a lot of
offered sound advice and, just as importantly, encouragement. Thanks to you

I'll briefly summarise the main points here for anyone else that's planning
to embark on what from a distance looks like a difficult process, but which
I'm just discovering isn't actually difficult - it just requires a slightly
different way of approaching things.

1). Almost everyone suggested this:

    The C Programming Language  by Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie
    2nd Edition (June 1988) Prentice Hall; ISBN: 0131103628

...and now that I have a copy I can wholehearted recommend it too.

It isn't a beginner's guide to programming so if you're starting out from
zero then you'll need another text to back it up but this volume is that
rarest of things: a technical book that lays out its subject clearly and
readably without reams of filler. It'll take a lot of reading to digest
everything, such a rich dish that it is.
Surprisingly my local branch of a large, generally-despised UK retail PC
chain had a copy. Things are looking up.

In the reviews on Amazon there were some people whinging about the price of
what is a fairly slim tome compared to many computer books, but they seem
miss the point.  When you buy a book the paper isn't the product, it's
actually intellectual content.  If those people want max bulk per dollar
then perhaps they'd be happier with $40 worth of lavatory paper.

As a supplementary resource I've bought:

    C by Example by Greg Perry
>     1st Edition (December 1999) Que Corporation; ISBN: 0-7897-2239-9

...not so much because it was better than everything else in the shop as
that it _was_ everything else in the shop - though they had plenty of C++
books. But one thing at a time.

Other books that have been recommended include:

    C Programming for Embedded Systems by Kirk Zurell
    Bk&Cd Rom edition (February 2000) CMP Books; ISBN: 1929629044

    Programming Microcontrollers in C by Ted Van Sickle
    Bk&cdr edition (September 2000) Llh Technology Pub; ISBN: 1878707574

I've not seen either those yet, but I'll be browsing in my favorite tech
bookshop later in the week so I'll report back if they turn out to be

    Teach Yourself C in 21 Days by Peter G. Aitken, Bradley L. Jones
    5th edition (October 22, 1999) Sams; ISBN: 0672317664

The Sams book is the usual kilopage brick, and I see from Amazon that they
also have "Teach Yourself Advanced C...", which suggests that you might get
a fairly dilute dose in each, especially when compared with the very

Someone else advised:

The errata are longer than the original books."

Obviously I don't yet know enough about the subject to comment on this
advice but it came from someone with years of C experience.

2). Another very popular suggestion:

Download one of the many demo versions of compilers that are available, get
familiar with the basics from one of the books or tutorials and start
writing code straight away. As someone said, the best way to learn to code
is by coding.

I've grabbed a couple of demo compilers to look at so far, and I'll post a
detailed list of what's available and what the differences are once I'm a
bit further down the learning road - as yet I don't even know the
let alone the answers. More on this soon.

Other advice was to think of C as a slightly higher level than assembly
rather than a high-level language per se, as "portable assembly" in Andy
felicitous phrase.

3) There turns out to be a fair amount of useful C reference and tutorial
material online. These sites mostly contain further links to other
too, you cold spend a day or two just checking everything out.

First and foremost there's the newsgroup news:comp.lang.c and the FAQ

A very good downloadable tutorial can be found at -
and they do a Compiler which seems very inexpensive, it'd be interesting to
hear from anyone that's used it or even considered then rejected it. I
already use their excellent simulator and wavetracer and have been very
impressed with the quality of those, so it's possible that this could be
another overlooked bargain of a tool.

There are a lots of free tutorials including C and much else at has a decent list of books, tutorials
and other useful stuff for people learning C or C++.

There's also a more academic site at Not
really for beginners but a very useful reference site for the more
experienced. is worth a look too.

So there's a very brief pricis of the splendid reponse to the question
learning C. There was much more detail of course, and anyone interested can
find it in the archives starting 06/10/00 as the thread "Programming in C"
(though the title did change a couple of times). I'll add to this document
as I learn more and find more resources and post a progress update in a few

Once again, many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond, your
support was invaluable and now I'm firmly on the way to gaining a new and
valuable skill.



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2000\10\09@145532 by Jilles Oldenbeuving

Van: Andy Howard <spam_OUTmusicaTakeThisOuTspamUKONLINE.CO.UK>
Datum: maandag 9 oktober 2000 19:58
Onderwerp: [PIC]: C Programming - Synopsis of Replies.

> The response to my question about learning C was impressive, a lot of

[ sNaP ]

I'd say, that everyone that had a question like Andy should make such a
This was very usefull Andy! Also check out:

Wich seems to be as CS1 (Computer Sience 1) book HTML'ed and put online...
check it out...


Jilles Oldenbeuving
-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----

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2000\10\09@154514 by Sam Linder

Good Synopsis Andy. Well done!
Just a note of caution. The link
pertains to C++, not C. There is a world of difference.

{Original Message removed}

2000\10\09@190616 by Andy Howard

picon face
{Quote hidden}

Good one, thanks for that Jilles, I've added it to my list of learning
resources. When I've learned a bit more myself I'll post an update on new
sites, books etc. and which things were most useful to learn from.


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2000\10\09@191437 by Andy Howard

picon face
> From: "Sam Linder" <RemoveMESamLTakeThisOuTspamIN-INC.COM>

> Good Synopsis Andy. Well done!

Thanks Sam. Hope it helps some other C newcomers.

> Just a note of caution. The link
> pertains to C++, not C. There is a world of difference.

Ta for the warning. It'll still be useful though - once I've cracked C then
C++ (or maybe Java) will most likely be the next project

> {Original Message removed}

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