Kernighan and Ritchie: Gods

This is a discussion on Kernighan and Ritchie: Gods within the Programming Book and Product Reviews forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Their famed book The C Programming Language is just Godlike. Its the only technical document Ive read in my life ...

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    Registered User Vespasian's Avatar
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    Kernighan and Ritchie: Gods

    Their famed book The C Programming Language is just Godlike. Its the only technical document Ive read in my life that I plan on finishing from the first line to the last... Thrice. And after reading it over and over I will undoubtedly use it as a reference indefinitely.

    I dont know what it is. Its elegance. Its brevity. Its damn difficult and frustrating at times and it does have downsides like lack of function pointer literature and lack of linked list technicalities. But the sentences are so packed/crammed and dense with info, you basically have to re read so many times and think to yourself oh I missed that!

    Their examples show the language itself in a way that is applied to some advanced programming examples that you are likely to encounter.

    I am becoming a C religious Zealot and K&R is my bible.

    I am also glad to see so many people out there on the internet who share the same opinion!

    Haters gonna hate, say all you want but its the best book in the world.

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    No question that K&R's books are good, but even the authors themselves don't claim they are perfect. You would be better off exercising your enthusiasm by learning from a range of authors, getting exposure to varying perspectives and techniques, learning by designing systems, trying to maintain someone else's code, trying to maintain your own code after a break of three years, working with users, and learning that there is more to life than any programming language.

    Religious zealotry in any programming language is, frankly, a path to your own oblivion. Religious zealots in C tend to travel in smaller and smaller circles while they pursue terser and more cryptic code constructs to build more fragile code.
    Right 98% of the time, and don't care about the other 3%.

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    After much sweat and blood, Ive managed to grind my way through K&R to finish chapter 7!! (basically the whole book barring the 8th chapter Unix System Interface okay and the appendices which go through the standard and libraries).

    This is a huge accomplishment! A historic day in my life!

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    No question that K&R's books are good, but even the authors themselves don't claim they are perfect. You would be better off exercising your enthusiasm by learning from a range of authors, getting exposure to varying perspectives and techniques, learning by designing systems, trying to maintain someone else's code, trying to maintain your own code after a break of three years, working with users, and learning that there is more to life than any programming language.

    Religious zealotry in any programming language is, frankly, a path to your own oblivion. Religious zealots in C tend to travel in smaller and smaller circles while they pursue terser and more cryptic code constructs to build more fragile code.
    Problem is that most books you will come across are roughly +200 pages of nothing and 50 pages of something useful*. I tried some other books but found that you wasted ~50 pages to be able to get an input and using it in some function you probably never ever will find an application to in real life. K&R is close to 300 pages and of these roughly 100 is not needed for a beginner as I see it. I say K&R is the ONLY C book one should read on the beginner level of C programming. Have not finished the book but I doubt the chapters I'm going to next will change my mind.

    If you get into the field of maintaining code you should probably look at some standard developed for this (they are about 300 pages at least) when you are done with K&R. In the EU the RAMS +s model is widely used and the standards that cover this are +300 pages which you won't be able to fit into a book that has 500 pages and also need to teach you how to make programs.

    * Writers of 'technical' books often get paid by the page so it is natural they put in as many pages as they can when writing a book.

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    K&R could have written their books in just 50 pages. Hell, even 10 pages would be enough to describe the laws of the language ( maybe 20 ). The question is, would you understand anything if that was the case?
    Devoted my life to programming...

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