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Title:C++ for Engineers

Author: Bramer & Bramer
Pub: Arnold
Date: 1996
ISBN: 0-340-64584-9
Disk: Included

I suppose it was inevitable, the Bramers have done books on assembler and C now the C++ book has arrived. However this is not just a rehash of their C book with classes, as some (many?) books from other authors are. In fact their C book still has a separate life of it’s own. Just out of curiosity I ran a search for “printf” on the disk of source code supplied there was only one occurrence and that was in a comment. How many other C++ books can say that?

The style is the same as all the other Bramer books. It starts with a simple introduction to computer hardware, memory and through binary to assembler. I expect to find this introduction in the Bramer books on 4GLs if they ever do them! Apart from the C++ there are chapters on program design and documentation in broad terms that address the fact that coding takes up less than 20% of most sw projects.

The C++ chapters take the reader through the nuts and bolts of the language in a logical fashion before going into classes. By the time one gets to classes one knows what to put in them and how to use them. There is a fair amount of code in the book , it is well annotated and all the source is on the included disk.

The exercises and examples in the book have been designed to be of use to computing and electronics students. They use the maths library early on in the text and demonstrate C++ using things like the Newton-Raphson method. One exercise starts “Connect two pc’s ‘back to back’ as in fig.....” and you are on your way to a file transfer program! Another is: “Suppose you need to annotate an image with text (eg loads on a bridge)....” This is an electrical bridge not a concrete one.

There are many useful comments and notes from some one who has obviously seen (lots of) students helping Murphy prove his laws. There is a salutary exercise demonstrating how many different values one can get from the same line of source depending on which compiler is used. This demonstration of the order of evaluation has a fascinating set of results. Moral: Don’t try to be too clever with programming techniques.

The final chapter is another Bramer trade mark: “doing something with hardware” This chapter will show you how to directly address PC video ram, play with the IO, use interrupts and directly driving the serial ports. As mentioned all the source is on the disk. So you should be able to do some really interesting things to your PC. I can see people hitting the Big Red Button a few times with this chapter!

Despite the last chapter the most of the rest of the software and book should work for other systems. It has been tested on various flavours of Unix including Linux.

Note to lecturers: A set of files to prepare OHP’s and other material are available by email (and fpt) from the author. This book has been designed as a course text book.

Conclusion. A good C++ book with a slightly different perspective to the usual flood of C++ books. I find it a refreshing change but then I started life in hardware as well. It is in the same style as “C for Engineers” by the same authors. This book does useful things. Recommended .