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Mike Riley

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C++ for Programmers Book + DVD Bundle Review

January 01, 2011

The combination of a solidly written book coupled with extensive video instruction is a potent one, helping to strengthen the pages of instruction with watching a competent instructor put those passages into actual use. Does this Deitel Developer Series title on C++ bundled with two DVD's of LiveLessons instructions worth the nearly one hundred dollar packaged price? Read on to find out.Admittedly, I don't do nearly as much C++ programming these days as I used to. The last time I spent a substantial amount of my day in the language was during my Windows desktop application development heydays of the mid-90's. Since then, I've only occasionally returned to the language, whether it being for some Linux Gnome desktop programming via GTK+ or Windows Mobile (pre-Windows Phone 7) application programming. As of late, I have been spending a majority of my time in Python and Ruby for web development and, when the need arises, Objective-C for iPhone and Java for Android development. Nevertheless, the volume of C++ code that has been written to date is staggering, and for anyone who either needs to brush up on their C++ skills or needs to start from the beginning, this book and DVD bundle offers a boatload of content for aspiring readers.

The book - C++ for Programmers, a Deitel Developer Series title, is packed with over a thousand pages of instruction formatted in the usual Deitel Developer Series format. The accompanying LiveLesson DVD's can be used to follow the book's instruction, or as follow-up reinforcement after the book has been read. I preferred to read a chapter and view the related LiveLesson topic. However, this only works up to a certain point because not everything discussed in the book is covered on the DVDs. Chapters on file and string stream processing, characters, C strings and structs, boost libraries, C++0x and other topics (the const_cast operator, namespaces, mutable class members and multiple inheritance) are not presented on the video tutorials. Even so, the amount of C++ instruction in the combination is quite extensive and will give readers/viewers plenty of information to ingest and samples to practice.

The book and DVD cover introductory materials such as history of C and C++, writing/compiling/executing/testing a C++ program, arithmetic, equality and relational operators, OOP principles, control statements, functions, recursion, arrays, pointers and vectors. A deeper dive into classes, operator overloading and inheritance and polymorphism are followed by chapters and videos on using templates, exception handling and the C++ Standard Template Library (STL) conclude the video/book dual-learning track. As mentioned earlier, the book contains several additional chapters and eight appendixes that further fill out the details needed for a more comprehensive C++ education.

The preferred IDE and operating system for the author's instruction are Microsoft's Visual C++ on the Windows platform. Given the overwhelming availability of both, this comes as no surprise, though it would have been nice to show viewers that C++ is portable to a point via cross-platform examples running in a Linux, OSX or Windows contexts. At least the authors included an appendix on using the GNU C++ debugger in the book as recognition for the platform agnostic universality of the language.

Overall, while a bit expensive for the casual developer looking to brush up on basic C++ skills, this C++ Fundamentals I and II LiveLesson bundle offers a considerable value for the student or professional seeking a more comprehensive print introduction and video tutorial to the language that popularized the object oriented programming paradigm. Only serious students of the language ready to spend extra cash on their programming education need apply.

Title: C++ Fundamentals I and II LiveLesson Bundle Authors: Paul J. Deitel and Harvey M. Deitel Publisher: Prentice Hall ISBN: 978-0-13-701823-9 Pages: 1056 Video: 18+ Hours (2 DVDs) Price: $99.99

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