C Programming Language

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Overview

This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It is the definitive reference guide, now in a second edition. Although the first edition was written in 1978, it continues to be a worldwide best-seller. This second edition brings the classic original up to date to include the ANSI standard.

From the preface

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first ...

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C Programming Language

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Overview

This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It is the definitive reference guide, now in a second edition. Although the first edition was written in 1978, it continues to be a worldwide best-seller. This second edition brings the classic original up to date to include the ANSI standard.

From the preface

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.

As we said in the first preface to the first edition, C "wears well as one's experience with it grows." With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you to learn C and use it well.


The original authors of C and the first UNIX system present this concise and powerful guide to ANSI standard C programming. This version, building on Kerninghan and Ritchie's classic The C Programming Language, brings readers up-to-date with the finalized ANSI standard for C while teaching users how to take advantage of noted C features like economy of expression, its full set of operators and more. One reader claimed "Just about every C programmer I respect learned C from this book," while another raved that this book is the "Bible of C." This book is regarded by just about anyone in the C field as the canonical work on the C language and is essential reading for C programmers.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Fatbrain Review

The original authors of C and the first UNIX system present this concise and powerful guide to ANSI standard C programming. This version, building on Kerninghan and Ritchie's classic The C Programming Language, brings readers up-to-date with the finalized ANSI standard for C while teaching users how to take advantage of noted C features like economy of expression, its full set of operators and more. One reader claimed "Just about every C programmer I respect learned C from this book," while another raved that this book is the "Bible of C." This book is regarded by just about anyone in the C field as the canonical work on the C language and is essential reading for C programmers.
Booknews
Second edition guide for experienced programmers who want to learn C quickly without going back to the basics. Translates C terms, commands, and programs in BASIC, FORTRAN, PASCAL, PL/1 and COBOL. No bibliography. Ten years after the first, the master has a second edition ready. Based on the proposed ANSI C. An essential for the C and UNIX user. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131101630
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 2/22/1978
  • Series: Software Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.91 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Brian W. Kernighan works in the Computing Science Research Center at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies. He is Consulting Editor for Addison-Wesley's Professional Computing Series and the author, with Dennis Ritchie, of The C Programming Language.
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Read an Excerpt

Preface

Preface

The computing world has undergone a revolution since the publication of The C Programming Language in 1978. Big computers are much bigger, and personal computers have capabilities that rival the mainframes of a decade ago. During this time, C has changed too, although only modestly, and it has spread far beyond its origins as the language of the UNIX operating system.

The growing popularity of C, the changes in the language over the years, and the creation of compilers by groups not involved in its design, combined to demonstrate a need for a more precise and more contemporary definition of the language than the First edition of this book provided. In 1983, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a committee whose goal was to produce "an unambiguous and machine-independent definition of the language C," while still retaining its spirit. The result is the ANSI standard for C.

The standard formalizes constructions that were hinted at but not described in the first edition, particularly structure assignment and enumerations. It provides a new form of function declaration that permits cross-checking of defini-tion with use. It specifies a standard library, with an extensive set of functions for performing input and output, memory management, string manipulation, and similar tasks. It makes precise the behavior of features that were not spelled out in the original definition, and at the same time states explicitly which aspects of the language remain machine-dependent.

This second edition of The C Programming Language describes C as defined by the ANSI standard. Although we have noted the places where thelanguage has evolved, we have chosen to write exclusively in the new form. For the most part, this makes no significant difference; the most visible change is the new form of function declaration and definition. Modern compilers already support most features of the standard.

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.

Appendix A, the reference manual, is not the standard, but our attempt to convey the essentials of the standard in a smaller space. It is meant for easy comprehension by programmers, but not as a definition for compiler writersÑ that role properly belongs to the standard itself. Appendix B is a summary of the facilities of the standard library. It too is meant for reference by programmers, not implementers. Appendix C is a concise summary of the changes from the original version.

As we said in the preface to the first edition, C "wears well as one's experience with it grows." With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you to learn C and to use it well.

Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie

Preface to the First Edition

C is a general-purpose programming language which features economy of expression, modern control flow and data structures, and a rich set of operators. C is not a "very high level" language, nor a "big" one, and is not specialized to any particular area of application. But its absence of restrictions and its generality make it more convenient and effective for many tasks than supposedly more powerful languages.

C was originally designed for and implemented on the UNIX operating sys-tem on the DEC PDP-1 1, by Dennis Ritchie. The operating system, the C compiler, and essentially all UNIX applications programs (including all of the software used to prepare this book) are written in C. Production compilers also exist for several other machines, including the IBM System/370, the Honeywell 6000, and the Interdata 8/32. C is not tied to any particular hardware or system, however, and it is easy to write programs that will run without change on any machine that supports C.

This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It contains a tutorial introduction to get new users started as soon as possible, separate chapters on each major feature, and a reference manual. Most of the treatment is based on reading, writing and revising examples, rather than on mere statements of rules. For the most part, the examples are complete, real programs, rather than isolated fragments. All examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form. Besides showing how to make effective use of the language, we have also tried where possible to illustrate useful algorithms and principles of good style and sound design.

The book is not an introductory programming manual; it assumes some familiarity with basic programming concepts like variables, assignment statements, loops, and functions. Nonetheless, a novice programmer should be able to read along and pick up the language, although access to a more knowledgeable colleague will help.

In our experience, C has proven to be a pleasant, expressive, and versatile language for a wide variety of programs. It is easy to learn, and it wears well as one's experience with it grows. We hope that this book will help you to use it well.

Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. A Tutorial Introduction.
2. Types, Operators, and Expressions.
3. Control Flow.
4. Functions and Program Structure.
5. Pointers and Arrays.
6. Structures.
7. Input and Output.
8. The UNIX System Interface.
Appendix A.
Appendix B.
Appendix C.
Index.
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Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

The computing world has undergone a revolution since the publication of The C Programming Language in 1978. Big computers are much bigger, and personal computers have capabilities that rival the mainframes of a decade ago. During this time, C has changed too, although only modestly, and it has spread far beyond its origins as the language of the UNIX operating system.

The growing popularity of C, the changes in the language over the years, and the creation of compilers by groups not involved in its design, combined to demonstrate a need for a more precise and more contemporary definition of the language than the First edition of this book provided. In 1983, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a committee whose goal was to produce "an unambiguous and machine-independent definition of the language C," while still retaining its spirit. The result is the ANSI standard for C.

The standard formalizes constructions that were hinted at but not described in the first edition, particularly structure assignment and enumerations. It provides a new form of function declaration that permits cross-checking of defini-tion with use. It specifies a standard library, with an extensive set of functions for performing input and output, memory management, string manipulation, and similar tasks. It makes precise the behavior of features that were not spelled out in the original definition, and at the same time states explicitly which aspects of the language remain machine-dependent.

This second edition of The C Programming Language describes C as defined by the ANSI standard. Although we have noted the placeswherethe language has evolved, we have chosen to write exclusively in the new form. For the most part, this makes no significant difference; the most visible change is the new form of function declaration and definition. Modern compilers already support most features of the standard.

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.

Appendix A, the reference manual, is not the standard, but our attempt to convey the essentials of the standard in a smaller space. It is meant for easy comprehension by programmers, but not as a definition for compiler writersÑ that role properly belongs to the standard itself. Appendix B is a summary of the facilities of the standard library. It too is meant for reference by programmers, not implementers. Appendix C is a concise summary of the changes from the original version.

As we said in the preface to the first edition, C "wears well as one's experience with it grows." With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you to learn C and to use it well.

Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie

Preface to the First Edition

C is a general-purpose programming language which features economy of expression, modern control flow and data structures, and a rich set of operators. C is not a "very high level" language, nor a "big" one, and is not specialized to any particular area of application. But its absence of restrictions and its generality make it more convenient and effective for many tasks than supposedly more powerful languages.

C was originally designed for and implemented on the UNIX operating sys-tem on the DEC PDP-1 1, by Dennis Ritchie. The operating system, the C compiler, and essentially all UNIX applications programs (including all of the software used to prepare this book) are written in C. Production compilers also exist for several other machines, including the IBM System/370, the Honeywell 6000, and the Interdata 8/32. C is not tied to any particular hardware or system, however, and it is easy to write programs that will run without change on any machine that supports C.

This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It contains a tutorial introduction to get new users started as soon as possible, separate chapters on each major feature, and a reference manual. Most of the treatment is based on reading, writing and revising examples, rather than on mere statements of rules. For the most part, the examples are complete, real programs, rather than isolated fragments. All examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form. Besides showing how to make effective use of the language, we have also tried where possible to illustrate useful algorithms and principles of good style and sound design.

The book is not an introductory programming manual; it assumes some familiarity with basic programming concepts like variables, assignment statements, loops, and functions. Nonetheless, a novice programmer should be able to read along and pick up the language, although access to a more knowledgeable colleague will help.

In our experience, C has proven to be a pleasant, expressive, and versatile language for a wide variety of programs. It is easy to learn, and it wears well as one's experience with it grows. We hope that this book will help you to use it well.

Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Preface

The computing world has undergone a revolution since the publication of The C Programming Language in 1978. Big computers are much bigger, and personal computers have capabilities that rival the mainframes of a decade ago. During this time, C has changed too, although only modestly, and it has spread far beyond its origins as the language of the UNIX operating system.

The growing popularity of C, the changes in the language over the years, and the creation of compilers by groups not involved in its design, combined to demonstrate a need for a more precise and more contemporary definition of the language than the First edition of this book provided. In 1983, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a committee whose goal was to produce "an unambiguous and machine-independent definition of the language C," while still retaining its spirit. The result is the ANSI standard for C.

The standard formalizes constructions that were hinted at but not described in the first edition, particularly structure assignment and enumerations. It provides a new form of function declaration that permits cross-checking of defini-tion with use. It specifies a standard library, with an extensive set of functions for performing input and output, memory management, string manipulation, and similar tasks. It makes precise the behavior of features that were not spelled out in the original definition, and at the same time states explicitly which aspects of the language remain machine-dependent.

This second edition of The C Programming Language describes C as defined by the ANSI standard. Although we have noted the places where thelanguage has evolved, we have chosen to write exclusively in the new form. For the most part, this makes no significant difference; the most visible change is the new form of function declaration and definition. Modern compilers already support most features of the standard.

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.

Appendix A, the reference manual, is not the standard, but our attempt to convey the essentials of the standard in a smaller space. It is meant for easy comprehension by programmers, but not as a definition for compiler writersÑ that role properly belongs to the standard itself. Appendix B is a summary of the facilities of the standard library. It too is meant for reference by programmers, not implementers. Appendix C is a concise summary of the changes from the original version.

As we said in the preface to the first edition, C "wears well as one's experience with it grows." With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you to learn C and to use it well.

Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie

Preface to the First Edition

C is a general-purpose programming language which features economy of expression, modern control flow and data structures, and a rich set of operators. C is not a "very high level" language, nor a "big" one, and is not specialized to any particular area of application. But its absence of restrictions and its generality make it more convenient and effective for many tasks than supposedly more powerful languages.

C was originally designed for and implemented on the UNIX operating sys-tem on the DEC PDP-1 1, by Dennis Ritchie. The operating system, the C compiler, and essentially all UNIX applications programs (including all of the software used to prepare this book) are written in C. Production compilers also exist for several other machines, including the IBM System/370, the Honeywell 6000, and the Interdata 8/32. C is not tied to any particular hardware or system, however, and it is easy to write programs that will run without change on any machine that supports C.

This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It contains a tutorial introduction to get new users started as soon as possible, separate chapters on each major feature, and a reference manual. Most of the treatment is based on reading, writing and revising examples, rather than on mere statements of rules. For the most part, the examples are complete, real programs, rather than isolated fragments. All examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form. Besides showing how to make effective use of the language, we have also tried where possible to illustrate useful algorithms and principles of good style and sound design.

The book is not an introductory programming manual; it assumes some familiarity with basic programming concepts like variables, assignment statements, loops, and functions. Nonetheless, a novice programmer should be able to read along and pick up the language, although access to a more knowledgeable colleague will help.

In our experience, C has proven to be a pleasant, expressive, and versatile language for a wide variety of programs. It is easy to learn, and it wears well as one's experience with it grows. We hope that this book will help you to use it well.

Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 29 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2000

    Not for newcomers

    An excellent book, but definetly _not_ designed for people who have no idea what a compiler is. The book does not teach programming principles; it teaches the syntax. An excellent book if you have some programming background.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2000

    Very good reference book but not recommended for beginners.

    After completing reading this book I feel I have a complete 'C' Programming knowledge. I have read lot of other C books, but only after I complete reading this one I'm very confident in C programming. This book will be very good if you have done C programming already but I don't recommend this for beginners.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 1999

    A Must Have

    I'd just like to say that this book was written by the CREATOR of the C programming language, and is essential reference material.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2001

    A 'must have' book

    The best way to learn to program in C is to do it from the creators of the language and this book gives you just that. It is not an easy book to read through overnight but can answer almost any question you ever had about C. It is suitable even for absolute beginners who have access to some UNIX environment although it wouldn't teach you in a hand-holding way as some of the other more verbose books on the subject. I recommend it highly both to newcomers and to more experienced people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2013

    The place to begin.

    C is the language of the gods. This book was written by the gods who created C. This is the C bible. There is no better first language to learn than C and there is no better book on C than this one. Play as you go through this book. You will be glad you did!

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  • Posted April 3, 2013

    I see quite a few blasphemies towards this most holiest of holie

    I see quite a few blasphemies towards this most holiest of holies on these comments here.




    I wonder, what would be a better book? Teach yourself C in 24 hours?  C For Dummies? Personally I "learned C" from reading "The C++ Programming Language" by Bjarne Stroustrup, but...




    This book carries with it quite a bit of weight (literally if you get the paper version) that is not found in the C++ version, and quite a bit of that extra weight applies to that book too. It takes quite a bit of intelligence and verisimilitude to determine, but these books really do complement each-other.
     

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    CLASSIC

    This book is classic. I would recommend it to everyone who wants to learn C.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2002

    The ultimate guide to programming

    This the first book I ever read about programming next to the book for my TI-82 calculator in Junior High. This book contains everything a beginning programmer needs to learn and understand the concepts involved in entry level programming and gives them a needed introduction to Unix. It is an awesome reference for even the most knowledgable programmers and comes in handy during late night programming when you can't seem to remember anything. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to even consider programming.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2002

    Re: NOT A GOOD BOOK

    the dude who wrote the review above is a senile person, obviously. this is a 5 star book PERIOD. so so so many people recommend this book. it is a little hard to follow at times, but just read it slow and try different things and you will come out a better programmer. if you struggle with some of the exercies then it also might be a good idea to buy "The C Answer Book".

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2002

    The Classic

    There is a solid reason why people recommend and hold on to this book for ages. It is the classic. Not only does it capture the spirit of the working practical aspects, but it tries to also suggest the complexity and power that C was envisioned with. Try it. It can make everything so simple.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2002

    Worth every penny!

    This book has more info than books with 10 times the pages! Simply the best reference on the C Language!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2002

    This should be your first book on C

    This may the best book on C you'll ever read because of it's clear, concise explanations.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2002

    A concise, clear and elegant book

    BS'D This book is incredible in that it fits so much in so little; because of this, however, it tends to be very concise and might be less helpful to someone with absolutely no experience with programming computers. I'd still use it but in conjunction with a class on the subject. I took my first course on the subject by someone who also had a book (which will go unnamed as I wasn't thrilled with it) and this beat it hands down, but it was good having the class to go to as well.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2001

    NOT A GOOD BOOK

    This book is an excellent book for someone who wants to get confused. Please do not buy it and waste your hard earned money. If you have money to waste buy it as charity.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2001

    The Bible Of C Programming

    This book is definately worthy of it's title 'The Bible Of C'. I would recommend this book to anyone who is really serious about becomming a good c programmer. It's a hard read, but not too hard and contains great examples.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2001

    Good C Reference Book!

    This is basicly not for beginner... However it is very useful for people who have some programming background and want to clarify some of the unclear points. Lots of things, such as structure, pointers, function calls, are clearly described in this book. Also, many good examples.... I learned a lot myself from this book and now feel very confident about C.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2000

    Wipe your rear-end with this...

    Please, if you want to buy a C programming book, DO NOT get this one. It is so unorgainized and boring. But don't take my word for it, go to the bookstore and read through them to find one you prefer.There are plenty of better books out there. Its a shame I had to give this coffee coaster a star.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2000

    The template (apologies to Bjarne) for technical texts

    Ideal even for the astute beginner. This is the benchmark for all computer-related techical books. Clear, concise and above-all accurate (with a few minor exceptions as noted in the errata, as well as an unfortunate page-break between 99 and 100). Don't let the pre-1990 copyright date fool you, this book is still fresh and contemporary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 1999

    Lippman, Kernighan and Ritchie -- Writers of the Century

    Some invent it and some make it go. No one is less than the other. Rarely, if ever, has the programming world seen such a talent for writing. The graceful clarity with which the book is written and the depth of knowledge it shows, together make it a monumental piece of work in the history of science and engineering. The closest counterpart we have seen in C++ is the 2nd edition of Lippman's C++ Primer published in 1991. Please allow me to name Lippman, Kernighan and Ritchie the programming writers of the century.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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