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Even C experts come across problems that require days of debugging to fix. This book helps to prevent such problems by showing how C programmers get themselves into trouble. Review: C Traps and Pitfalls teaches how the peculiarities of the C language make it easy for the intended behavior of a program and the actual behavior of a program to differ. From the Inside Flap: Tools that are comfortable after experience are often more difficult to learn at first than those that feel right immediately.
Student pilots start out overcontrolling, turning first flights into roller-coaster rides, until they learn how light a touch flying really requires.
Training wheels on a bicycle make it easier for a novice to ride, but get in the way after that. So it is also with programming languages. Every programming language has aspects that are most likely to cause trouble for people not yet thoroughly familiar with them. These aspects vary from one language to another, but are surprisingly constant from one programmer to another.
Thus the idea of collecting them. I started collecting C problems in and published the collection as an internal paper at the end of that year.
The response astonished me: more than 2, people requested copies of the paper from the Bell Labs library. That convinced me to expand the paper into this book. What This Book Is C Traps And Pitfalls aims to encourage defensive programming by showing how other people, even experienced professionals, have gotten themselves into trouble.
These mistakes are generally easy to avoid once seen and understood, so the emphasis is on specific examples rather than generalities. This book belongs on your shelf if you are using C at all seriously, even if you are an expert: many of the professional C programmers who saw early drafts said things like "that bug bit me just last week! Programmers can get themselves into trouble in any language. This book is not a cookbook. Errors cannot be avoided by recipe. If they could, we could eliminate automobile accidents by plastering the countryside with "Drive Carefully" signs!
Merely understanding how a particular kind of mistake is possible is a big step on the way to avoiding it in the future. It is neither a dictionary nor an encyclopedia; I have kept it short to encourage you to read it all. I may well include your discovery, with an acknowledgement, in a future edition. C compilers are already available that implement many of the significant improvements contemplated by the ANSI committee. Acknowledgements A collection like this could not possibly have been made in isolation.
Lee McMahon and Ed Sitar pointed out what would otherwise have ben embarrassing typographical errors in early drafts of the manuscript. Brian Kernighan supplied invaluable typesetting tools and assistance.
C Traps and Pitfalls
Andrew Koenig (programmer)
ISBN 13: 9780201179286