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bookworms are eating my brain

Unkle Nuke

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It's almost a running joke around here that I'm learning C++ ...still! Yes, I've been at it, off and on, for the past two years, thanks to real life and occasional hardware failures causing setbacks in my studies.

But, that isn't my point...

I'm sitting here with my cpp book open, slogging my way through "Classes, Objects, and Inheritance" when I couldn't take it anymore and just had to rant or lose my sanity (well... whatever is left. lol).

Don't get me wrong. I love the actual programming. I find designing and coding to be fun and stimulating, sort of digital nerd heroin. I can get so laser focused on my work that it leaves me in a bubble of serenity where it is only me and the code. To quote a famous geek philosopher, "Codito ergo sum."

Where I do have great difficulty is with the book itself. Why is it that every introductory book on C++ seems to be written as if the person reading it is five years old? The authors seem to think "novice programmer" is another way to describe a moron that never made it past their fifth year of public school.

They even start every one of these books with chapters on "What Is A Program?" and "What Is A Computer?". Come on! Really? Maybe it's just my opinion, but, if you've reached the point where you want to write code to program a computer, and you don't already know those two basic concepts, you have no business anywhere near a compiler.

By the time I've endured the overly simplified sentences and plethora of short words in each chapter, I can almost feel my brain shrivelling like a raisin and my I.Q. dribbling out of my ears from the nearly insulting way the author talks down to the reader.

Putting up with this to actually reach the part where I can start coding is so discouraging, I sometimes just have to put the book down and walk away until I've worked up my will to continue with the next lesson.

GRRRRR! :mad:

Is there really such a thing as an introductory book for learning C++ that doesn't assume you're an idiot, that is written intelligently and respects the idea that you probably know your way around a computer if you've gotten so far as to want to program it yourself?

[step down off soapbox and end rant]

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In my not so humble opinion (which I may or may not have expressed multiple times) there is no better way to learn coding then to actually write code. To be able to do that you need two things: A book (or web tutorial) that covers the basics, and a programming project that is way up in the stars but you won't realize that until much later when you actually know what you are doing (MMOs are a classic among this category of one-man projects if you look around forums). Oh yeah, and the will to learn even if the learning "curve" is more like a learning "cliff". codingcliff.png (blatantly stolen and modified from xkcd)

Any way, I like http://www.cplusplus.com/doc/tutorial/ - cplusplus.com is generally an excellent resource, and especially the tutorial is really well done. I always return there when I get confused about how pointers work...

And don't be shy to ask question here if you have difficulties with a concept or a particularly nasty bit of code!!!!

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I only have three books that teach C++, one is for more advanced topics and the other two are for beginners. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer traditional ink and paper for ease in flipping back and forth through the pages.

I do have an old collection of e-books on a CD. I'll have a look and see if that cpp primer, or any other decent cpp books, are on there. As for online resources, like cplusplus.com, I would probably go blind trying to read all that material on this tiny phone screen. That's really too bad. Some of the cpp learning sites are actually very informative and I have them all bookmarked on my PC, which has no internet access these days.

Shlainn, that graph is hilarious! I must be a real nerd to have laughed so hard. I think the reason cpp has a rep for being so difficult is that it doesn't hold your hand and protect you from low-level features. All that flexibility and power isn't for casual coders! Good thing I'm too stupid to be intimidated. :P

So far, the longest program I've written has only been ~ 50 lines. It kept records of an imaginary classroom, using a 4-dimensional array. The sorting algorithm was the most interesting part, but the overall program is not that far removed from the "Hello, world!" code.

All this basic stuff has been very simple. Classes and Inheritance, which I've always heard was so difficult to grasp, seems pretty straightforward. Those two concepts have been an essential part of Set Theory in mathematics for a few hundred years. Polymorphism, which I'm just beginning to cover, does seem to be more of a cruel revenge against programmers, but all the buzz-words that are used to hype the features of programming languages these days usually translates into something far simpler in actual code use.

Who knows? If I ever do master C++, maybe I can finally make use of all those game programming books gathering dust on my shelf.

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