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Thinking in C++
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3: The C in C++

Since C++ is based on C, you must be familiar with the syntax of C in order to program in C++, just as you
must be reasonably fluent in algebra in order to tackle calculus.

If you’ve never seen C before, this chapter will give you a decent background in the style of C used in C++. If you are familiar with the style of C described in the first edition of Kernighan & Ritchie (often called K&R C), you will find some new and different features in C++ as well as in Standard C. If you are familiar with Standard C, you should skim through this chapter looking for features that are particular to C++. Note that there are some fundamental C++ features introduced here, which are basic ideas that are akin to the features in C or often modifications to the way that C does things. The more sophisticated C++ features will not be introduced until later chapters.

This chapter is a fairly fast coverage of C constructs and introduction to some basic C++ constructs, with the understanding that you’ve had some experience programming in another language. A more gentle introduction to C is found in the CD ROM packaged in the back of this book, titled Thinking in C: Foundations for Java & C++ by Chuck Allison (published by MindView, Inc., and also available at This is a seminar on a CD ROM with the goal of taking you carefully through the fundamentals of the C language. It focuses on the knowledge necessary for you to be able to move on to the C++ or Java languages rather than trying to make you an expert in all the dark corners of C (one of the reasons for using a higher-level language like C++ or Java is precisely so we can avoid many of these dark corners). It also contains exercises and guided solutions. Keep in mind that because this chapter goes beyond the Thinking in C CD, the CD is not a replacement for this chapter, but should be used instead as a preparation for this chapter and for the book.

Thinking in C++
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire