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Books: A User's Report

Elizabeth Zinkann

As more new technologies are developed, the range of books to review occupies a more colorful spectrum. However, in this issue, I surveyed a classic, a new edition of an excellent HTML book, a directory, and two very different C/C++ books. Specifically, the reviewed books are: The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 3: Sorting and Searching, Second Edition (Addison Wesley Longman); Creating Cool HTML 4 Web Pages by Dave Taylor (IDG Books Worldwide, Inc.); New Riders' Official World Wide Web Internet Directory, Seventh Edition, (New Riders Publishing); Rescued by C++, Third Edition by Kris Jamsa (Jamsa Press); and Jamsa's C/C++ Programmer's Bible: The Ultimate Guide to C/C++ Programming by Kris Jamsa and Lars Klander (Jamsa Press).

Donald E. Knuth and Addison Wesley Longman recently released The Art of Computer Programming, Volume 3: Sorting and Searching, Second Edition (ISBN 0-201-89685-0, $49.95.) This volume features Chapters 5 (Sorting) and 6 (Searching), Answers to Exercises, Appendix A (Tables of Numerical Quantities), Appendix B (Index to Notations), plus the Index and Glossary. In Chapter 5, Knuth examines Combinatorial Properties of Permutations, Internal Sorting, Optimum Sorting, External Sorting, and a Summary, History, and Bibliography. Chapter 6 describes Sequential Searching, Searching by Comparison of Keys, Digital Searching, Hashing, and Retrieval on Secondary Keys. This set provides the quintessential reference for the serious computer programmer. More information regarding this book and related books can be accessed at

Creating Cool HTML 4 Web Pages
by Dave Taylor
IDG Books Worldwide, Inc.
ISBN 0-7645-3201-4
CD-ROM Included

The Web's continual transformation includes modifications of the content, appearance, and type of site. Webmasters maintain the current information presented and expand the site when necessary. As new technologies develop, Web designers implement and refine the format of existing pages with the new utilities. In Creating Cool HTML 4 Web Pages, Dave Taylor surveys some existing sites as models, analyzes the elements of good Web page design, examines advanced techniques, and demonstrates how to artistically combine these elements to create an awe-inspiring Web page. This is actually Taylor's third edition of Creating Cool Web Pages with HTML. However, both HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and the topics Taylor describes have changed considerably. In this new volume, the author addresses design concepts and implementation throughout the following chapters: What's a Web Page? What's a Browser?; URLs: What They Are and How to Use Them; Basic HTML; Text Styles; Lists and Special Characters; Adding Pointers and Links; Internal Document References; Adding Graphics to Jazz Up Your Pages; Tables and Frames; Advanced Design: Backgrounds, Marquees, and More!; Image Maps, JavaScript, and Plug-Ins; Forms and User Input; The Common Gateway Interface; Style Sheets; Improvements in Tables and Frames; Advanced Forms and HTML 4 Additions; Additional HTML 4 Capabilities; Needles in Haystacks; and Dynamic HTML and the Future. The Appendices contain (A) Building Your First Page: A Primer; (B) Step-By-Step Web Site Planning Guide; (C) Finding a Home for Your Web Page; (D) Glossary; (E) HTML Quick Reference; and (F) What's On the CD-ROM.

Taylor retained the fundamental outline of the first eight chapters from the previous editions, modifying procedures and adding new capabilities and details when applicable. Chapters 9 through 19 feature new topics, reflecting supplementary or altered features in HTML 4.0. Each chapter begins with a specific outline entitled "In This Chapter" followed by an introduction to the subject. Similarly, each chapter concludes with "Summary of Tags in This Chapter" and a brief synopsis of the chapter's contents. Taylor also presents Tips, Notes, and Cautions for the reader's further enlightenment (and enjoyment) throughout the book. Creating Cool HTML 4 Web Pages provides the reader with an outstanding HTML instruction guide. Dave Taylor discusses often neglected topics (including "Why Not Just Use A Web Page Builder?), effectively explains the hexadecimal number system and how to use it, emphasizes copyright practices, and notes the differences between fonts and typefaces. He illustrates good and successful design principles and demonstrates how to achieve impressive results with animation, forms, frames, and audio. The accompanying CD-ROM includes utilities for both Windows and Mac platforms. Taylor's writing style is both easy and fun to read as he escorts the reader on an HTML tour, similar to a magic carpet ride. This is a remarkable and excellent HTML aid, for every level of user, whether novice or experienced.

New Riders' Official World Wide Web Internet Directory

Seventh Edition
New Riders Publishing
ISBN 1-56205-881-9
CD-ROM Included

Searching the Internet for a particular topic can be successful, rewarding, and diverting. Unfortunately, it can also be time-consuming and frustrating. A printed directory can spare the user non-productive searches, particularly with the use of the accompanying CD-ROM. This latest (and recently released) edition of New Riders' Official World Wide Web Internet Directory features a new style of organization. The previous edition listed the entries alphabetically, according to topic, such as music and mythology. The Seventh Edition provides approximately 300 topics in alphabetical order. For example, the topics under S include such items as Science; Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows; Scotches, Bourbons, and Other Alcoholic Beverages; Scuba Diving; Search Engines; Security; Self-Help; Sky Diving; Small and Home Business; Soap Operas; Substance Addiction and Recovery; Surfing; Swimming; and Symphony Orchestras. Each subject begins with a quotation and includes related sites and Newsgroups, FTP and Gopher Sites, Listservs, and Mailing Lists references. The additional CD-ROM features an electronic version of the directory for either Windows or Macintosh platforms and allows the user to access sites instantly through hyperlinks. (I appreciated this feature much more after typing

New Riders' Official World Wide Web Internet Directory, Seventh Edition, provides the reader and/or user with an excellent reference. The entries display precise descriptions of the sites, the addresses, and related sites. This is an informative source, a browser's delight, and a valuable offline search utility.

Rescued by C++
Third Edition
by Kris Jamsa
Jamsa Press
ISBN 1-884133-59-2
CD-ROM Included

A brief scan of any computer-related want ad section (or corresponding online database) will indicate the popularity of object-oriented programming (OOP) languages. The concepts and structures of object-oriented programming maximize the possibilities for software reuse within other programs. One of the desired object-oriented programming languages is C++. In Rescued By C++, Third Edition, Kris Jamsa presents the fundamentals of C++ for everyone. The procedural 10-minute lessons remain effective whether the reader is an experienced programmer or has never programmed before. The author separated the book into six sections: Learning the Basics, Building Programs Using Functions, Storing Information Using Arrays and Structures, Using C++ Classes, Inheritance and Templates, and Advanced C++ Concepts. Jamsa divided each of the sections into easily understandable lessons. For example, Section One: Learning the Basics contains Installing the Borland Turbo C++ Lite Compiler, Creating Your First Program, Taking A Closer Look at C++, Writing Messages to Your Screen, Programs Store Information in Variables, Performing Simple Operations, Reading Keyboard Input, Teaching Your Program to Make Decisions, and Repeating One or More Statements. Other lessons in the subsequent sections include: Getting Started with Functions, Using C++ References, Understanding Character Strings, Understanding Inheritance, Inline Functions and Assembly-Language Code, and Using C++ Exceptions to Handle Errors. The accompanying CD-ROM contains the Borland Turbo C++ Lite compiler. (This is an MS-DOS full C and C++ compiler and should be installed from an MS-DOS prompt. However, Lesson One directs how to do this quite well, so that a novice will have no problem. An experienced programmer shouldn't have a problem, either!)

Rescued by C++, Third Edition, is a clear, well-written book. In addition to Jamsa's superb writing style, the book's layout and design supports an easily referenced and readable format. Each section begins with a brief introduction; each lesson presents a longer one. The lessons also include topics, a beginning agenda plus a closing summary, and checklist. The latter consists of the concepts the reader needs to know before beginning the next lesson. If you are using this book to review C++, the last page of the lessons will indicate what concepts you need to review. This demonstrates an excellent way to learn or review C++. The reader or programmer will only require a computer, a little time, and this book to learn the language. Jamsa has produced an outstanding package for a learning programmer or for a non-programmer to learn.

Jamsa's C/C++ Programmer's Bible: The Ultimate Guide to C/C++ Programming
by Kris Jamsa and Lars Klander
Jamsa Press
ISBN 1-884133-25-8
CD-ROM Included

For the programmer who desires to become proficient in both C and C++ programming languages, Jamsa Press also offers a more comprehensive learning tool and reference. Jamsa's C/C++ Programmer's Bible illustrates the precepts of both C and C++ through a step-by-step presentation of short, numbered "Tips." (Note: As opposed to the usual Tip, which is approximately two sentences and presented as a sidebar, these are two or more paragraphs each, dedicated to a very specific topic.) Organized by topic, Jamsa and Klander address the following subjects: Getting Started With C; Macros and Constants; Understanding Strings; Functions; Keyboard Operations; Math; Files, Directories, and Disks; Arrays, Pointers, and Structures; DOS and BIOS Services; Memory Management; Date and Time; Redirecting I/O and Processing Command-Lines; Programming Tools; Advanced C; Getting Started With C++; Objects; Common Class Functions; I/O With C++; Inheritance and Polymorphism; Generic Functions and Templates; Exception Handling and Type Portability; Creating Sample Reusable Classes; Standard Template Library; Getting Started with Windows Programming; Messages and Menus; Dialog Boxes; Windows Memory Management; Processes and Threads; The Graphics Device Interface; Bitmaps, Metafiles, and Icons; and Windows I/O. The CD-ROM includes Borland's Turbo C++ Lite compiler, plus the source code for all of the programs referenced throughout the book.

Jamsa's C/C++ Programmer's Bible is an extraordinary volume containing an amazing compendium of essential facts for the programmer and source of reference material - all in one place. The writing style and the book's format both are not only clear and easily readable, but also consistent and procedurally organized. Each tip builds upon previously presented information. Every C/C++ programmer (and would-be programmer) will appreciate this book's approach, content, clarity, and style. It represents a valuable addition to the C/C++ library.

About the Author

Elizabeth Zinkann has been involved in the UNIX and C environment for the past 12 years. She is currently a UNIX and C consultant, and one of her specialties is UNIX education. In addition to her computer science background, she also has a degree in English. Elizabeth can be reached via America Online (