Best way to study C on your own

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Best way to study C on your own

Postby begatelles » 2007-01-05 12:48

Hey everyone

I have been programming for a couple of years at the University using, java and some assembly. However i have never had any classes on C and i decided to take it on my own. It's been a few months (perhaps 5 or 6) that i bought the book "The C Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchie and i'm trying to learn by reading through that. I think it's an awesome book and perhaps very Linux oriented as well. It dedicates an entire chapter on system calls and many examples pretty much resemble fractions of actual Linux programms (like grep for instance). ... veda467-20

My question is, how can someone be efficient in learning a language on his/her own? Do you think reading the book and studying the samples in as much detail as possible would be enough? I am spending a lot of time each day going through the chapters in the book, but i never try any of the exercises. I completely understand most, if not all, of the examples but i do not do the exercises. I wrote quite a few 1-2 pages long programms when i was taking programming classes at the University, and to be honest it seems a bit odd going back and redoing the whole process from the beginning again. Do you think i can still gain some good C programming knowledge if i just keep reading the book? What methods of learning do you think someone should incorporate into his/her studies?

Please tell me what you think. I would very much appreciate any advices you might have. Thanks. :)
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Postby drl » 2007-01-05 14:33


My advice has always been that:

1) you need to train your fingers as much as you need to train your brain. You need a certain mind-body rhythm to do coding correctly and efficiently. I have declined training contracts because they had no or not enough hands-on time.

2) you need to write at least 100 programs to be comfortable, proficient, etc., in a language ( I call this, among other things, drl's limit ).

3) design is different from coding.

4) teaching a class (say in community education) is a wonderful way to learn, but can be very hard on the ego. Writing the lessons, even if you don't deliver them is an aid.

Best wishes ... cheers, drl
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Postby begatelles » 2007-01-06 00:50

just what i was afraid of to hear. :D

Thanks for the response drl. I will definitely keep those points in mind. :)
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