O’Reilly Releases “C in a Nutshell”

Farnham, UK–The C programming language is a standardized programming language developed for use in writing Unix. It has since spread to many other operating systems and is one of the most widely used programming languages. Prized for its efficiency and portability, C is probably the most durable language in use today, more than thirty years after its development.

As Peter Prinz and Tony Crawford, authors of “C in a Nutshell” (O’Reilly), observe, “The key characteristics of the C language are the qualities that made it suitable for implementing the Unix operating system: source code portability, the ability to operate ‘close to the machine’ and efficiency.

“Because C was expressly designed for system programming it is hardly surprising that one of its major uses today is in programming embedded systems,” they add. “At the same time, however, many developers use C as a portable, structured, high-level language to write programs such as powerful word processors, databases, and graphic applications.” Their new book fills a gap in the market for volumes dedicated to C. “Although compilers now have nearly full support for the 1999 standard, textbooks and references have remained behind the times,” Crawford notes.

“‘C in a Nutshell’ provides concise tips, techniques, examples, and practical advice,” adds Prinz. “This will allow advanced developers to maximize their capabilities. Furthermore it includes a compact introduction to the language and its key functions This makes it ideal for less experienced C developers or those who want to start writing code right away.”

Following a format similar to the highly successful “C++ in a Nutshell,” Prinz and Crawford’s new book provides everything programmers need. The book is divided into three parts. The first describes the C language in the strict sense of the term; the second describes the standard library, and the third describes the process of compiling and testing programs with the tools in the popular GNU software collection.

Prinz says “I wanted to write a clear, well structured, and complete exposition of the language, including the enhancements in the C99 standard.”

Altogether “C in a Nutshell” is an ideal companion to Kernighan and Ritchie’s seminal “The C Programming Language” and deserves a space on every programmer’s shelf.

Early praise for “C in a Nutshell”:

“‘C in a Nutshell’ is a well appointed package of everything you need to work with C. The authors do a commendable job covering the language, the standard library, and essential tools such as make and GDB.”
–Kyle Loudon, Senior Engineer, Yahoo!

“‘C in a Nutshell’s’ well chosen example code often brings clarity faster than a wordy description. This book won’t gather dust on your shelf. You’ll be reaching for this one often.”
–Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, President and CEO, Klaralvdalens Datakonsult AB

“In 25 years of writing in C, I’ve never seen a clearer, more complete exposition than this one. Everything is covered in the precise and logical way that programmers like to see.”
–Matt Crawford, Group Leader, Wide Area Systems, Fermilab

“This combination review and reference is a must-have. For those weaned on K&R or ANSI C, this guide brings you up-to-date on the many enhancements added in the 1999 standard.”
–Dave Kitabjian, Director of Software Development, NetCarrier, Inc.

Additional Resources:
Chapter 10, “Structures, Unions, and Bit-Fields,” is available online at:
For more information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bios, and samples, see:
For a cover graphic in JPEG format, go to:

C in a Nutshell
Peter Prinz and Tony Crawford
ISBN: 0-596-10697-7, 600 pages, $39.95, £28.50

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