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15 Best Books to Learn C Programming in 2024

15 Best Books to Learn C Programming in 2024. such as Pointers on C, C Traps and Pitfalls, C Primer Plus, The C Book, C Elements of Style, Modern C..
Today we will talk about the 15 Best Books to Learn C Programming in 2024. Books are very personal things, and programming books are no exception. We all help master the basic knowledge of a certain language by reading books. 

I read books to fully explore the flexibility of this language. I carefully reviewed some of my favorite C language books and selected the 15 best books to learn c programming for beginners that meant the most to me.

15 Best Books to Learn C Programming in 2024

Today we talk about the best books to learn the c programming language. C language is a general-purpose, process-oriented high-level programming language. It is also one of the most popular and influential programming languages. 

The language was designed to be compiled by a compiler to perform low-level operations on memory, execute machine instructions efficiently, and require minimal support at runtime. 

Many programming languages ​​benefit from the C language, which is like the universal language of the programming world.

The C language is very easy to understand. It allows programmers to organize programs in a clear, simple, and logical way. This is a very flexible, practical, and concise language, and it also has very easy-to-read grammar. 

The code written in the C language runs very fast. The underlying facilities of the computer can be operated very simply. The instructions of the compiler can allow us to generate the same version of the program for devices of different architectures.

Here we recommend the 15 best books to learn c programming from scratch.

1. Pointers on C


"Pointers on C"-Don't be fooled by the title of the book. This book seems to specifically talk about pointers, but it is actually a more complete description of the language and operating environment of the C language. 

Although there are some suspicions of copying and pasting to fill the space (the string, data structure, IO, standard library, and so on behind are a bit of a hodgepodge, well I'm really not black, but it is really necessary to see the document in F1 Did you get them all in?), it is worth reading to have some discussion on the implementation details of some compilers. By the way, some exercises are not bad. In general, it is worth buying and scanning it.

Pointers on C is the official evaluation "C" language programming book, a necessary manual for C language introduction!" If you have a little understanding of the 'C' language, children's shoes know that pointers are a particularly important part of the C language and are written in C language. For a slightly more complicated code, it is impossible to rely on pointers. 

I remember that there was once a technical expert, in order to prove that pointers could not be used, who wrote a particularly complex and huge program with arrays, but after changing to pointers, the amount of code was reduced several times. 

To be able to use the C language with ease, pointer learning can be said to be very important. This book is to help us integrate the powerful functions of pointers into our programs by discussing the basic knowledge and advanced features of pointers.

2. C Traps and Pitfalls 


"C Traps and Pitfalls" This book is a typical provocation, but in my opinion, (maybe because of the relatively old book), the provocations it picks are generally not hard enough and not lethal, basically It is a beginner (barely intermediate) error. Students who have written C language for a few years should understand what I mean. 

If you want to see those real C Traps and Pitfalls, you still have to look for them in actual projects (I mean the kind that smashed their feet with a single shot). There is nothing good about this book, I will sell it to him for fifty cents if he wants it.

3. C Primer Plus 


"C Primer Plus" this book has not only the basic knowledge but also the later stage of sublimation, making it more difficult. Very good for self-study. 

Tell the knowledge points and precautions of C language with a complete program, and there are a lot of exercises to help readers learn and consolidate.

4. The C Book


Author: Mike Banahan, Declan Brady, and Mark Doran, 350 pages

This book is designed for programmers who already have the ability to use modern high-level process-oriented programming languages. 

This book focuses on the peculiarities of the C language. Especially the way to use the C language is the focus of this book.

Contains the following chapters:
  • Introduction to Variables and Algorithms-Introduces the basic knowledge of C language, including keywords and identifiers, variable declarations, real number types, integer types, expressions and algorithms, and constants
  • The control flow and logical expressions chapter introduces several methods that can be used to control program flow in the C language, including some statements that have not yet been introduced. Control flow, logical expressions, and strange operators.
  • Function-function type, recursion, parameter passing, and linking
  • Arrays and pointers-arrays, pointers, character processing, size and storage space allocation, function pointers, expressions containing pointers, arrays, & operator and function declarations
  • Structure data types-structures, unions, bit fields, enumerated types, qualifiers, derived types, and initialization
  • Preprocessor-how the preprocessor works and its related instructions
  • Some specific content in C language-declaration, definition, typedef, const and volatile, and sequence points
  • Libraries-diagnostics, character processing, localization, implementation-related restrictions, mathematical functions, non-local jumps, signal processing, variable parameters, input and output, formatted I/O, character I/O, unformatted I/ O, random access function, general function, string processing, date and time
  • A complete program is written in C language-combining the above content, main function parameters, parsing program parameters, pattern matching program, and a more difficult program

5. C Elements of Style


Author: Steve Oualline, 265 pages

This is a very useful programming style guide, instructing C and C++ programmers how to write well-readable, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-maintain programs. 

Whether you are a student or a professional programmer, you can benefit from the tips and techniques provided in this book to build elegant and reliable code.

This book is intended to show readers how to incorporate good style code into your program. Machines only process code, while humans focus on comments. A good programming style is related to both parts.

Our ultimate goal is to build well-designed and well-written code that is efficient for computers and contains well-written comments to help humans understand the program. 

In this way, debugging, maintenance, and enhancement of the program have become easier. Finally, the readability, conciseness, reliability, and maintainability of the code are improved.

In this book, you can find guidelines for writing comments, program headers, variable naming, statement formatting, statement details, writing preprocessor commands, organizing directories, and creating makefiles.

6. Build Your Own Lisp 


Author: Daniel Holden, 212 pages

While learning the C language, learn how to create your own programming language-a simplest Lisp language (less than 1,000 lines of code).

This book is written for two kinds of people, one is for people who want to learn the C language, and the other is for people who want to know how to create a language. 

This book is not suitable as the first introductory book, because you need some programming experience to understand its content.

7. The GNU C Programming Tutorial 


Author: Mark Burgess, Ron Hale-Evans, 290 pages

This book introduces readers to the basic content of the C language in a logical sequence. The content of this book covers the details of all the main contents of the C language and how to use C language programming, with special emphasis on the GNU/Linux compiler and related software.

Some chapters mainly introduce functions, variables and declarations, scopes, expressions and operators, parameters, pointers, judgments, loops, arrays, strings, input and output, and so on.

8. Essential C 


Author: Nick Parlante, 45 pages

This short document explains all the common features and techniques of the C language. This document is very concise, so its target audience is people who already have a background in other programming languages.

The content includes variables, integers, floating-point types, type promotion, truncation, operators, control structures (if, while, for), functions, numeric parameters, reference parameters, structures, pointers, arrays, preprocessors, and C language Standard library functions.

  • Introduction
  • Basic types and operators
  • Control structure
  • Complex data type
  • function
  • Miscellaneous
  • Advanced arrays and pointers
  • Operators and standard library

9. Beej's Guide to Network Programming 


Author: Brian “Beej” Hall, 130 pages

This book tries to bring a kind of pleasure that can only be produced by pure C language programming to those readers who are confused.

  • Building the basic building blocks of the program
  • Variables, expressions, and statements. A variable is the name of a number-a C language expression that can contain other expressions and operators. The article also introduces if, while, do-while, and for statements that are repeatedly executed by the program.
  • Function-When the program blocks become very large, or when these program blocks are used to perform some specific work, we will encapsulate them in functions.
  • Variables (continued)-discusses the scope and storage types of variables
  • Pointers-They is the addresses of data in memory. Just like the value of an integer can be 12, the value of a pointer is the address of the data in memory
  • Structure-Structure allows you to group logically related variables. You can use it as a whole later.
  • Array-a linear collection of related data
  • String-A string in C language is a group of consecutive bits in memory, containing a group of characters
  • Dynamic memory-discussed malloc(), free(), realloc() and calloc() functions
  • More content-pointer arithmetic, typedef, enumeration, structure declaration, command line parameters, multidimensional arrays, type conversion, type promotion, incomplete types, void pointers, NULL pointers, and static keywords
  • Standard input and output library used to read and write files.
  • String operations-functions for finding substrings functions for concatenating strings, functions for obtaining string length, etc.
  • Arithmetic-some functions that can meet your basic arithmetic needs.

10. Modern C


Author: Jens Gustedt, 310 pages

This book encourages readers to explore the features of the C language level by level. The content is divided into the following five levels:
  • The first layer-to make readers understand the most basic C language program. Understand the purpose and data structure of using C language, and how to use them
  • The second layer detailed description of most of the main concepts and features, including control structures, data type operators, and functions. The main purpose of this level is to allow readers to have a deeper understanding of the knowledge necessary for these operating procedures.
  • The third layer is the core part of the C language. The pointer is explained in detail, so that you are familiar with the memory model of the C language, and lets you understand the interface of most C language libraries
  • The fourth is an in-depth understanding of some specific topics. Such as performance, reentrancy, atomicity, threading, and generic programming
  • The fifth layer explores the author's understanding of the future development trend of this language

11. An Introduction to GCC


Author: Brian Gough, 144 pages

This book introduces the GNU C language and C++ compilers GCC and g++, which are part of the GNU Compiler Suite (GCC).

This book describes how to use the compiler. Through years of observing the issues on the mailing list, this book leads readers to the important content of GCC.

Chapter introduction:
  • Compile C program-describes how to use GCC to compile C language programs. A single file or multiple files can be compiled, and operating system functions and header files can also be used.
  • Compilation options introduce some commonly used compilation options in GCC. These parameters control some functions, such as searching the path of library functions and header files, and provide additional compilation warnings and diagnostics. Preprocess macros and C language dialects.
  • Use preprocessor-describes the use of CPP (GNU C preprocessor), CPP is part of GCC. The preprocessor will expand the macros in the code before compilation. When GCC processes c or c+ code, the preprocessor will be called automatically.
  • Compile the program with debugging information a-g option is provided to store additional debugging information in the intermediate file and executable file. This debugging information allows us to track down errors and locate problems in machine instructions to the source code.
  • Optimized compilation-GCC is an optimized compiler. It provides many options to speed up the compilation or reduce the size of the compiled file.
  • Compiling C++ Programs-describes how to use GCC to compile C++ programs and the command-line options that can be used in the language.
  • Platform-related options-introduces the options available for some common platforms
  • Troubleshooting-GCC provides some help and diagnostic options to help us locate problems during the compilation process.
  • Compiler-related related Introduces some useful tools that will be used in the GCC compilation process. The GNU archiving tool is used to create the library, GNU performance, and coverage test programs gprof and gcov
  • How the Compiler Works-Describes in detail how GCC compiles source files into executable files. The compilation is a multi-stage process involving many tools, including the GNU compiler itself, the GNU assembler, and the GNU linker. The various tools used in the compilation process are collectively referred to as the compilation chain.
  • Check the compiled file-introduces some tools used to check the contents of executable files and obj files.
  • Common error messages are the most common error and warning messages generated by GCC and G++. Each situation comes with cause analysis, examples, and suggested solutions.
  • To help the reader encounter a problem that is not mentioned in the book, there are many manuals that introduce GCC and languages ​​for reference.

12. C Programming Language 

by Brian W.Kernighan, Dennis M.Ritchie


This is by far in all programming language's most widely respected books One of the classics is a must-read for any C programmer. Because it came from the designer of the C language Dennis M. Ritchie and the famous computer scientist Brian W. Kernighan. 

It was the first to introduce the "Hello World!" program, which became almost the first example in any subsequent introductory programming language book.

Just like the C language itself is concise, compact, and powerful, this book is thin, short, and full of tension. 

Through concise descriptions and typical examples, it comprehensively, systematically, and accurately describes the characteristics of the C language and the basic methods of C programming, covering basic concepts, types and expressions, control flow, functions and program structures, pointers And array, structure, input and output, UNIX system interface and standard library, etc.

Conciseness and clarity are the biggest features of this book. This little book can teach you a lot of "big tome" knowledge that is several times thicker than it. I think those technical writers who are eager to put together hundreds or even thousands of pages should learn from K&R. 

For intermediate and advanced programmers, if you want to quickly acquire a serious knowledge of the C language but are not willing to spend even a little bit of time, this book is the first choice.

By the way, the indexing of this book is excellent and of great practical value, which may first be attributed to the conciseness of the main text. In addition, although it looks like a tutorial, it is actually a guide for professional programmers. 

If you do not have any other programming background or basic C language knowledge, this book may not be suitable for your C language enlightenment reading.

13. Expert C Programming 

by Perter Van Der LinDen


C language is a serious programmer's language, but this does not mean that C language books must be preached. 

In this book, nicknamed "Fish Book" by C programmers (there is an "ugly" coelacanth on the cover), Peter vividly demonstrated as a member of SUN's compiler and operating system core development team His deep technical precipitation, rich project experience, superb writing skills, and signature humor. 

In this work, the author naturally incorporates anecdotal allusions, wisdom, and humor into technical descriptions with fluent writing and witty brushwork. It reads like a novel and is extremely interesting. 

This book tells the history of the C language, language features, declarations, arrays, pointers, connections, runtime, and memory usage. It reveals many cryptic aspects of the C language, especially in-depth analysis of declarations, arrays and pointers, and memory usage. And other details. 

To become an expert C programmer, these contents must be mastered. Unlike other C language books full of abstract examples, this book is full of a large number of C programming examples from the real world, which have a high reference value for C programmers. 

In addition, each chapter ends with a very interesting "Take it easy", and Appendix A "Secrets of Programmer Job Interview" is a good material for programmers of any language to increase their confidence before applying for a job.

I suspect that true C experts may not need to read this book's content to the organization to the style of writing, it is a relaxed and pleasant "from rookie to master" advanced reading book, so it should have more Broad readership. 

Junior programmers often need more enthusiastic encouragement. In the process of reading this book, you will be deeply infected by the author's passion for programming.

There is no perfection in the world. I think the flaw of this book is that, like most mediocre C language books, it superfluously adds a chapter on C++. From today's point of view, this description is neither comprehensive nor fair. 

However, given that the author observed C++ from the perspective of a C programmer in 1994, this is not surprising. 

14. C: A Reference Manual 

by Samuel P. Harbison, Guy L. Steele 


Among the C language reference manual books, C: A Reference Manual co-authored by Samuel P. Harbison and Guy L. Steele is an excellent one. 

The fifth edition of this manual adds an introduction to the C99 standard to meet the needs of C language learning in the new era. 

The book is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on C language features, and the second part discusses the C standard library comprehensively. 

This book covers all knowledge of C99, C89, traditional C, all versions of the C runtime library, and writing C code compatible with C++.

This manual is only moderately thick, but it describes the present and past aspects of the C language more clearly than other reference manuals that are "thicker than it." 

The technical details of the entire manual are accurately described, the organization is clear, and the content is complete, detailed, and concise. It can be said that it excels in breadth, depth, and precision. 

For intermediate and advanced C programmers, this manual is worth keeping on file. It is almost certainly used more frequently than K&R's works.

15. C Interfaces and Implementations 

by David Hanson


C Interfaces and Implementations: Techniques for Creating Reusable Software

C language can last for more than 30 years, an important reason lies in its adaptability. In this era of "reuse", "object-oriented", "components", "exception handling" and other advanced mechanisms flying all over the world, the C language can still rely on its small and elegant language features to meet modern software architecture to a considerable extent. 

The request was made. However, if you want to reach this level, you must reach the highest level of C's application skills. 

In the development of embedded systems, system software, and systems with extremely high-performance requirements, developers must reach this level and be proficient in the advanced features of the C language to be able to meet the requirements of efficiency, flexibility, and reusability at the same time. 

Unfortunately, although C language technical books are crowded, there are only a handful of works focusing on this pinnacle. David Hanson's C Interfaces and Implementations is one of the best.

David Hanson is a collaborator of LCC, a well-known free compiler in the industry. In this project, he was responsible for providing a highly reusable infrastructure. In continuous practice, he completely used ANSI C to form a complete set of reusable component libraries. 

This set of component libraries has a clear architecture, and excellent performance, and provides many advanced features, such as a Win32 SEH-like exception handling mechanism, portable thread library, high-performance memory pool, and rich reusable data structure components. 

David Hanson wrote in this book about the experience he accumulated during the creation of these components and the exquisite analysis of their source code. 

This kind of work can of course be called a masterpiece in the field of C language. No wonder the late famous technical writer Richard Stevens praised this book. 

He said: "The technology in this book, for most C programmers, has been forgotten for too long." For the hope that it can be applied to the C language. For core programmers at the highest level, this book is a rare must-read. 

Programmers can learn the C program in 4 ways

If a beginner wants to learn to program, some seniors will recommend starting with Python, PHP, and Java. However, some programmers start programming directly in the C language.

So, how to learn the C language? The following w3cschool provides 4 ways to get started in the C language:

1. Brush questions

When most programmers learn to program, they still turn on a simple and rude mode of writing questions.

Scanning the interview is of great benefit to the interview and the improvement of technology. The scanning website strongly promotes Leetcode, Codility, Lintcode, etc.

2. Type the code again

It's always shallow on paper, and I absolutely know that I have to do it personally.

Reading the code a hundred times is not as good as reading it by hand. For example, to read the "C Programming Language", it is best to compile and run the code and exercises inside, even debugging and improvement are needed.

Some codes are very simple at first glance, but when you type them again, you will encounter many detailed problems.

The difference between ordinary programmers and excellent programmers is often in the observation and perception of details.

3. Project exercises

Programming project exercises are indispensable. What are the projects that can be done like C language programming?

For example, Windows API writes picture viewers, writes chat room software through Socket, and develops dynamic web pages through CGI.

4. Look at classic C language programming books

Many people learn the "C" language directly by reading books, such as "C Language Programming" written by Tan Haoqiang.

However, w3cschool also has some other recommendations here, such as the book "C Programming Language" by Dennis, the father of the C language, which is thin but condensed.

There are also "C Language Collection" and "C Primer Plus", these are not to be missed.

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