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Master Visual C++ 2 (1994): A Visit to the Old Folks’ Home

Nathan and Ori Gurewich, Master Visual C++ 2 (Sams, 1994)

[originally posted 19Feb2002]

A bunch of flying puzzle pieces hover over a CD on the book's cover.

Never underestimate the power of a puzzling cover.
photo credit:

Given the dominance of Microsoft in the programming market and the plethora of supposedly platform-specific C++ books on the market, it would seem a difficult task to come up with one definitive beginner’s text. Such is not the case, and Master Visual C++ 2 is without a doubt the definitive book for the VC++2 platform. The authors spend little time covering the basics of C++ (but enough to get someone who’s never read any general material on the subject up to speed) and devote most of the book’s thousand-plus pages to the Visual C++ platform itself. While the book does have its drawbacks, it does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it better than any other book I’ve encountered.

The drawbacks are worth commenting on, because despite the dominance the book has (or should have), there are some areas in which it could use improvement. The main one is that the book spends far too much time with examples that are either dialog-based or use dialog control forms in an SDI environment. Very little is done with actual SDI or MDI applications. Also, OLE and ODBC support is touched on far too little here, given its importance in the Visual C+ 2 framework. Computer book buyers have gotten too used to books covering specific topics, and we’ve stopped demanding that general introductory books deal with those topics. Bad idea, especially when you’re shelling out $40-50 apiece.

Still, if you’re learning Visual C++, and most Windows programmers will at some point, this is an excellent place to start for DOS/Win3.x/Win95 programmers. *** ½

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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