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Department of Information Science and Telecommunications


INFSCI 0012 - Introduction to Programming

(Fall 2005, CRN 27655)

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Course Books

INFSCI 0012 is designed to teach programming for the complete beginners (or for those who have problems with regular programming courses). Selecting proper books to support a "gentle introduction" into programming is one of the keys to sucess. This page lists your course books and some supplementary books that may be helpful for your to master the subject. You should be able to get both required books in the University Book Center. Both required books and two supplemantary books (Gookin and Deitel & Deitel) have also been reserved for you in the Information Sciences Library. You can locate the reserved books through Course Reserves.

Main course books

We need two books for this course. One is for Karel The Robot programming environment that we will use as a tool to learn the basic principles of programming. Another is for learning C that will be the main content of the course. For this course I am recomminding a rather unusual book of Greg Perry that was written not for college students, but for the "home reader" market. This kind of books are simply cheaper and provide a good value for those without programming experience.  This book was found very usuful by a number of our students who were starting almost from scratch. It's a good value for its price. Note, however, that the course is not linked to Perry book. Any reasonable book on C will work for you. Below you can find a list of some other C textbooks that the instructor considers as good. If you prefer reading from screen, you may not need a C book at all. We have located and prepared several online C textbooks that you can read through our Knowledge Sea system (see Course Tools section).

Karel The Robot: A Gentle Introduction to the Art of Programming, 2nd Edition
Richard E. Pattis, Jim Roberts, Mark Stehlik
John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0471597252

Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($25.95 new, $9.95 used)

Absolute Beginner's Guide to C
by Greg M. Perry

2nd edition
Sams, 1994.
ISBN: 0672305100

Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($15.40 new, $13 used)

Supplementary books on C:

This section is for those who want to consider another C book or an extra C book. The instructor of this course have reviewed about a dozen of popular books on C and also have collected recommendations of students who took S12 and IS15 courses in the past. Here are some additional books that I can recommend most. Pick one that better fits your style or simply one that you have around (i.e., can borrow or buy used). Examine readers' feedback for these books on Amazon.com when making a decision. Note also that some of them could be available for less than half of its price on an auction.

The first book by Kernighan and Ritchie is considered as a "bible" of C programmers. It's a definite reference book on C, but it is has almost no explanations that are important for novices. You can find it in the library, but it was not reserved for IS0012.

The second book is another example of a book from the "home reader" market. It's bigger than Perry's book and could be a good "second source". It is reserved for our course in the library.

The rest of the books in this list are among the best college textbooks on C. College textbooks are specially written with college students in mind, but they tend to be expensive. They have been used in the past in conjunction with other courses at our department and other departments at Pitt, so you have a good chance to get a used copy from your fellow students. Most of them can be found in Pitt library. Any of these books can serve for IS12 and later for IS15. However, our students have found that they are less suitable for complete beginners than Perry's and Gookin's books. Note that among these books "C How to Program" by Harvey and Paul Deitel (last in the list) was the most popular supplementary book among students of both IS12 and IS15. It is reserved for you in the Information Sciences Library. Note that in addition to these books, the KnowledgeSea tool (see Course Tools section) that we use for the course provides structured access to several free Web-based books and tutorials on C language. Check this source before deciding to buy yet another book.

The C Programming Language, 2nd edition1
Brian Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie
Prentice Hall 1989, 274 pp.
ISBN 0-13-110362-8

Read publisher's description of the book
Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($40)

1It's important that you get the second edition because it presents the ANSI standard version of C. The second edition of the book is commonly referred as K&R2

C for Dummies
Dan Gookin

IDG Books Worldwide, 800 pp.
ISBN: 1568849397

Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($31.99)

A Book on C: Programming in C
Al Kelley and Ira Pohl
4th Edition (earlier editions will also work)
Addison-Wesley1998, 752 pp.
ISBN 0-201-18399-4

Read publisher's description of the book
Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($39.95)

ANSI C: Problem Solving and Programming
Kenneth Barclay
Prentice Hall, 1991, 500 pp.
ISBN 0-13-037326-5

Read publisher's description of the book
Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($61)

Programming in ANSI C
Stephen G. Kochan

Sams, 1994, 534 pp.
ISBN: 0672303396

Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($23.96)

C How to Program
Harvey Deitel, Paul Deitel
3rd Edition (earlier editions will also work)
Prentice Hall, 2000, 1253 pp.
ISBN: 0130895725

Read publisher's description of the book
Buy / read about this book at amazon.com ($70.00)

Copyright © 2004 Peter Brusilovsky