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 Book Review: C++Builder How-To
See Also: Dr.Bob's Programming Books for Delphi & C++Builder books co-authored by Bob Swart
Borland C++Builder How-To
John Miano, Tom Cabanski, Harold Howe
Waite Group Press
822 pages with CD-ROM
There are a number of good C++Builder books on the market that introduce you to the environment and prepare you for the "real-world" work. Not so with this book on C++Builder.
Borland C++Builder How-To is a very good book to read after you've read some other (often introductionary) C++Builder books and are ready to do some real world projects. The book consists of 120 problems with (detailed) solutions, divided and grouped into 17 chapters with topics as follows: 1. Forms (10), 2. Standard Components and Classes (9), 3. Text Controls (8), 4. Mouse and Menu (7), 5. Graphics (13), 6. Environment and System (14), 7. Peripherals (4), 8. Internet (5), 9. Multimedia (6), 10. Printing (5), 11. Database (10), 12. Threads (7), 13. OLE (4), 14. Exceptions (4), 15. Custom Components (3), 16. The Polished Application (5) and a miscelaneous chapter 17. Tips and Tricks (6). (the numbers between brackets indicate the number of problems/solutions per chapter). Some problems/solutions build upon previous solutions in the same chapter, so you can also see the side-effects of some of the solutions. All problems/solutions have a little indication about the complexity level (either easy, intermediate or advanced) to prepare the reader. Most of them are in fact problems that you will really face when you start working on that next killer app of yours (I know, I've already read some problems/solutions I wish I knew before I had to solve them myself)!

The book can be used in two ways: either you can start reading it from cover to cover, or you can just browse it once, and keep the table of contents at hand (for when you're facing a problem and need a solution). Either way, you will learn a lot from the book, although I personally prefer to use it in the later way (as a reference for when I'm in trouble). This way, if you just make sure you have the book at hand, the page of contents is actually the most important part (I made a copy of it to keep at hand at all times, just as with the book Delphi How-To).

The CD-ROM contains a about 128 Mb of source code and examples, including a trial edition of Delphi 2.01 and a number of third-party tools such as ImageLib, NViewLib, Bison, Flex, etc. And indeed, that illustrates the only bad point about this book: it's about the first version of C++Builder, so partly outdated by now (and due for an update/upgrade anytime).

(Bob Swart)

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