Borland C++Builder Programming Explorer
by Jim Mischel and Jeff Duntemann

This book review is also published in Developers Review from iTec.
Borland C++Builder Programming Explorer
Jim Mischel and Jeff Duntemann
The Coriolis Group Books
604 pages (with CD-ROM)
This is the second C++Builder book I've read (the first one was Teach Yourself C++Builder in 21 Days from Kent Reisdorph). Both C++Builder books are for a beginning to intermediate programming audience.
Borland C++Builder Programming Explorer is written by two authors in a real cowboy way: first do it (shoot), and then ask questions (find out why or how it works). Jeff and Jim use this way to write the 18 chapters of this book. Jim starts off by doing something with C++Builder, and then (in the next chapter) Jeff comes along to explain the techniques behind it in his own unique style. Together, in alternating chapters, they cover topics like the C++Builder IDE, visual programming, Components, Properties, Buckets (Jim's term for Collections), Forms, Units, Objects (and OO-programming), Dialogs, Files, Graphics and simple Database Applications with C++Builder. As you'll see, these topics range from beginning to intermediate, and while the book is written in a very pleasant and easy way, the authors are not afraid to give you some additional technical information (for the more experienced readers). Jeff uses his famous example (the Object-oriented Mortgage Engine) to explain some of the topics - a real-life approach that helps you to grok the theory.
If you've read the Delphi-edition of this book, then you will notice a lot of similarities. In fact, the 18 chapters from this book are the same 18 first chapters from The New Delphi 2 Programming Explorer. Only the latter also contained 10 more chapters on Ace Breakpoint's Database Adventure (Ace Breakpoint is the Detective and Delphi Programmer) - very funny to read (especially the Detective part) and also very "real-world" (the Delphi part, that is). However, in the Borland C++Builder Programming Explorer, the Ace Breakpoint chapters are not included. Instead, we get a "bonus chapter" taken from Ray Konopka's Custom Delphi 3 Component Development - chapter 10 on writing Custom Windows Components (100 pages out of the 604 total pages).

Borland C++Builder Programming Explorer is a good book to learn how to work with C++Builder. It teaches C++Builder the RAD way (first do something, ask questions later). However, compared to the Delphi-edition of this book (with 10 Ace Breakpoint chapters and 5 dollars cheaper) and the book Teach Yourself C++Builder in 21-Days (at 804 pages and 10 dollar cheaper), I'm having a hard time recommending this book with all my heart. The content is OK, but I expected a little bit more...

(Bob Swart)

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