CSE 303: Concepts and Tools for Software Development
Are the textbooks required?
There are three books listed for the course:
Although (1) and (2) are listed as "required" and (3) as
"optional," additional explanation will help...
- Linux Pocket Guide by Daniel J. Barrett, O'Reilly, 2004.
- Programming in C (3rd Ed.) by Stephen G. Kochan, Sams Publishing, 2005.
- C: A Reference Manual (5th Ed.) by Samuel P. Harbison, Guy
L. Steele. Prentice Hall, 2002.
- (1) and (3) are reference-style books (not
textbooks) with reliable, useful information related to parts of the
course. Much of the information is available elsewhere for free
(especially for (1)), but
the time you save by having these books in your hand is probably well
worth the cost.
- (2) is more like a textbook, but we will not
follow it closely. It can provide an excellent
second-explanation for topics related to C, but you will be
responsible only for the topics discussed in class or investigated on
homeworks. Many students struggle with C, and the explanations in
this text may prove very useful.
- Many of the topics covered in the course are not covered by any
of the three texts. However, they are covered well by free resources
such as man pages and web pages.
- Having good reference books should prove useful in many parts of
the CSE curriculum and even after you graduate. So these are
excellent books to have even if much of the information is available
- If you would like even more information
about Linux, shells, emacs, etc. in your hands, "Linux in a
Nutshell" published by O'Reilly has about 900 pages of useful
stuff. (Apparently the nutshell is for a rather large nut.)
Bottom line: It is possible for some students to get all the
information they need in this course without the textbooks since they
will only occasionally be referred to. However, they are good books
with lots of information and alternate explanations, so not getting
them and making the course and your future endeavors more difficult
may be a very bad idea.