Learning C in 1.5 days, is this too much

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by xUKHCx, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    I just came back from a presentation where I found out about a program I can use in my research, however having spoken to my sub supervisor he said I will have to know C to be able to/be allowed to use the program. I have to ask my main supervisor on Friday. By then I would like to be able to read a bit of C just so I can give the impression that I know what I am doing. I won't actually be doing any coding so its not like I need an in depth knowledge of C. All I need is the fancy graphs/videos out the other end. The coding will be done by a PhD student who is extremely familiar with the program and can write in C. I don't have any longer as the simulations that will be run will take at least a month and so they need to be started as soon as possible.

    I am a complete newbie with C the only programming experience I have is a basic understanding of Matlab.

    The person I will by trying to convince only has a basic understanding of C.

    Am I mad?
    Is this at all possible?
    Any suggested reading?
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Not really. The core of the C language is pretty simple. Once you understand pointers (and the difference between call-by-value and call-by-reference) you're basically there, assuming you don't need to know the standard library inside out.

    C is fairly readable too (at least I think it is). Get a decent book and get reading!
  3. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    I don't know, if you have no programming experience, 1.5 days seems not enough to me to grasp most of the basic C concepts. Just understanding pointers alone can be a considerable challenge. If you knew another programming language it'd be easier. However, I'm not saying it's not possible since everyone learns in different ways. Once you get 4-5 chapters into a book, you'll probably have a good idea of how fast you're absorbing.
  4. yeroen macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2007
    Cambridge, MA
    If the person you're trying to persuade only has a basic understanding of C, I'm sure you'd be able to pass off as knowing more than you actually do. People do it all the time in job interviews. You can find the main points to hit here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sams-Teach-...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196893029&sr=8-1
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you understand programming. That means conditional statements, loops. I/O andfunction calls and you know how to design algorithms then learning the syntax of C is not hard.

    Once I was hired to write in Ada. I told the interviewer that I had only been following Ada's development but never wrote any Ada code. He said that was OK because "no one" has written any yet. Ada was to new. What I did was write with the reference book open. I knew I needed a "for loop" so I'd hunt down the Ada syntax. The thing is you have to know you need a loop over the populatd portion of the array. You had to know that things like arrays of structures exist and why you might want to use one then you just look up the syntax for java, C++, Python, Ada or whatever.
  6. xUKHCx thread starter Administrator emeritus


    Jan 15, 2006
    The Kop
    Well I managed to totally blag it :))) and have got the go ahead. You are right it is pretty readable.
  7. mward333 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2004
    A book that is intended for someone who needs to learn C++ in hurry is "Essential C++" by Stanley Lippman. It is a very fast read, very easy to read, and a quick way to learn the basics of good C++ programming. I would recommend this to you, if you find that you need to learn C++ in a hurry (although it sounds like you got past the need anyway....)
  8. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Interesting. When did you code in Ada?

    The first time I developed an Ada program, was in 1980. We did not have the reference book. Instead we had the proposed reference book. It took forever to compile our programs back then.

    To the OP, the key is to understand the basic programming concepts and as others have mentioned, pointers. Since you are not having to do the code, then I would think you can learn enough to get by. If you actually have to do coding, then 1.5 days will probably not be enough time.
  9. kaltsasa macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2002
    Kellogg IA
    I'd say no, but I hate programming. Took me forever to waddle my way through C. I know a couple guys who can pick up a new language at the drop of a pin.
  10. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2006
    I remember back in the 80's I watch I guy writing a inventory program in dos / C when I stayed with them. I picked up how to write C by watching and ended up finishing the code.

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