Programming Applications for Microsoft Windows - Jeffrey Richter

This appears to be the Microsoft Press book as far as Win32 programming goes. Proper Win32 programming, that is, not GUI stuff (Petzold) or MFC or COM or whatever. And it's a big book, at over 1000 pages, plus the obligatory CDROM. And... it's a bit of a let down.

It's certainly not bad - I've learnt an awful lot from it, including stuff I don't feel I would have found even with a lot of web-crawling. It's a good, solid guide to the basics of Win32. On the other hand, there's a lot of padding in the form of listings printed out that were included on the CDROM anyway. And while a number of topics are interesting and deserve attention, it does feel like some of the easier topics are spun out at length.

It basically seems that someone said 'we need a thousand-page book on the Win32 API', and this is what they got. The downside of this spinning-out approach is that a number of truly interesting topics are almost completely ignored. Some more internals would really make it worthwhile. Admittedly, some topics are NT-only, and might be viewed as not being part of the Win32 API proper. Things like LPC just aren't dealt with. But why is the coverage of I/O completion ports so poor, and why is the registry completely ignored? Presumably to sell us more 1000-page books.

Posted 2005-04-13.