Programmieren mit C (2021-06-14 - 2021-06-18)

Preparation: Tools


Day 1

  • Introduction (from the C slides)

    • Hello World

    • Variables and Arithmetic

    • for Loops

    • Symbolic Constants

    • Character I/O

  • Occasional live hacking

Day 2

State machine

It turns out that the correct solution to exercise on slide 37 of the slide deck is a state machine. It enables us to correctly cover all corner cases (e.g. multiple consecutive spaces between two words) …

  • wc.c became a state machine, implementing the above state chart. Using if-then-else to cover the states.

  • Introduced the switch statement (slightly :-) deviating from the regular course flow); changed the state maching to use that instead of if-then-else. See wc-switch.c

Regular Course Topics

  • Introduced pre and post increment operators (again severely deviating). See pre-post-increment.c.

  • Ah, arrays: leading to the “histogram” exercise (slide 41 from the slides). Solution see here on Github

  • Functions. Slides 44ff. from the slides (the power() function from the K&R book) as a live hacking gig. See here on Github.

  • Quick CMake intro, as a preparation for the upcoming group project. Confusing people.

Day 3

Development Tools (Git & CMake) Installation Massacre

  • Git. See here for instructions about how to use Git with VS Code. It turns out that

    • Git Extension Pack guides users through workflows pretty well. Staging, commits, merges.

    • Except that we appear to have problems with Github authentication, which is why we use Github Desktop for remote stuff like clone, push, pull.

  • CMake. Doze installation; use the MSI (the installer package).

Regular Course Material

  • Fast run-through: slides 64-75

  • Stop at enums/76: morph wc.c state machine into a perfect enum candidate. This is the time to …

    • Show how to use enum in the state machine from above.

    • Enable -Wswitch-enum (nowadays included in -Wall, apparently) CMakeLists.txt

    • Show how default:-less switch statements, enum``s, and ``-Wswitch-enum can work together and help me maintain code better.

    Program see here.

  • “Variable Definitions” section. Slides 77ff. Emphasize on local variables (this is what we saw so far) more. Lifetime, initialization, etc.

  • Almost skip 81-88. Operators, boring.

  • Hard stop at “Type Conversions”, slides 89ff. Make people run away screaming (intentionally).

Group Project Kick-Off :-)

Kick off “group project”. Git, CMake, and team development, with rather artificial use cases. But anyway, these are use cases. See here.

Exercise: in the group-project/ directory,

  • Build a program that uses declarations from db.h, to

    • Iterate over what is in the user database ⟶ userdb alongside num_users, external variables.

    • Write CSV output.

  • Add build instructions to group-project/CMakeLists.txt.

  • When done, commit and push to Github.

Day 4

Regular Course Material

Exercise: Encapsulate Index Access to userdb

  • In your CSV export programs, replace the direct index access to userdb with the API function db_get_user_at_index() from db.h.

  • userdb must not be seen anymore in any user code.


Group Project (Use Case Driven Course Flow :-) )

  • Hide implementation details: use static for the userdb array. (More on slides 298ff.)

  • Add user record to DB. Have to use strcpy(). Here a sketch of the internal “organisation”.


Day 5

Pointer Recap

  • strlen(). Man page

  • strcpy(). Man page.

    Here is how to produce undefined bahavior by allocating too less space for the target string.

    #include <string.h>
    #include <stdio.h>
    int main(void)
        char src[] = "abc";
        char dest[2]; // far too less, should be at least 4!
        strcpy(dest, src);
        printf("src: %s, dest: %s\n", src, dest);
        return 0;
  • Pointer massacre: strtol(). Man page.

    Live hacking example: str-to-int-conversion.c


On With Group Project

  • Show how error codes can be implemented

    • Error code definition using an enum. db.h, enum Error.

    • Error code stringification, db_error_string().

      • db.h, declaration.

      • db.c, definition. Note how we are using a default-less switch statement, together with -Wall (implicitly enabling -Wswitch-enum) in the toplevel CMakeLists.txt.

  • Valgrind. Here’s a YouTube Video on it.

  • File IO: binary vs. text. Here’s a YouTube Video on it.

  • CMake: show how you build and use libraries. group-project/CMakeLists.txt.

Further Information

Here’s some literature :-) to study as a preparation for our upcoming C++ course. Unfortunately, there are no absolute high-quality tutorial videos out there - one reason might be that those languages are not as sexy anymore as, for example, Python (where you can pick your favorites from a large pool of high quality material).

C++ Basics

Pointers, Pointer Arithmetic, and the Standard Template Library (STL)