C++

Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, in his AT&T New Jersey office c. 2000

In 1998, C++98 was released, standardizing the language, and a minor update (C++03) was released in 2003.

As part of the standardization process, ISO also publishes technical reports and specifications:

Local variables are created as the point of execution passes the declaration point. If the variable has a constructor or initializer this is used to define the initial state of the object. Local variables are destroyed when the local block or function that they are declared in is closed. C++ destructors for local variables are called at the end of the object lifetime, allowing a discipline for automatic resource management termed RAII, which is widely used in C++.

Member variables are created when the parent object is created. Array members are initialized from 0 to the last member of the array in order. Member variables are destroyed when the parent object is destroyed in the reverse order of creation. i.e. If the parent is an "automatic object" then it will be destroyed when it goes out of scope which triggers the destruction of all its members.

Temporary variables are created as the result of expression evaluation and are destroyed when the statement containing the expression has been fully evaluated (usually at the ; at the end of a statement).

In summary, a template is a compile-time parameterized function or class written without knowledge of the specific arguments used to instantiate it. After instantiation, the resulting code is equivalent to code written specifically for the passed arguments. In this manner, templates provide a way to decouple generic, broadly applicable aspects of functions and classes (encoded in templates) from specific aspects (encoded in template parameters) without sacrificing performance due to abstraction.

Encapsulation is the hiding of information to ensure that data structures and operators are used as intended and to make the usage model more obvious to the developer. C++ provides the ability to define classes and functions as its primary encapsulation mechanisms. Within a class, members can be declared as either public, protected, or private to explicitly enforce encapsulation. A public member of the class is accessible to any function. A private member is accessible only to functions that are members of that class and to functions and classes explicitly granted access permission by the class ("friends"). A protected member is accessible to members of classes that inherit from the class in addition to the class itself and any friends.

The object-oriented principle ensures the encapsulation of all and only the functions that access the internal representation of a type. C++ supports this principle via member functions and friend functions, but it does not enforce it. Programmers can declare parts or all of the representation of a type to be public, and they are allowed to make public entities not part of the representation of a type. Therefore, C++ supports not just object-oriented programming, but other decomposition paradigms such as modular programming.

Polymorphism enables one common interface for many implementations, and for objects to act differently under different circumstances.

When declaring a function, a programmer can specify for one or more parameters a default value. Doing so allows the parameters with defaults to optionally be omitted when the function is called, in which case the default arguments will be used. When a function is called with fewer arguments than there are declared parameters, explicit arguments are matched to parameters in left-to-right order, with any unmatched parameters at the end of the parameter list being assigned their default arguments. In many cases, specifying default arguments in a single function declaration is preferable to providing overloaded function definitions with different numbers of parameters.

Variable pointers and references to a base class type in C++ can also refer to objects of any derived classes of that type. This allows arrays and other kinds of containers to hold pointers to objects of differing types (references cannot be directly held in containers). This enables dynamic (run-time) polymorphism, where the referred objects can behave differently, depending on their (actual, derived) types.

If the lambda takes no parameters, and no return type or other specifiers are used, the () can be omitted, that is,

The return type of a lambda expression can be automatically inferred, if possible, e.g.:

// Throws an exception, std::out_of_range (indexing for vec is from 0-3 not 1-4)// An exception handler, catches std::out_of_range, which is thrown by vec.at(4)// To catch any other standard library exceptions (they derive from std::exception)// Catch any unrecognised exceptions (i.e. those which don't derive from std::exception)

Unlike signal handling, in which the handling function is called from the point of failure, exception handling exits the current scope before the catch block is entered, which may be located in the current function or any of the previous function calls currently on the stack.

The underlying type of an enumeration is an implementation-defined integral type that is large enough to hold all enumerated values; it does not have to be the smallest possible type. The underlying type can be specified directly, which allows "forward declarations" of enumerations:

// forward declaration. If later there are values defined that don't fit in 'char' it is an error.
The draft "Working Paper" standard that became approved as C++98; half of its size was devoted to the C++ Standard Library.
The C++ standard consists of two parts: the core language and the standard library. C++ programmers expect the latter on every major implementation of C++

Most C++ compilers, and all major ones, provide a standards-conforming implementation of the C++ standard library.

The main aim is to efficiently and consistently write type and resource safe C++.

One of the most often criticised points of C++ is its perceived complexity as a language, with the criticism that a large number of non-orthogonal features in practice necessitates restricting code to a subset of C++, thus eschewing the readability benefits of common style and idioms. As expressed by Joshua Bloch:

I think C++ was pushed well beyond its complexity threshold, and yet there are a lot of people programming it. But what you do is you force people to subset it. So almost every shop that I know of that uses C++ says, "Yes, we're using C++ but we're not doing multiple-implementation inheritance and we're not using operator overloading.” There are just a bunch of features that you're not going to use because the complexity of the resulting code is too high. And I don't think it's good when you have to start doing that. You lose this programmer portability where everyone can read everyone else's code, which I think is such a good thing.

The problem that I have with them today is that... C++ is too complicated. At the moment, it's impossible for me to write portable code that I believe would work on lots of different systems, unless I avoid all exotic features. Whenever the C++ language designers had two competing ideas as to how they should solve some problem, they said "OK, we'll do them both". So the language is too baroque for my taste.

It certainly has its good points. But by and large I think it's a bad language. It does a lot of things half well and it's just a garbage heap of ideas that are mutually exclusive. Everybody I know, whether it's personal or corporate, selects a subset and these subsets are different. So it's not a good language to transport an algorithm—to say, "I wrote it; here, take it." It's way too big, way too complex. And it's obviously built by a committee. Stroustrup campaigned for years and years and years, way beyond any sort of technical contributions he made to the language, to get it adopted and used. And he sort of ran all the standards committees with a whip and a chair. And he said "no" to no one. He put every feature in that language that ever existed. It wasn't cleanly designed—it was just the union of everything that came along. And I think it suffered drastically from that.

C++ has been enormously influential. ... Lots of people say C++ is too big and too complicated etc. etc. but in fact it is a very powerful language and pretty much everything that is in there is there for a really sound reason: it is not somebody doing random invention, it is actually people trying to solve real world problems. Now a lot of the programs that we take for granted today, that we just use, are C++ programs.