TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Cplusplus Programming Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 12
Column Tag: Programmer's Bookshelf

The C++ Programming Language

By Paul E. Sevinç, Switzerland

Third Edition and Special Edition

A couple of months ago, Addison-Wesley published a special edition of the third edition of Bjarne Stroustrup's The C++ Programming Language [1, 2]. The special edition features two new appendices that my copy of the third edition (9th printing) does not contain. However, both appendices are freely available from Bjarne Stroustrup's home page [3]. And except for minor differences that exist between any two printings (cf. erratas [3]), the contents of both editions are identical.

The book teaches Standard C++ and the C++ Standard Library, and discusses programming techniques supported by C++. In my experience, it also serves well as a reference manual.

The four main parts of the book—Basic Facilities, Abstraction Mechanisms, The Standard Library, and Design Using C++ — are preceded by an introductory part, Introductory Material. All the chapters contain a section called Advice where in other books one would find a summary. With the exception of the first two chapters of the last part, all the chapters in the main parts end with exercise sections.

The advice sections just contain a list of tips (a few up to two dozen). Examples are "Use 0 rather than NULL" [1, p. 104] or "Avoid type fields" [1, p. 324]. Taken out of context, they appear to be trivial at best, but I find them to be quite valuable both while learning C++ and in practice.

Introductory Material

The introduction consists of three chapters.

The first chapter is mostly non-technical and gives an overview of the book, recaps C++'s history, etc. Even though it gives the impression of being unimportant, I highly recommend to carefully read this chapter. It contains very interesting background material on C++.

The second and third chapter give an overview of the language and the standard library, respectively. What is quickly explained in these two chapters is explained in (much) more detail in later chapters. Readers new to C++ will most certainly not understand everything, but that is not necessary. However, who thinks of herself or himself as a C++ programmer can use these chapters as a refresher course on the one hand and as a fitness test on the other hand.

Basic Facilities

The six chapters of part I describe the language constructs that support procedural and modular programming. These two paradigms are briefly explained in chapter 2 only. Therefore, the reader shoud at least be familiar with procedural programming and the principle of information hiding.

Chapter 4 presents the built-in types as well as enumerations, declarations, and synonyms for types (typedefs). Chapter 5 treats pointers and references, arrays, and structures (records). Chapter 6 discusses expressions, statements, and comments. Chapter 7 focuses on functions, but contains some information on macros as well. Chapter 8 shows how C++ programs can be modularized with the help of namespaces and introduces exception handling. Chapter 9, finally, is about organizing C++ programs into files.

All the chapters are rather terse with mostly tiny code examples. (A notable exception is the desk-calculator example in the first section of the sixth chapter.) Since the objective is to introduce language features, and not to teach how to program, I do not think that this is a problem. On the contrary, readers familiar with C-like syntax will appreciate Stroustrup's style of quickly getting to the point. Others should not have any problems, either, even though they might need to read a section more than once in order to familiarize with the C++ syntax.

Abstraction Mechanisms

The six chapters of part II describe the language constructs that support abstract data types (ADTs), object-oriented programming (OOP), and generic programming.

Chapter 10 explains how ADTs can be defined that in their "look-and-feel" do not differ from built-in types. Chapter 11 complements chapter 10 by introducing operator overloading as well as friend functions and conversion operators. Both chapters lay the foundation of the rest of the book, in particular of chapters 12 and 15 that treat C++'s support for OOP and also introduce the OOP vocabulary. Chapter 13 and chapter 14 cover templates and exception handling, respectively.

These chapters are less terse, and the code examples are bigger as well. Readers with experience in OOP will again be happy with the pace. However, I am afraid that many OOP novices will need to look for a more gentle introduction to OOP.

The Standard Library

The seven chapters of part III present the standard library. Unlike the other four parts, I have not re-read this part for this review. (I have read the book [albeit the 1st printing] in its entirety about three years ago and have used it as a reference manual since then.)

But I remember that I had no difficulty to understand the organization and semantics of the library. Furthermore, whenever I look for a certain stream or container, I quickly find it and am able to put it to good use in my code.

Design Using C++

The three chapters of part IV, Development and Design, Design and Programming, and Roles of Classes, round off the book.

This part cannot be a replacement for a good software-engineering book on, for instance, modeling, patterns, or component orientation. Nevertheless, Stroustrup's unique relation to C++ and his many years of experience as a software developer provided him with more than enough valuable material and insights to share with the readers. In my opinion, junior developers will profit most from this part, but it is definitely of interest to senior developers as well.

Conclusion

In the course of the last five years, I have read quite a few books in the field of computer science & engineering. Naturally, I encountered bad, good, and also some very good ones.

Bjarne Stroustrup's The C++ Programming Language is one of those very good books. It is crammed with useful information; to such an extent that — at least in the beginning — one learns more about programming in general and about C++ in particular every time one re-reads a section or a chapter.

To cut a long story short, The C++ Programming Language is not only a must-read, it is a must-have for every serious C++ programmer.

References

  • [1] B. Stroustrup. The C++ Programming Language. Addison-Wesley, Reading (Massachusetts), 3rd edition 1997.
  • [2] B. Stroustrup. The C++ Programming Language. Addison-Wesley, Reading (Massachusetts), special edition 2000.
  • [3] B. Stroustrup. Bjarne Stroustrup. Home Page
    Located at <http://www.research.att.com/~bs/>.

Paul E. Sevinç became the 43rd president of the United States after Florida wasn't able to make up its mind. You can reach him at paul.sevinc@ubilab.org.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Microsoft OneNote 15.29 - Free digital n...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Spotify 1.0.44.100. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.27 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
VueScan 9.5.62 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Fantastical 2.3.2 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
PCalc 4.4.4 - Full-featured scientific c...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more
Alfred 3.2.1 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
OmniPlan 3.6 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Backblaze 4.2.0.990 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
AppDelete 4.3.1 - $7.99
AppDelete is an uninstaller that will remove not only applications but also widgets, preference panes, plugins, and screensavers along with their associated files. Without AppDelete these associated... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Galaxy on Fire 3 and four other fantasti...
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore brings the series back for another round of daring space battles. It's familiar territory for folks who are familiar with the franchise. If you've beaten the game and are looking to broaden your horizons, might we... | Read more »
The best apps for your holiday gift exch...
What's that, you say? You still haven't started your holiday shopping? Don't beat yourself up over it -- a lot of people have been putting it off, too. It's become easier and easier to procrastinate gift shopping thanks to a number of apps that... | Read more »
Toca Hair Salon 3 (Education)
Toca Hair Salon 3 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Winter comes to Darkwood as Seekers Note...
MyTona, based in the chilly Siberian city of Yakutsk, has brought a little festive fun to its hidden object game Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery. The Christmas update introduces some new inhabitants to players, and with them a chance to win plenty of... | Read more »
Bully: Anniversary Edition (Games)
Bully: Anniversary Edition 1.03.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.03.1 (iTunes) Description: *** PLEASE NOTE: This game is officially supported on the following devices: iPhone 5 and newer, iPod Touch... | Read more »
PINE GROVE (Games)
PINE GROVE 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A pine grove where there are no footsteps of people due to continuous missing cases. The case is still unsolved and nothing has... | Read more »
Niantic teases new Pokémon announcement...
After rumors started swirling yesterday, it turns out there is an official Pokémon GO update on its way. We’ll find out what’s in store for us and our growing Pokémon collections tomorrow during the Starbucks event, but Niantic will be revealing... | Read more »
3 reasons why Nicki Minaj: The Empire is...
Nicki Minaj is as business-savvy as she is musically talented and she’s proved that by launching her own game. Designed by Glu, purveyors of other fine celebrity games like cult favorite Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, Nicki Minaj: The Empire launched... | Read more »
Clash of Clans is getting its own animat...
Riding on its unending wave of fame and success, Clash of Clans is getting an animated web series based on its Clash-A-Rama animated shorts.As opposed to the current shorts' 60 second run time, the new and improved Clash-A-Rama will be comprised of... | Read more »
Leaks hint at Pokémon GO and Starbucks C...
Leaked images from a hub for Starbucks employees suggests that a big Pokémon GO event with the coffee giant could begin this very week. The images appeared on Reddit and hint at some exciting new things to come for Niantic's smash hit game. | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

New 2016 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros in st...
B&H Photo has stock of new 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $1999 - 13″ 2.... Read more
New 2016 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock...
B&H Photo has new 2016 Apple 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models in stock today including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2799 - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
DietSensor App Targeting Diabetes and Obesity...
DietSensor, Inc., a developer of smart food and nutrition applications designed to fight diabetes and obesity and help improve overall fitness, has announced the launch of its DietSensor app for... Read more
Holiday 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sales...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
Holiday sale: Apple TVs for $51-$40 off MSRP,...
Best Buy has dropped their price on the 64GB Apple TV to $159.99 including free shipping. That’s $40 off MSRP. 32GB Apple TVs are on sale right now for $98 on Sams Club’s online store. That’s $51 off... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refurbished, n...
Apple has restocked a full line of Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks, now available for $200-$260 off MSRP. Refurbished 2015 models are available starting at $929. Apple will include a... Read more
Holiday sale: 12-inch Retina MacBook for $100...
B&H has 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199 $100... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $849 $... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Trumbul...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Philade...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- San Ant...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Products Tester Needed - Apple (Unit...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.