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.

 
AAPL
$100.57
Apple Inc.
+0.04
MSFT
$44.95
Microsoft Corpora
-0.38
GOOG
$584.49
Google Inc.
-2.37

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Picasa 3.9.138 - Organize, edit, and sha...
Picasa and Picasa Web Albums allows you to organize, edit, and upload your photos to the Web from your computer in quick, simple steps. Arrange your photos into folders and albums and erase their... Read more
Tidy Up 3.0.15.0 - Find duplicate files...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Parallels Desktop 10.0 - Run Windows app...
Parallels Desktop is simply the world's bestselling, top-rated, and most trusted solution for running Windows applications on your Mac. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can seamlessly run both... Read more
Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3 - Professio...
Apple Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution.Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more
Apple Compressor 4.1.3 - Adds power and...
Compressor adds power and flexibility to Final Cut Pro X export. Customize output settings, work faster with distributed encoding, and tap into a comprehensive set of delivery features. Powerful... Read more
Chromium 36.0.1985.143 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.6.1691 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple Motion 5.1.2 - Create and customiz...
Apple Motion is designed for video editors, Motion 5 lets you customize Final Cut Pro titles, transitions, and effects. Or create your own dazzling animations in 2D or 3D space, with real-time... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.39 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
PopChar X 6.6 - Floating window shows av...
PopChar X helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Expanded... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Cubic Castles Review
Cubic Castles Review By Rob Thomas on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASTLE CRAFTINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Some ridiculously frustrating camera issues aside, Cubic Castles is a pretty neat, voxel-based crafting... | Read more »
Space Colors – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Hello Cadets: Want to know what we thought about this hectic space combat/roguelike? Check out our Space Colors review! Space Colors is a cool shooter/roguelike from Team Chaos. You travel from planet to planet across a huge galaxy and complete a... | Read more »
Tap Sports Baseball – Tips, Tricks, and...
Tap Sports Baseball is a pretty simple game to learn, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy game to master, by any means. To start your batting career off well, we thought we’d give you the heads up on some handy tips and tricks. Hey Batter-Batter:... | Read more »
Tap Sports Baseball Review
Tap Sports Baseball Review By Jennifer Allen on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: LET'S PLAY BALLUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Tap Sports Baseball is briefly fun but lacks some important features.   | Read more »
Earn to Die 2 Set to Drive in to the App...
Earn to Die 2 Set to Drive in to the App Store Later This Year Posted by Ellis Spice on August 20th, 2014 [ permalink ] Not Doppler has announced that Earn to Die 2, a sequel to their successful game | Read more »
Frontier Heroes Review
Frontier Heroes Review By Andrew Fisher on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: BLAZES NO TRAILSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite awesome visuals and great music, Frontier Heroes just doesn’t quite deliver enough fun... | Read more »
Echo Prime is Now on Sale for $0.99
Echo Prime is Now on Sale for $0.99 Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 20th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Star Realms Review
Star Realms Review By Andrew Fisher on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: A STAR IS BORNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Star Realms is an excellent adaptation of an outstanding deck-builder. With great visuals and an... | Read more »
This. Is. SPRINGFIELD! War comes to The...
This. Is. SPRINGFIELD! | Read more »
One Tap RPG Review
One Tap RPG Review By Campbell Bird on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DUNGEON SLIDERUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This casual arcade game introduces some very light rpg elements into its fantasy-themed pachinko... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple now offering certified refurbished 2014...
 The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Best Buy’s College Student Deals: $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs, $50 off iPad Airs and iPad minis, at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through September 6th. Anyone with a valid .... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, free...
B&H Photo has three 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for Laptops... Read more
Razer Taipan Mouse For Gamers And Non-Gamers...
If you’re a serious gamer on either Mac or Windows PCs, a serious gaming mouse is a necessity for first-tier performance. However, even if like me you’re not much of a gamer, there’s still a strong... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $1899,...
Adorama has the new 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1899 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more
Mid-Size Tablet Shootout Posted: iPad mini wi...
I ‘m curious about how many iPads Apple is actually selling these days. It’s been widely rumored and anticipated that new models with A8 SoCs, 2 GB of RAM, 8 megapixel cameras, and fingerprint... Read more
The 15 Biggest iPad Air Problems And How To A...
What’s this? Fifteen “biggest” problems with the iPad Air? Does that mean there are a lot of smaller problems as well? Say it isn’t so! My old iPad 2 has manifested no hardware problems in three... Read more
TYLT Syncable-Duo, 2-in-1 USB Cable With Appl...
TYLT has introduced the Syncable-Duo, a universal cable solution for charging and syncing data to smartphones and tablets. The Syncable-Duo eliminates the need for multiple cables by incorporating... Read more
Save up to $140 off MSRP with Apple refurbish...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549, save $50
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
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
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Being a Business Manager at an Apple Store means you're the catalyst for businesses to discover and leverage the power, ease, and flexibility of Apple Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.