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Introduction to C/C++

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I've recently been reading a bunch of software engineering books in an attempt to improve my skills. This is no mean feat, as I'm already the best programmer in my company. Code Complete is absolutely the best book I've ever seen on the subject. It is a must read for everyone who wants to program. I would make it required reading for all students and computer professionals. It's very readable, and if you follow it's advice it will change your life.




The Origins of C and C++

    The 'C' programming language was originally developed for and implemented on the UNIX operating system, on a DEC PDP-11 by Dennis Ritchie. One of the best features of C is that it is not tied to any particular hardware or system. This makes it easy for a user to write programs that will run without any changes on practically all machines. C is often called a middle-level computer language as it combines the elements of high-level languages with the functionalism of assembly language.

    C allows the manipulation of bits, bytes and addresses- the basic elements with which the computer functions. Another good point about C is its portability which makes it possible to adapt software written for one type of computer to another. C was created, influenced, and field tested by working programmers. The end result is that C gives the programmer what the programmer wants. C offers the speed of assembly language and the extensibility of FORTH, but few of the restrictions of Pascal and Modula-2.

    C++ is an enhanced version of the C language. C++ includes everything that is part of C and adds support for object-oriented programming (OOP). In addition, C++ also contains many improvements and features that make it a "better C", independent of object oriented programming. C++ is actually an extendible language since we can define new types in such a way that they act just like the predefined types which are part of the standard language.

    If you just use C++ as a better C, you will not be using all of its power. Like any quality tool, C++ must be used the way it was designed to be used to exploit its richness. Some of the new features include encapsulation, inline function calls, overloading operators, inheritance and polymorphism. I am not going to explain what they mean here as that would simply take me away from my purpose here, but you can refer to any good C++ book for more information.

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For problems or questions regarding this web contact
[John Carbrey].
Last updated: December 31, 1998.