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C++: an evolving language

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1 Author(s)
S. P. Levitt ; Sch. of Electr. & Inf. Eng., Univ. of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

This work gives an overview of the recent, significant, changes that the C++ language is undergoing. These include: the increasing popularity of the facilities and idioms provided by the standard template library and the boost libraries; the use of smart pointers instead of raw pointers; and the emergence of generic programming and template meta-programming as a powerful paradigm. The next version of the C++ standard is discussed and shown to further evolve the language by offering better support for the way in which C++ is being used in practice. Moving beyond the language itself, there are several initiatives that seek to incorporate C++ into virtual machine environments. Microsoft has opted to extend the C++ language to take advantage of their NET platform, while the Python community has produced several tools for generating C++ binding. These approaches (which make different trade-offs) are discussed. Overall, the current changes within C++ promote its use as a more high level language than in the past and further the promise of large libraries of reusable, easily-customisable code, The ability to use C++ in the production of hybrid applications which run on managed virtual machines offers new possibilities for combining the richness of the virtual machine environment with the efficiency of C++.

Published in:

AFRICON, 2004. 7th AFRICON Conference in Africa  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

15-17 Sept. 2004