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Demise of C++? 271

Posted by Hemos
from the reports-of-my-death-have-greatly.h dept.
fashla writes "Several somber and soul searching threads have been recently posted to the USENET newsgroup comp.lang.c++ such as "C++ is Dead" and "A Dying Era". The reason for this reflective mood is the sudden demise of the magazine C/C++ Users Journal (CUJ) http://www.cuj.com/ that had been published by CMP Media. Participating in the posts have been such C++ luminaries such as Bjarne Stroustrup and P.J. Plauger. While some contributers think that CUJ's demise is due to the general trend away from print, others think something else is afoot..."
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Demise of C++?

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  • Balkanization (Score:5, Interesting)

    by (1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) <1.61803phi@gmail.com> on Monday January 09, 2006 @08:42AM (#14426407) Homepage
    We're witnessing, I believe, the Balkanization of the software industry, where hybrids like C++ are being edged out; the ultimate trend: C where speed counts, and, for everything else, Java.

    Though it were hard for me to imagine, for instance, Unreal [wikipedia.org]'s engine being ported to Java, Quake [wikipedia.org] seems to have fared well with feral C.

    • Re:Balkanization (Score:3, Informative)

      by Bazzalisk (869812)
      C# seems to have a lot of support these days too.
      • Is that the same C# that a friend uses, which apparently requires 12 bytes of memory to store a single 32-bit integer?

        If that's accurate, then I don't think C++ has much to fear from C# in its natural areas of strength...

    • Re:Balkanization (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Merle Darling (33121)
      Yeah, I've noticed that for the last couple of years I've used C for crunchy stuff and C# for everything else. C++ has become superfluous for me.

      Of course I always figured this was just my weirdness, I never realized anyone else felt this way about it. I sure don't miss those retarded C++ references and stream operator overloads.

      // pass in a variable whose address is the value we wish to
      // use. it will be incremented and then cout will be left
      // shifted by the new value. I <3 C++!!1oneROFLCOPTER
      void i

    • Does a C++ compiler produce a slower run-time than a pure C compiler when only using C functionality?
      • Re:Balkanization (Score:5, Informative)

        by LLuthor (909583) <lexington.luthor@gmail.com> on Monday January 09, 2006 @09:25AM (#14426667)
        In many cases, a good C++ compiler will produce better code if the C sources are C++ clean, due to the extra type-safety in C++ the compiler is safely allowed to make more assumptions leading to better optimized code.
      • Does a C++ compiler produce a slower run-time [...].
        Not necessarily; but the elegance of feral C where OO is superfluous may save developer time.
        • Re:Balkanization (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mwvdlee (775178)
          Then it is rather the quality of the coder then the quality of the code that makes the difference between C and C++ performance-wise.

          My personal opinion has always been one of pragmatism instead of zealotry; pick a language based on the task. It has been said by knowledgeable people that the benefit of OO over procedural is not theoretical performance but rather the practical performance. OO techniques typically allow one to better understand large problems and thereby create better solutions. Ofcourse, ree
      • Re:Balkanization (Score:5, Insightful)

        by OzPeter (195038) on Monday January 09, 2006 @10:10AM (#14426958)
        A lot of the shit heaped on C++ for being slow was due to the use of V-tables. V-Tables are another layer of indirection that come about with virtual function use in C++. People incorrectly assuemd that C++ always uses V-tables in order perform any function call - virtual or not, hence the belief that C++ is slower than C.

        But v-tables are only created when virtual functions are used in classes, and only then. If no virtual functions are used then a C++ program can use static linking the same as for a C compiler. Given that C++ compilers are also defined to be C compilers, then for any given C++ compiler (and no virtual functions in the C++), C and C++ code should run at the same speed.

        Now if you want to compare *different* C and C++ compilers, that is a seperate matter.

        If you are interested in the inner C++ workings I can suggest any of the Scott Meyers books. Other people can probably suggest other authors as well.
        • Re:Balkanization (Score:2, Informative)

          by mrsbrisby (60242)
          People incorrectly assuemd that C++ always uses V-tables in order perform any function call

          So what is going on here?

          cout << "Hello World!" << endl;

          The above code uses V-tables, and the above code is what is recommended by C++'s "inventor". The above is slower and produces more machine code than:

          puts("Hello World");

          Period.

          Supporters love to say that's a bad use of C++, or that the compiler could recognize this special code, or that the compiler should do some kinds of deep inlining at compile-tim
          • Re:Balkanization (Score:4, Informative)

            by OzPeter (195038) on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:49AM (#14427648)
            I never said that V-tables were as fast as code without them. It is a given that they are not (unless you have some deep machine logic to perform fast v-table lookup)

            What I was saying was that the C code will run the same if it is compiled under a c++ or c compiler, whereas a lot of people thought that c++ automatically inserted v-tables and hence was presumed to be slower.

            You example is flawed as you are comparing apples to oranges. The use of stream insertion will bring in all sorts of crap into the equation while "puts" will not. Hence your "puts" will run faster. (But try and overload your puts example to output custom data on a generic class by class basis and see how much extra code you have to add). Once you start using feaures of one language that are not implemented in the other, then simple speed comparisions go out the window.

          • Re:Balkanization (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Carewolf (581105)
            Why on earth are you discussing speed of a SYSTEM CALL!

            No matter what else it does the slow part is entering kernel mode and printing characters to the screen.

            You are discussing a 20ns optimization on a 1ms call.
            • Ah , the old "because we can't optimise 100% why bother optimising at all"
              argument. You should apply to work at Microsoft.
              • Re:Balkanization (Score:2, Interesting)

                by SporkLand (225979)
                I have to differ on this point, he was merely saying that the optimization wasn't signifcant in comparison to the gains in clarity you get. Programming is typically a resource constraint problem, you can only choose some of the optimizations to implement, so you should be choosey. Why optimize something small when that will have minimal impact on the performance when you can optimize something that can have a big impact. I don't typically use proofs by authority, but there are a number of really smart pr
              • Please refrain from commenting if you have no clue what you are talking about. There is no need to optimize a program 100%. In fact, it isn't desirable to do so, because optimization usually produces code that is not as intuitive or clear as the original. Additionally, some 'optimizations' that people tout actually prevent the compiler from doing optimizations, and end up harder to read. (Pointer arithmetic is a good example - again, this is compiler dependent). The majority of a program's lifecycle is spen
            • Re:Balkanization (Score:2, Redundant)

              by mrsbrisby (60242)
              Why on earth are you discussing speed of a SYSTEM CALL!

              puts() isn't a system call on UNIX. I don't know what Operating System you're referring to.

              What's being compared and discussed is the authority of C++: Bjarne repeatedly states this is the way to go, and that it is not slower nor larger than in C. Bjarne is extremely confused on that point.

              No matter what else it does the slow part is entering kernel mode and printing characters to the screen.

              No it isn't. Profile it and see for yourself.

              You are discussin
              • In any event, the point is not that puts() is faster than cout but that Bjarne Stroustrup says that cout is how to write to standard output and that it's not slower or takes up more space than C-code.

                OK. puts is faster. But I hate to break it to you, compared to cout, puts sucks.

                puts is error prone in a way that cout is not. More appropriately, cin is far, far superior to get and all those derivatives. cin, cout and cerr, are slower, have more overheads, take more space,etc, etc. I still prefer them. Why? Because they're safer. Not totally safe, but leauges safer than the equivilent c functions.

                On top of that you can overload cin. Some people do screw this up, but being able to write:


                while(cin >> Big_Complicated_Object){ //do stuff
                }

                Is very sweet. C can only offer me this with hacks that will freeze thy young blodd etc, etc, etc.

                I don't find C++ too bad. The compilers are OK, and I don't abuse the language features. I'm an OO kind of guy, and I like decomposing my programs. C++ lets me do this in a way C cannot.
                • OK. puts is faster.

                  Accepted.

                  compared to cout, puts sucks.

                  You've admitted puts is better than cout in at least one way.

                  In any event, this thread is not about whether C++ is better or worse than C, it's about whether rumors about performance and size penalties in C++ are justified, and in many cases it appears the answer is yes.

                  On top of that you can overload cin.

                  No you cannot. std::cin is a global variable. You can overload >> in the class istream but that's not the same thing at all.

                  I like decomposing
                  • No you cannot. std::cin is a global variable. You can overload >> in the class istream but that's not the same thing at all.

                    That's what's known as overloading streams, which is what cin is.

                    I have no idea what you mean by "decomposing" your programs.

                    Specifically, using object orientation and functional blocks to make everything simpler. i.e. not having a 40,000 line app in one file. C++'s big advantage is that I can do all this without using macros. C++'s big disadvantage is having to use pointers to d
          • Re:Balkanization (Score:2, Insightful)

            by p3d0 (42270)
            The overhead of the indirect call is not the only (or even the primary) performance problem with vtables. The inability to inline virtual calls impairs the optimizer tremendously.
          • Re:Balkanization (Score:5, Informative)

            by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Monday January 09, 2006 @12:53PM (#14428243) Journal
                The above code uses V-tables

            No, it doesn't (or at least shouldn't with a decent compiler).
            I have compiled the following code:

                #include <iostream>

                int main() {
                    std::cout << "Hello, World!" << std::endl;
                    return 0;
                }

            with G++ 3.3.1 on x86 (and pretty standard options: "-ansi -fomit-frame-pointer -O2") and the results for the "main" function where the following:

            main:
            .LFB1550:
                    pushl   %ebp
            .LCFI0:
                    movl    %esp, %ebp
            .LCFI1:
                    pushl   %edx
                    pushl   %edx
                    andl    $-16, %esp
                    pushl   %eax
                    pushl   %eax
                    pushl   $_ZSt4endlIcSt11char_traitsIcEERSt13basic_ostream IT_T0_ES6_
                    subl    $12, %esp
                    pushl   $.LC0
                    pushl   $_ZSt4cout
            .LCFI2:
                    call    _ZStlsISt11char_traitsIcEERSt13basic_ostreamIcT_ES 5_PKc
                    addl    $20, %esp
                    pushl   %eax
            .LCFI3:
                    call    _ZNSolsEPFRSoS_E
                    leave
                    xorl    %eax, %eax
                    ret

            [".LC0" is the string "Hello World"; warning: /. inserts some spaces in the longest identifiers]
            As you can see it's exactly what you can expect, with only two *direct* calls. Granted the "puts" version requires only a single call, but only because here the output is split in two parts, first the "Hello World" and then the newline.

            Hope this helps the discussion.
            • Re:Balkanization (Score:3, Informative)

              by YA_Python_dev (885173)

              Sorry to reply to myself, but if anyone finds the above x86 assembly code difficult to understand, the equivalent C source code is:

              f2(f1(cout, "Hello, World!"), endl);
              return 0;

              where f1 and f2 are provided by the standard library, in the basic_ostream class (f1 returns its first argument, cout).

              • Re:Balkanization (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward
                Except f2 and f1 are stubs that look like below. Note that ostream/ios/etc are all deeply virtual to make for good generics...

                Note the jumps into the plt pages looks like this:

                0003afb0 <_ZNSo3putEc@plt>:
                3afb0: ff a3 0c 02 00 00 jmp *0x20c(%ebx)
                3afb6: 68 00 04 00 00 push $0x400
                3afbb: e9 e0 f7 ff ff jmp 3a7a0 <CXXABI_1.3+0x3a7a0>

                Disassembly below:

                0007d9f2 <_ZSt4endlIcSt11char_trai
          • Re:Balkanization (Score:3, Informative)

            by angel'o'sphere (80593)
            cout << "Hello World!" << endl;

            The above code uses V-tables, and the above code is what is recommended by C++'s "inventor". The above is slower and produces more machine code than:


            No, the above does not use virtual functions/operators, and hence it does not use a v-table.

            After all cout is not a pointer anyway!! So even if operator << would be virtual, it would be called directily without v-table.


            The above is slower and produces more machine code than:

            puts("Hello World");



            If its to slow on y
    • by bhima (46039) <Bhima,Pandava&gmail,com> on Monday January 09, 2006 @09:45AM (#14426768) Journal
      "Feral C"... If there was ever a description of how I use C (and probably FORTRAN) there it is!

      I love it... when will GCC be supporting it?
    • C where speed counts, and, for everything else, Java ...except that everyone has come to realize that Java is horrible. The language has some flaws but is decent. The big problem (I think) is java the platform. It's not designed to do things efficiently. I see a lot more growth (to my dismay) in .net languages than anything else and I see a steady shift away from java.

      The thing we are shifting twords doesn't exist, but is being created slowly as we advance our programming languages. We need a nice pla
    • Re:Balkanization (Score:5, Interesting)

      by StrawberryFrog (67065) on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:01AM (#14427290) Homepage Journal
      hybrids like C++ are being edged out; the ultimate trend: C where speed counts, and, for everything else, Java.

      And just a few days ago I was reading on slashdot about Java/C# falling in between C/C++ for low-level systems programming and the "dynamic and/or scripting" languages for highest productivity (e.g Perl, JavaScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, Haskell).

      • Re:Balkanization (Score:2, Informative)

        by IpalindromeI (515070) *
        Haskell is neither a scripting language nor dynamic. It is compiled (first to C and then to machine code), and employs compile-time static typing. It just feels dynamic because the type inferencer is so good that you usually don't need to put in the type directives yourself.
    • I'm seeing a lot more multi-language solutions these days. Extending Python or Perl with C-language extensions. You do the difficult stuff with the higher-level language, and the performance stuff in C. Much easier to do this with Python or Perl than with Java (haven't tried GCJ yet, though).
  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Monday January 09, 2006 @09:16AM (#14426608) Homepage
    C++ has it's place, but it is agressively attacked from below (read C) and from above (read Java & C-hash (C#)).

    The problem with C++ is that it is neither as simple as C nor has it the benefits of Java and C# as they allow for code that is easier to read and understand. The available tools are also better for the competing environments on the upper side.

    C is still developing features at a slow but steady pace and it has inherited a few from C++. There will probably be more features inherited in the future, which will cut more into the area of C++. The difference between C and C++ is that C isn't object-oriented while C++ supports object-oriented design. But object-oriented design is not necessarily needed at the low-level programming that is used when accessing devices and similar operations, and hence C will be the choice of such programming.

    • by slamb (119285) * on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:48AM (#14427639) Homepage
      The difference between C and C++ is that C isn't object-oriented while C++ supports object-oriented design.

      You're way off. So far that I'd say you've never read or written modern C++ code. There's a lot of metaprogramming. Look into templates sometime. Try out the STL and the boost libraries [boost.org]. There are significant C++ programs that are not object-oriented and would be nearly impossible to duplicate in C with the same kind of efficiency.

      I find C++ to be an ugly, ugly language, but it's also a lot more than the "C + classes" that it used to be.

      • Notice that I stated SUPPORTS, not REQUIRES. A slight difference...
      • A horrid kludge that tries to turn C++ into a completely different
        language. If I wanted a different language I'd use one. Plus it tends
        to be a solution for problems that don't exist.

        "would be nearly impossible to duplicate in C with the same kind of efficiency"

        BS. Unless you think theres some sort of magical assembly language that
        a C++ compiler can generate than a C compiled couldn't.
    • by MagicM (85041)
      C-hash (C#)
      It's called C-sharp [google.com].
    • by p3d0 (42270)

      The difference between C and C++ is that C isn't object-oriented while C++ supports object-oriented design. But object-oriented design is not necessarily needed at the low-level programming that is used when accessing devices and similar operations, and hence C will be the choice of such programming.

      Also, just because C doesn't "support" OO design doesn't mean you can't do it anyway with some discipline. (And no, I'm not talking about rolling your own vtables everywhere. That's OO implementation, no

    • by macshit (157376) * <miles.gnu@org> on Monday January 09, 2006 @01:34PM (#14428660) Homepage
      The problem with C++ is that it is neither as simple as C nor has it the benefits of Java and C# as they allow for code that is easier to read and understand. The available tools are also better for the competing environments on the upper side.

      My experience with C++ and Java is that Java is simpler to get your head around, but can really get annoying once you get going, because of the number of gross hacks and workarounds required to avoid excessive heap allocation. Compared to C, C++ often results in dramatically clearer code, simply because it offers the ability to wrap things with enough syntactic sugar that it makes source code much more concise.

      However, taking advantages of C++'s strengths requires some discipline, and requires programmers to understand what's going on to some degree, and as we all know, the great majority of programmers are idiots.

      I suppose in the end, the best progamming language for idiots will win...
    • by mellon (7048) * on Monday January 09, 2006 @02:39PM (#14429309) Homepage
      You're repeating some classic received knowledge about C++ that happens not to be true. I have to admit that for a long time I bought into the story that C++ was like C, only more complicated. And that C++ is fundamentally about object oriented programming.

      I got over my dislike of C++ about two days ago when I decided to use Qt to do some programming, which pretty much forces you into C++. I was really shocked at how unpleasant it *wasn't*. I've had some really bad experiences with Java - a lot of "model" is forced down your throat. Using C++ felt very natural, and I noticed a huge number of really nice touches that are quite cheap, because they're done by the compiler, but that (a) make your coding less error-prone, and (b) are just horribly convenient.

      So my point here is that if you've been hearing for years that C++ isn't worth your time because it's object oriented or because it's just C warmed over, neither of these statements is true. I'm embarrassed to have ever repeated them (sad to say, I have done so in the past).

      I really don't think C++ is on the way out. My main complaint about it at this point is that g++ is too verbose when I use an overloaded function that doesn't exist - it prints a list of all the possible candidates, which can get quite long. I don't think that's a capital crime, though. :'}
  • C++ Dying? (Score:5, Funny)

    by jetsfandb (446202) on Monday January 09, 2006 @09:19AM (#14426621) Journal
    If they want my C++ compiler they will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands!
  • Nah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codeboost (603798) <codeboost@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Monday January 09, 2006 @09:38AM (#14426736)
    If you put it that way, everything is dying. I bet a buck that C# or Java will be dead as a rock in 20 years, just like C++ and most of the other programming languages we know today.
    What we are noticing today is that programming languages alone just don't cut it anymore. The software is so advanced, that standard language constructs and libraries are way too raw to be applied to something useful for the average application programmer. Knowing frameworks, APIs and libraries is becoming a lot more important than using all the language paradigms and hidden tricks.

    I think C++'s user base is splitting: On one hand there are the library and API developers, for whom the standard and the language are wholy. On the other hand, there are the application programmers, who care about the practical side of the language; they use it because it has advantages over other languages and has lots of libraries written for it.

    My belief is that C++ is more alive today than ever. It is more powerful than ever. And it will be for a long time (in technology terms, indeed). Of course, in 10 years time it won't be recognizable. But it's wrong to say that C++ is dying.
  • by Chemisor (97276) on Monday January 09, 2006 @09:53AM (#14426828)
    We, C++ programmers, just got tired of being insulted all the time, so we don't talk much any more. After all, every time we mention C++ we are told how bad it is and how stupid we all are for using it. Sure, we can rebut all those arguments, but there are so many loud people declaiming them that nobody ever hears us. So, we just shrug, shut up, and go back to writing code. If you don't want to listen, you are only hurting yourselves and your employers.
    • :-)

      C++ is kind of a monster of a language (almost as bad as Perl), but it is one of the few I'd choose for the niche where speed/space really count. Unfortunately for C++, there are very few programs for which this is the appropriate niche. Most of the C++ that crosses my desk should have been written in an appropriate scripting language (insert your favorite, Python's currently mine). I even heard a tale of someone writing a "makefile" in C++ (gawd). These mistakes cost a lot of time and money.

      My b

    • Be happy. When Object Pascal (a language a little itty bit cleaner than C++, but mostly just nicer looking) programmers mention what we code in we're laughed out of the room, because everyone still thinks "Pascal" means the language invented by Wirth in the early '70s.

      You, you use C++, which may be on somewhat of a decline thanks to its children Java and C#, but is still considered a "real language".
  • Magazine quality (Score:4, Informative)

    by OzPeter (195038) on Monday January 09, 2006 @09:59AM (#14426870)
    [rant]
    I don't know about any subversive anti C++ group that is plotting the downfall of this language, but I was taken aback last week when I received the next issue in my C/C++ Users Journal subscription that had a letter attached to it saying that it was the last issue ever. This pissed me off as you don't just dump a magazine like a hot potato, you track the way it is selling and you say "well .. if ain't good by such and such a date then we cut it". So this cut has been in the pipeline for a while.

    What also annoyed me about it was that the publishing company will transfer my exisiting subscription over to Dr Dobbs (though I can get my money back). Personally I feel that Dr Dobbs took a major nose dive years ago and is in no way of the same quality as the C/C++UJ. The transfer from glossy to newsprint style paper showed that they were needing to make cost cutbacks which implies to me that they were losing it in general. But what really took the cake was an article printed in the Dec 2005 issue where in a DB app, presentation was confused with storage in a manner befitting a failed CS101 assignement. While I gagged at the article itself, what shocked me even more was that the Dr Dobbs editors actually included it for publication. (As I blame the editors, I am not directly pointing to the article itself).

    C/C++UJ said in their cover letter that they will be expanding Dr Dobbs to take on a lot of the content from the C/C++UJ. Personally I think that Dr Dobbs may be too far gone for this sort of recovery, and that I have lost a magazine that I liked, was to the point and generally full of quality (though other people may say I am blind about this). I may give Dr Dobbs the chance to show that it has improved, but I won't be holding my breath for very long.

    [/rant]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Considering a recent internal project re-write, I can relate the following example.

    The initial Java implementation had too large a system footprint (we required it to run on fairly low spec machines with limited resources).

    The rewrite in C++ ran smaller, faster, and without the Java "slow to load and start" TM.

    The trade-off for the re-write was the longer development cycle.

    Overall, we don't see C++ dying, but as a great tool, which still has it's place.
  • Netcraft (Score:5, Funny)

    by just_another_sean (919159) on Monday January 09, 2006 @10:03AM (#14426899) Homepage Journal
    Has Netcraft confirmed this?
  • Less C++, more Ruby (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yattaran (898911) on Monday January 09, 2006 @10:03AM (#14426901)
    Despite my love for C++ I find myself writing less and less C++ code. Why? Well, I guess it's due Ruby ( http://www.ruby-lang.org/ [ruby-lang.org] ) in my case. And whenever I make an extention in Ruby I write it in C, not C++. Why should I spend 5 days writing a tool in C++ when I can write it in 5 hours using Ruby ?

    I feel sad about not using C++ more often though, because it really was my favorite language for a long time. I just can't think of any project idea I have where C++ would be better suited than Ruby.
  • by ross_winn (610552) *
    I don't want to be "Miss Pollyanna blue sky" but let's be honest with ourselves. Print will be dead in a decade. For all but the widest possible audiences (Time, Newsweek, People) magazines are useless in the digital age.
  • Just to add to this... Depending who you work for and what ill wind is blowing in your managers rear end, you could fine yourself defending your langauge of choice. I've heard "your using C that 70's yada yada", "we want java programmers they're easy to replace yada yada" and "Perl nobody uses that".
  • by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <mwheinz&me,com> on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:17AM (#14427392) Homepage
    Large parts of the Darwin kernel layer are written in it.

    Anything Apple uses - *must* be a dead end.
  • Video Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:33AM (#14427512) Homepage
    I wonder if C++ will remain the language for video games for a long time. It is one of those places where OO + efficiency are important. I believe there are engines written in C, but seldom entire games any more. Business systems care more about readability and scalability than efficiency, and languages like C#/Java offer a better balance there.
    • I wonder if C++ will remain the language for video games for a long time. It is one of those places where OO + efficiency are important. I believe there are engines written in C, but seldom entire games any more. Business systems care more about readability and scalability than efficiency, and languages like C#/Java offer a better balance there.

      Well, Java is getting faster with each release, and game engines keep on getting more complex. At the same time the mainstream PC world is slowly starting to mov

  • The grafting of OO extensions onto C was the worst design decision I have ever run into. The result is a crappy arcane and confusing kitchen sink of language to work in. However we do need a compiled, powerful OO language to work in. The opportunity is ripe for a replacement to C++, lighter weight, with GC support and a comprehensive set of libraries designed from the start to fix the problems with C++ without the need to maintain backward compatability with C++.

    Call it what you will - the need is there and
    • The grafting of OO extensions onto C was the worst design decision I have ever run into. The result is a crappy arcane and confusing kitchen sink of language to work in.

      It didn't need to be, though. Objective-C is simple enough that a C programmer can learn it in a weekend, yet it also allows object oriented programming, and supports dynamic programming better than C++ does.

  • by ballpoint (192660) on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:43AM (#14427604)
    C++ still is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to program anything in it, because we do not program anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to program.
  • by Craig Maloney (1104) * on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:52AM (#14427664) Homepage
    Saying that C++ is dead because C/C++ Users Journal is no more is about as ridiculous as saying that Linux is dead because Linuxworld magazine is dead. I'm sorry, but the two are not interconnected at all. True, there's no real magazine for C and C++ developers in the newsstands, but if magazine popularity has anything to do with it, then the same can be said for Perl, Python, Ruby, and a myriad of other languages that aren't in print. I'd be more inclined to say that the publishing industry for language content is dead as when it was time to renew my subscription to C/C++ UJ, I opted instead to not renew. Why pay $29.95 (or whatever the sliding scale that CMP Media uses to determine what you pay that month) for a bunch of articles that may or may not relate to doing useful work with C/C++ (and admit it... how many pure C++ articles were there? I remember many more articles on D, Java interoperability, and the like than there were C/C++ articles). I found that the one section I did read religiously was the fictional workplace created by Herb Sutter and his co-author (the name escapes me at the moment) which detailed three coders (the master, the apprentice, and the guru) against "Bob". That was about it.

    So, I don't think that C++ is going anywhere because the journal is going away... I think instead people who are using C++ will go elsewhere for information about C++.

    No story here... move along. :)
    • "I think instead people who are using C++ will go elsewhere for information about C++."

      And if you dig into one of the threads thats excatly what P.J.Plaugher says he does more and more now .. "go elsewhere for info".. and he is the *editor* of C/C++UJ
  • by johnnnyboy (15145) on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:57AM (#14427710) Homepage

    IMHO, C/C++ is far from dying. It's getting stronger than ever atleast in the realm of software engineering. I see it finding it's nitch closer to the hardware and in core of advanced software where speed and optimization is important.

    Like, you wouldn't write a 3D game engine in java, atleast not yet anyway.
    Look at KDE what is it written in? and Unreal? What is the JVM itself written in? and .NET?

    I still see that software engineers are still using it heavily where as the rest of us mortals in the business realm, develop in other interpreted languages that can offer faster development time. Cost is everything, we programmers are no longer seen as an asset but more as a cost. Java and Lamp programmers are just cheaper.

    I find it very unfortunate that schools are no longer teaching C++ and switching to Java.
    The end result is a more limited amount of advanced C++ programmers out there working on very important advanced applications.

    • IMHO, C/C++ is far from dying. It's getting stronger than ever atleast in the realm of software engineering. I see it finding it's nitch closer to the hardware and in core of advanced software where speed and optimization is important.

      Dunno what you mean by "advanced software", but C has its place when programming near hardware. C++ will hopefully die and take buffer overflows and memory leaks with it.

      Like, you wouldn't write a 3D game engine in java, atleast not yet anyway.

      Quake 2 [sourceforge.net] remade in Java

      • by mad.frog (525085) <steven@crinkli[ ]com ['nk.' in gap]> on Monday January 09, 2006 @04:50PM (#14430480)
        Dunno what you mean by "advanced software", but C has its place when programming near hardware. C++ will hopefully die and take buffer overflows and memory leaks with it.

        BWA hahahahah

        That's pretty funny, pointing out that C++ has buffer overflows and memory leaks when compared with C. Especially since C++ has vastly better techniques for dealing with those particular problems.

        Ahem.

        But seriously, there is absolutely no reason why properly-written C++ can't be precisely as efficient as straight C, and as an added bonus, you get a more strongly-typed language with extra features.

        I've been writing in C and C++ for close to 20 years, and C++ is just plain a better language than C. Sure, it has some crazy warts and dangerous bits, and things that can be problematic if you don't know what you are doing... but I submit to you that if you don't know what you are doing, you need to find another line of work.

        Sure, other languages are definitely better in some scenarios -- it's all about using the right tool for the job! -- but for "close to the machine" work, you need a language like C or C++, and frankly, I can't understand why anyone with sufficient programming experience, and a real working knowledge of both languages, would voluntarily choose plain C over C++.

        • Well, let's see. C is an extremely simple and portable programming language. There are many, many compilers that support recent standards in their entirety. (I know C99 is lagging behind, but it contains a lot of fairly exotic features if you ask me).

          In an anecdotal way, a relatively mature and competent C programmer could take a good shot at implementing a C compiler and come away with something pretty close to the real thing, because C is, well, simple, and consistant. C++ on the other hand -- it's so
        • Especially since C++ has vastly better techniques for dealing with those [memory leaks and buffer overflows] particular problems.

          The compiler allocates memory behind your back, and as a result the programmer has no direct means by which they can free that memory. Buffer overflows are trivially avoided in C, and in my experience (of looking at other peoples' C++ code) they seem to be as common, if not more common.

          But seriously, there is absolutely no reason why properly-written C++ can't be precisely as effi
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Monday January 09, 2006 @11:59AM (#14427725)
    ...in that there's often more than one (or one dozen) ways to do something. I think a lot of scorn heaped on C++ is due to the fact that the scorner at some point opened up an STL file (or anything generated by Microsoft's ATL) and ran screaming. And frankly, they're right...that's some imposing syntax and not at all friendly to read or understand.

    But what I've told people again and again is that *you* don't have to write it that way. Don't understand multiple inheritence? Fine...*don't use it*. Don't get templates? Fine...*don't use them*. We still use VC6 and its template functionality isn't even complete!

    The truth is, you can have bizzare WTF moments in *any* language. A lot of what people attribute to the failure of a language is the failure of a programmer to properly explain what his/her code does in a straightforward way *using the code itself*. The best code is clean and concise and C++ gives you as much opportunity to do this as any language. Sure you can have multi-thousand line functions in C++, but this isn't a failure of the language to somehow magically break it apart for you into better organized bits, it's a failure to understand that a language, *any* language, whether purely written or even spoken, is to convey a message, a story, and without careful attention to detail, can become an unholy mess (like this post).
  • Whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjkundert (597719) on Monday January 09, 2006 @12:19PM (#14427922) Homepage
    One thing that differentiates an excellent tool from a poor tool is that the excellent tool handles and "feels" better the more proficient the tool user becomes.

    Among all the programming languages I've used over the last 25 years (6502/6809/m68k/... assembly, Prolog/Miranda/... functional, Perl/Tcl/Python/Lisp/Java/... interpreted, C/C++/PL-1/... compiled), only 2 really stand out as "excellent" tools:

    C++ and Python. I really have to struggle picking which one I love to write programs in more. They both have their place, and they are both lovely in their own way.

    As far as C++ goes, since it exposes all the "knobs and dials" of the underlying computing architecure, it does have a very long learning curve. However, Template Metaprogramming is unlike anything, available anywhere, in any other language.

    Listening to all these Java/C# fanboys flame C++ templates, and compare them to "Generics" etc., is like listening to guys compare their cool Ox-Cart wheel mods, while saying how much that new-fan-dangled "ferr-ar-eee" Sucks...

    Yes, it took *years* for me to master C++. Someone smarter, and/or with better (read: any) instruction would -- and should -- do better. But, being able to express an algorithm purely, which will compile efficiently to process *any* type(s), stored in *any* container, accross *any* architecture, with full static type checking and bare-metal hand-coded assembly language efficiency, is something truly unique in the programming language world today.

    When some other language comes out with something better and more efficient than Template Metaprogramming, let me know. 'Til then, its C++, baby!

    • Re:Whatever. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eli Gottlieb (917758)
      Better and more efficient than template metaprogramming: Lisp programming with declare statements indicating the places where type guarantees can be made.
    • Re:Whatever. (Score:2, Insightful)

      However, Template Metaprogramming is unlike anything, available anywhere, in any other language.

      Thank god for small favors. Templates are great, they do what they are supposed to, which is to all for more generic programming. Template meta-programming otoh is an evil movement to half-ass add features to a language that doesn't have them. If you want Lisp macros, please by all means use Lisp. But don't take something good (type-safe generic programming) and turn it into a tool for evil. Yech, you're proba

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @02:15PM (#14447221) Homepage
    The big problem with C++ is denial. Even Strostrup, who should know better, insists that C++ has no major problems. As a result, the fundamental problems are not being fixed.

    C++ is the only remaining major language which has hiding without safety. C has neither. Java, C#, the Pascal/Modula/Ada/Eiffel family, and all the scripting languages have both hiding and safety. That lack of safety is responsible for most of the crashes and exploits in today's software. When a virus takes over your machine due to a buffer overflow, it's probably because of that bad design decision in C++. Every day, hundreds of millions of people must suffer because of that mistake.

    The largest single problem comes from the decision in C to treat a pointer and an array as the same thing. This seemed convenient thirty years ago, but created a language in which the size of an array is not permanently associated with the array. In particular, the fact that arrays are passed to functions without size information is a huge source of trouble. This, of course, is why we have buffer overflows.

    Attempts were made in the STL to fix this problem, but it didn't really work out. Trying to retrofit strings to the language via the template mechanism was not all that successful, since so many libraries and system calls required the old-style strings.

    Safety is not a performance issue. It's possible to do checking very efficiently, if the compiler knows what to check. Subscript checks can usually be hoisted out of inner loops at compile time. But this is not possible for C++, because the subscript checking, when enabled, is in the STL, not the language.

    The second big problem in C++ is the need to obsess on "who owns what". Memory allocation is the nightmare of C++. Again, the STL tried to address this, and again, it was botched. The auto_ptr debacle illustrates the limitations of the language. There have been many, many attempts to implement "smart pointers", and they're all unsafe. At some point, you have to extract a C-type pointer to get something done, which introduces a hole in reference counting. If you don't extract raw pointers, you spend too much time updating reference counts. Again, this is something that a compiler could optimize if the compiler knew more about what was going on. But with reference counting implemented at the macro level of templates, that's not possible.

    Garbage collection is occasionally proposed as a panacea, but it's not compatible with the concept of destructors. In a garbage collected language, what destructors and finalizers do must be severely limited. This is contrary to the C++ concept of "resource allocation as initialization". You don't want to close a window from the garbage collector. Also, introducing garbage collection introduces a form of concurrency, in a language that doesn't handle concurrency well. There are workarounds for this, but like most workarounds, they're painful. Take a good look at how Microsoft's "Managed C++" approached the problem. It's wierd; read about "resurrection [c-sharpcorner.com], where an object comes back to life during garbage collection.

    Those are the two elephants in the living room of C++. Denying them will not make them go away. This is harsh. But it's not wrong.

  • Leadership (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nelson (1275) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @03:47PM (#14448096)
    Dead? I bought apple stock the last time everyone was seriously
    talking about them being dead and that was one of the better moves
    I've made in the stock market... I imagine all the Sun people are
    really concerned too; they're as good as dead. I suspect redbull is
    killing coke too, they are probably dead.


    I like C++, I like the idea and the intent. After spending like 10
    years going through standards processes, I actually like the end
    product and the STL and what have you, it's substantially more clean
    that it was in 1991. I think they got a good 80% of the way there.
    There is still some jankiness though.


    I think the thing with C++ that is larger is that they are still old
    world. There is no quick movement and there still isn't any "21st
    century" development style in the standards group. Java has warts but
    one of the great things it has going for it is Sun produced a lot of
    standards and then the jakarta group did the same and there tends to
    be a lot of similarity between "high quality" java products and
    components. There is a ton of java stuff to reuse and the code tends
    to be be laid out in a similar way, built in a similar way, javadoc is
    used, xdocklet is used, etc.. C++ doesn't have any of these standards
    working for it and there aren't any major projects (maybe KDE and QT)
    that are really sort of laying out the guidelines and building
    reusable components. In short, nobody is really showing everyone else
    "how to do it." I think that alone has accellerated java at a
    remarkable rate.


    Beacuse of all of that, I don't know of a lot of good high quality
    C++ reuse. There are some knickknacks that might be reused. Then
    there is kind of this whole-world style framework, like QT which
    includes tons and tons of stuff. Simple little libraries don't seem
    to be popular because there are so many different ways you can use
    them, different conventions, etc.. Every time you start a C++
    project, you're starting over from scratch. The other thing java has
    helping it is the class library. You cna buy Roguewave or something
    but there isn't a good opensource alternative. Boost is kind of
    filling the gap but it's still a little project and I think the scope
    has stayed fairly small for a lot of reasons, many of which are
    political.


    Part of this is the C legacy and the C++ attitude, it let's you do
    things "your way." And the languages tries not to do "too much" yet
    it's supposed to compete with higher level languages that are totally
    tricked out with features and libraries. I think if you were
    starting a new large scale application project and Java wasn't an
    option and mono/.net wasn't an option and you were looking at C++,
    GNAT would also have to be considered (as radical a thought as that
    is) because I think there might be as much or more high quality
    reusable componets that you could harvest for it.


    It just needs a really strong leader and some community built up
    around it. Define some common framework rules. Write a couple
    frameworks, if I could just instantiate a socket class (with SSL as a
    yes/no flag) and create a high performance and high quality C++ server
    network server in a small chunk of code, in a standard like way,
    that'd be cool. Imagine that it had some template based policy stuff
    that allowed me to plugin validators and crap like that and we created
    a nice reusable network component and started to make some of the
    security holes in that stuff go away... Simple and clean, reusable.
    WOuld you write your own server everytime now or would you use this
    one?

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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