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  #1  
Old 08-14-2010, 09:16 PM
BillGatesJR BillGatesJR is offline
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Default Is C++ dying?

It seems like just about every developer I know condemns C++ while praising languages like C# and Java. Don't get me wrong, I love C# and Java - they are great languages with a wide array (no pun intended) of practical uses.

However, out of all the languages I've learned and used, C++ is by far my favorite. I'll explain why below and give my rebuttals to the criticisms it receives.

Most Java/C# developers don't care much for C++ for its lack of garbage collection. I usually just say "But I don't spit out garbage when I program" .

But on a more serious note, a garbage collector is not needed for great code. When you allocate memory on the heap, you should delete it afterwards - that is what overriding the default destructor is for. Pointers should be set to NULL before and after they are used.

Also, automatic garbage collection, while convenient, comes at a great performance cost. This is why languages like .NET languages and Java should not be used for intensive calculations, graphic-intensive games, or anything that would require a lot of CPU power. This is even more true for Java, since its byte code is run in a virtual machine, while also processing garbage collection.


Developers also say C++ offers no memory leak protection whatsoever, but on the contrary, the classes contained in the STL contain many safeguards against memory leaks.

For instance, if I implement a vector containing a list of objects, I wouldn't simply use the delete keyword on an element no longer being used. This would obviously result in a list index pointing toward garbage. The vector container itself has a member function called erase designed for this purpose, and prevents hanging pointers/iterators by shifting the contents of the list upwards to make use of freed memory space. This effectively prevents memory leaks resulting from vectors where the program attempts to access an element that has been destroyed.

If a programmer will take the time to learn exactly what is going on in the CPU and memory rather than just the semantics of the language itself, everything makes perfect sense, and C++ undoubtedly becomes much easier to learn and adapt to.

The other main reason why I favor C++ over other languages is the fact that it is completely flexible. It is a multi-paradigm language. That is, the programmer is not limited to high-level object-oriented programming. It can also be used for procedural/low level systems programming. C/C++ are used in the making of device drivers, kernels, and whole operating systems for this very reason. In fact, if you are so inclined, you can also execute raw assembly from within C++ programs by embedding it in an inline ASM function/block.

You don't see too many operating systems, kernels, or device drivers written in Java or .NET, because they are COMPLETELY dependent on an outside framework, where C++ produces binary that is fully native to the system.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:52 AM
Lanny Lanny is offline
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

The answer to your question is yes. C++ is dying. All the points you made are valid though, but a programming language doesn't survive on it's merits alone, if it falls out of popularity with management it's doomed to fail. C++ also tends to produce a working prototype and finished product significantly slower than Java. I can't cay I know much about C#.

Additionally, you're argument that great code doesn't suffer all the problems commonly ascribed to C++ is true but not everyone writes great code, in fact the vast majority of people don't.

As for your argument about the superior performance of C++, if all that mattered was performance we would all still be writing Assembly. As processing power in computer increases we can trade performance for more ease of use and productivity.

In conclusion: C++ will eventually be phased for higher level languages but it will probably be several more years before a C++ developer has trouble finding work.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:24 AM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

From a programmer's point of view I agree with you. My first year in uni when they taught us proper code ethics and why everyone should use them. We were always instructed to properly allocate memory and clean up, even if the language we used had a garbage collector.

However, the IT world has changed. Especially in the area of software engineering. There are many companies who specialize in cleaning up code, may it be in the area of security, performance, or other. And to automatize this process. So it's much cheaper for a company to hire lots of cheap, poorly trained programmers to write a the bulk of the code, and then outsource the cleanup to a specialized company that works with a much smaller team. That seems to be the general direction of where SE is heading towards.

Nowadays, any shmuck can write code. But there are few very good programmers.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:39 AM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanny View Post
The answer to your question is yes. C++ is dying. All the points you made are valid though, but a programming language doesn't survive on it's merits alone, if it falls out of popularity with management it's doomed to fail.

C++ also tends to produce a working prototype and finished product significantly slower than Java. I can't cay I know much about C#.
If by slower, you mean execution/processing speed, I would strongly disagree. C++ programs are significantly faster since they are natively compiled.

But if you were referring to production time, I would partially agree with this. The C++ equivalent of a .NET/Java program would obviously require more code.

But I would argue that this depends on the skill level of the C++ programmer. A person who is well educated in C++ can be just as productive as a Java/.NET programmer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lanny View Post
Additionally, you're argument that great code doesn't suffer all the problems commonly ascribed to C++ is true but not everyone writes great code, in fact the vast majority of people don't.
That may be true, but the same can be said for any programming language.

In my experience, I've seen simple programs that were horribly written in "easy languages" like VB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanny View Post
As for your argument about the superior performance of C++, if all that mattered was performance we would all still be writing Assembly. As processing power in computer increases we can trade performance for more ease of use and productivity.
I'm not saying that all that matters is performance. However, there are plenty of projects where performance and efficiency are virtues, such as device drivers and operating systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanny View Post
In conclusion: C++ will eventually be phased for higher level languages but it will probably be several more years before a C++ developer has trouble finding work.
Bear in mind that many of the higher-level languages you speak of are built from the ground up in lower level languages such as C/C++.
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:21 AM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillGatesJR View Post
But I would argue that this depends on the skill level of the C++ programmer. A person who is well educated in C++ can be just as productive as a Java/.NET programmer.
Let me put it this way, a person with equal skill and training in Java/.NET as in C++ is going to be able to produce a program that runs faster, but takes more time to develop in C++ than in Java. Because computers have greater processing power than ever before many of the things that needed the excellent efficiency of C++ can now be implemented in Java with no noticeable drop in execution speed. The perfect example is the popular Minecraft video game. Video games have traditionally been the domain of C/C++ but because Minecraft is in Java it allows for a more rapid design process.

Quote:
In my experience, I've seen simple programs that were horribly written in "easy languages" like VB.
and imagine how much worse they would have been if they had been done in C++. The fact of the matter is that C++ is more difficult to learn and use. That's not a good thing, it's the trade you make for greater efficiency, which, as I've said before is becoming less important with time.

Quote:
I'm not saying that all that matters is performance. However, there are plenty of projects where performance and efficiency are virtues, such as device drivers and operating systems.
True, but the day may come that it's practical to write drives in VB, who knows. Either way, drivers and OSs are a relatively small section of the programming industry when you consider all the userland applications being developed.

Quote:
Bear in mind that many of the higher-level languages you speak of are built from the ground up in lower level languages such as C/C++.
Just the same as C compilers are written from the ground up in another language.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:02 AM
BillGatesJR BillGatesJR is offline
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

lanny, you make some really good points. I agree that C++ may be eventually phased out, but I highly doubt that Java/C# will be the replacement languages. Although C++ isn't being used much for rapid application development, we still need lower level languages. COBOL, Fortran, and even Assembly are still being used.

You mentioned that if all that matters is performance, we would all still be writing Assembly. That is true, and this is the distinguishing feature of C++ that sets apart from the modern languages - it is converted to assembly as part of the compilation process.

In fact, if you compile C++ in Microsoft Visual Studio, the debugger allows you to view the assembly output - its very cool.

I predict that if another standardized, portable multi-paradigm language is released that combines the efficiency and performance of C++ with the ease of use that C# has, that would be the end of C++ for sure. I would be happy to transition from C++ to this new language when it comes into existence, but so far there hasn't been a good enough alternative.

And, according to Bjarne Stroustrup (C++ inventor) a new standard is to be released shortly that is going to do just that. It will add a C#-like feel to the language as well as added functionality such as lambdas and constant expressions. I can't wait!

Last edited by BillGatesJR; 08-17-2010 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:24 AM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

Certain industries favour certain languages over time for a slew of different reasons.

My friend is a tech lead developer for a company that codes and hosts wireless provider portals for their devices. Storefronts, all that jazz. Java actually makes a lot of sense in his industry where everything is a web service. And that might not even be because of the properties of the language itself, it could very well entirely be because of the surrounding tools, applications and libraries. There are reasons outside of core language constructs and properties that end up being significant factors in business.

C++ is falling out of favour in many industries but it will remain a strong player in others. Large enterprises cannot afford to shift core technology every year or every couple years. There is so much legacy code out there in C++ that it'll be around for a while. New projects and codebases may start with other languages where C++ would have been used 5 years ago but C++ itself will be around for a while, just like Fortran and COBOL.

Garbage collection may come from the school of thought that it's cheaper to take a performance hit than it is to pay software engineers for the time it takes to eek out a little extra bit of performance. It's also risk management at the development level. Speaking of which, the whole hardware is cheap, programmers are expensive thinking is quite popular (not that I believe it is some universal maxim or anything).

Last edited by cense; 08-17-2010 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:01 AM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillGatesJR View Post
In fact, if you compile C++ in Microsoft Visual Studio, the debugger allows you to view the assembly output - its very cool.
That's really cool, I didn't know an intresting novel idea has come out of MS in the last decade.

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Originally Posted by BillGatesJR View Post
And, according to Bjarne Stroustrup (C++ inventor) a new standard is to be released shortly that is going to do just that. It will add a C#-like feel to the language as well as added functionality such as lambdas and constant expressions. I can't wait!
I didn't know this either, maybe I finally find time to learn a compiled language .

Quote:
Originally Posted by cense View Post
C++ is falling out of favour in many industries but it will remain a strong player in others. Large enterprises cannot afford to shift core technology every year or every couple years. There is so much legacy code out there in C++ that it'll be around for a while. New projects and codebases may start with other languages where C++ would have been used 5 years ago but C++ itself will be around for a while, just like Fortran and COBOL.
That's a really good point, taking Linux as an example, almost all the core components (plus my beloved Vi) are written in C or C++. Think how long it would take to recreate all that in something else .

Quote:
Originally Posted by cense View Post
Garbage collection may come from the school of thought that it's cheaper to take a performance hit than it is to pay software engineers for the time it takes to eek out a little extra bit of performance. It's also risk management at the development level. Speaking of which, the whole hardware is cheap, programmers are expensive thinking is quite popular (not that I believe it is some universal maxim or anything).
This pretty much sums up my whole argument, good link.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

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Originally Posted by BillGatesJR View Post
lanny, you make some really good points. I agree that C++ may be eventually phased out, but I highly doubt that Java/C# will be the replacement languages. Although C++ isn't being used much for rapid application development, we still need lower level languages. COBOL, Fortran, and even Assembly are still being used.

You mentioned that if all that matters is performance, we would all still be writing Assembly. That is true, and this is the distinguishing feature of C++ that sets apart from the modern languages - it is converted to assembly as part of the compilation process.

In fact, if you compile C++ in Microsoft Visual Studio, the debugger allows you to view the assembly output - its very cool.

I predict that if another standardized, portable multi-paradigm language is released that combines the efficiency and performance of C++ with the ease of use that C# has, that would be the end of C++ for sure. I would be happy to transition from C++ to this new language when it comes into existence, but so far there hasn't been a good enough alternative.

And, according to Bjarne Stroustrup (C++ inventor) a new standard is to be released shortly that is going to do just that. It will add a C#-like feel to the language as well as added functionality such as lambdas and constant expressions. I can't wait!
C++0x was supposed to be released awhile ago. What do you mean C# feel though? The only feature that's going to be added that is sort of java-y is foreach... and I've been using the boost libs for that for a long time. Variadic templates, regular expressions, hash tables, tuples, and lambda functions are probably the coolest part of the next release IMO.

Regarding whether or not C++ is dying: I don't think it's dying. Everyone I know who can program can program in C++ (they vary in skill of course). Maybe you just go to a Java school.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:43 PM
BillGatesJR BillGatesJR is offline
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

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Originally Posted by sevenTwo View Post
C++0x was supposed to be released awhile ago. What do you mean C# feel though? The only feature that's going to be added that is sort of java-y is foreach... and I've been using the boost libs for that for a long time. Variadic templates, regular expressions, hash tables, tuples, and lambda functions are probably the coolest part of the next release IMO.

Well, not really a C# feel, but according to the C++0x Wiki Page, it will add functionality to make C++ much easier to learn and use without removing utilities needed by expert programmers. If C++ is still in active development, I've got a feeling it's here to stay for the long haul. Who knows? The added ease of use may make it more popular.

It seems as though MS Visual C++ 2010 is already on top of things regarding C++0x. It's the only C++ IDE I've seen supporting lambdas so far, where the older versions of VC++ threw compiler errors if I even hinted at a lambda.

I don't know if it supports all of the other things you mentioned about C++0x but I'm tempted to play around with it.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:56 PM
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Lightbulb Re: Is C++ dying?

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From a programmer's point of view I agree with you. My first year in uni when they taught us proper code ethics and why everyone should use them. We were always instructed to properly allocate memory and clean up, even if the language we used had a garbage collector.

However, the IT world has changed. Especially in the area of software engineering. There are many companies who specialize in cleaning up code, may it be in the area of security, performance, or other. And to automatize this process. So it's much cheaper for a company to hire lots of cheap, poorly trained programmers to write a the bulk of the code, and then outsource the cleanup to a specialized company that works with a much smaller team. That seems to be the general direction of where SE is heading towards.

Nowadays, any shmuck can write code. But there are few very good programmers.
Being a programmer is similar to being a driver in the past.

When cars were first getting introduced, being a driver was quite a prestigious profession; you couldn't just get behind the wheel, you needed to know how the car operates - if anything, because when it gets broken, you'll need to fix it.
Then, as time went by, it became possible to learn to drive on a few months' course. Drivers became just average workers.

And today, most people that work as drivers are poor people from countries where labour is cheap. Same thing with programming, which the bulk of is getting outsourced.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:01 PM
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Lightbulb Re: Is C++ dying?

And C++ will not die as a language any time soon. I don't see a good alternative for performance-critical applications / applications that have to work with the low level.
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:03 PM
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Lightbulb Re: Is C++ dying?

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Originally Posted by lanny View Post
That's really cool, I didn't know an intresting novel idea has come out of MS in the last decade.
Ha, it's not interesting or novel. That's what a debugger is supposed to do.
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

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I didn't know this either, maybe I finally find time to learn a compiled language .
Wouldn't hurt to learn it, even if you decide you don't like it. It's a good thing to have on your resume (especially if you can code GUIs with it), because it will definitely make you stand out from those lazy "drag-n-drop" VB programmers

Last edited by BillGatesJR; 08-17-2010 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

Maybe it's just that the C++ programmers are becoming outnumbered by the higher level programming language users, giving the illusion that it's not as popular as it once was.

If such is the case there could be just as many c++ coders out there using the language, but the increasing number of new programmers prefer easier languages, thereby outnumbering and dwarfing the c++ users, who haven't actually decreased at all.

Maybe the actual number of C++ users is growing, but we just don't see it as much due to the larger crowd.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:08 PM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

i feel smart reading the text in this thread.
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Old 10-15-2010, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

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Originally Posted by Dread_Lord View Post
Maybe it's just that the C++ programmers are becoming outnumbered by the higher level programming language users, giving the illusion that it's not as popular as it once was.

If such is the case there could be just as many c++ coders out there using the language, but the increasing number of new programmers prefer easier languages, thereby outnumbering and dwarfing the c++ users, who haven't actually decreased at all.

Maybe the actual number of C++ users is growing, but we just don't see it as much due to the larger crowd.
I would agree, that definitely makes a lot of sense. I still program in "modern day" languages. But knowing C++ has made me a better programmer in languages like Java and C# because not only could I tell you how the program works, I can (more importantly) tell you what's going inside the computer and why it works, as well as devise a solution that solves the same problem only more efficiently.

I just happen to prefer C++ because of the fine degree of control it gives me. I code all of my GUIs from scratch in C++, and as a result I can know exactly whats going on behind the scenes in my applications.

I've toured many different colleges and it seems like all of the programming courses are taught in Java. There were a few that had one course in C++, but when I asked about it I learned they were basically just an intro-level course that just scratches the surface.

My belief is that programmers, regardless of what language they use, still have a responsibility to know how processing and memory works. And so they should take at least a few courses on C/C++ or some other lower-level language that is fewer abstraction layers away from the hardware.

Last edited by BillGatesJR; 10-15-2010 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:11 AM
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Lightbulb Re: Is C++ dying?

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Originally Posted by BillGatesJR View Post
I've toured many different colleges and it seems like all of the programming courses are taught in Java. There were a few that had one course in C++, but when I asked about it I learned they were basically just an intro-level course that just scratches the surface.
Depends on what course you are teaching. For example, if you are teaching functional programming, it makes more sense to use a functional language like Haskell, and if you are teaching OOP it makes more sense to use Java.

Most colleges that I know don't aim at teaching a language, they focus on teaching concepts. You can then use whatever language you like - the fundamentals of Computer Science stay the same.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:33 AM
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Depends on what course you are teaching. For example, if you are teaching functional programming, it makes more sense to use a functional language like Haskell, and if you are teaching OOP it makes more sense to use Java.

Most colleges that I know don't aim at teaching a language, they focus on teaching concepts. You can then use whatever language you like - the fundamentals of Computer Science stay the same.
I agree but it seems as though many students aren't grasping the concepts - therein lies the problem. My whole point is that these new programmers may learn and fully understand the semantics of Haskell, Java, or whatever but thats about all they retain after school.

The students should definitely be learning Haskell and Java as they are great tools, but I still think there should be more required classes on systems theory and the fundamentals of low-level operations (memory addresses, pointers, etc.). After that, if they have boldly survived all of that, they can freely choose any language courses they like.

To put it simply, if we want to see better programmers, its a necessary culling of the herd.
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

Dying?

C:\
C:\DOS
C:\DOS\run
run DOS run
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:49 PM
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Dying?

C:\
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C:\DOS\run
run DOS run
Is that a story of a programme that needs to obtain 100'000 kb of RAM in 20 minutes or else the computer dies?
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:28 AM
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Dying?

C:\
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run Forest run
fix'd
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:07 PM
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:39 PM
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ur joke failed
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:59 AM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

I say fuck the paradigm of garbage collection, virtual machines, and other nonsense altogether. Perhaps there will come a day that a programmer can write in any language, and that be converted to another language in any format he/she likes. Then, it won't matter. The bottom line is though, programmer time is expensive, CPU time is cheap.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:20 AM
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programmer time is expensive, CPU time is cheap.
No.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:13 AM
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No.
You're a goddamn retard.
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Old 11-24-2010, 01:49 AM
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No.
Please elaborate.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Is C++ dying?

There's a lot of myths about C++ in this thread. Since I work with it every day on /practical/ things, perhaps I can shed some light on the matter. In short, C++ is not dying. Neither is C.

* Things take more time and lines of code than Java/C#.
I can't speak for C#, but the coding time is about the same for C++ and Java. Probably less for C++ since you tend not to use or worry about exceptions. As for the abundance of data structures being available in Java, how often do you use anything more than a vector or map? And finally, GUI design in C++ is fast as well, at least with the Qt framework + Qt designer.

* Garbage collection is easy-mode.
So be it. Most of the time, you use stack allocated objects which are destroyed when they get out of scope. This is a great advantage over Java, since things like file streams and database handles can be automatically closed! It's trivial to implement destructors correctly. If you don't dynamically allocate a class member, you don't even need to (and shouldn't) implement a copy constructor, assignment operator, or destructor. PROTIP: Those go together, it's all or nothing for the /vast/ majority of cases. (Rule of 3)

* Garbage collectors make a language inherently slow.
Perhaps a bit slower, but for the most part, this is just untrue. Bytecode runtime is more to blame in these so called "higher-level" languages. In fact, garbage collected languages have the nice ability to organize the heap so new malloc operations can go faster.

* C++ is not theoretically fresh. And it doesn't support high level concepts.
First off, Java can't even do function passing without a .do() or .exec() specified in an interface. C++ has the power to efficiently morph its syntax to fit a given problem using operator overloading, templates, and macros. The Boost::Lambda library is a perfect example. But then again, so are istream and ostream.

For real, look at the applications you use. They are all C++... except for Mac users who see a lot of Cocoa, which is written in objective-C with a garbage collector.
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