Benefits of Programming in C++

 

C++ programming tutorials

C++ is one of the oldest and most widely used programming languages in the world. Part of the C-family of programming languages, it regularly places in the top five of the famed Tiobe Index, which ranks programming languages based on developer preference and usage. It is used in a wide breadth of software applications, including desktop software, graphical user interface (GUI) apps, Operating Systems, embedded systems, and video game software. In today’s programming tutorial, we will look at the advantages and benefits of developing software in C++.

What is the C++ Programming Language?

C++ is a general-purpose, statically-typed programming language with elements of object-oriented programming (OOP) and functional development. It is part of the C-family of languages, and, in fact, is an extension of C originally conceived of as C with Classes – a nod to the fact that it allows developers to use classes and objects in their code. The actual ++ portion of the name comes from C’s ++ or incremental operator, a sort of programmer joke about C++ being an incremental step-up from C. The language was created by Bjarne Stroustrup and developed by the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee back in 1985.

The current stable release is version C++20, which came out in December of 2020. The Preview Release – C++23 – was released in October of 2021.

In addition to objects and classes, C++ also incorporates other OOP elements, including inheritance, encapsulation, abstraction, and polymorphism. Despite this, C++ is not always considered an OOP language. It is argued that, while you can use the object-oriented aspects of C++, you do not have to. Instead, developers can take a procedural or functional programming approach to C++ software development.

Read: How to Operate on Strings in C++

What Kind of Software Can You Develop in C++?

C++ can be used to develop a wide array of software, including applications such as:

  • Video Games for consoles like PlayStation and Xbox, as well as games for PC
  • Database software
  • Operating Systems
  • Embedded systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) apps
  • Internet Browsers
  • Graphical User Interfaces and GUI-based software
  • Cloud-based software
  • Enterprise apps

Examples of software created primarily using C++ include Adobe Photoshop, MySQL database, the Mozilla Firefox Internet browser, and, perhaps not surprising, the Windows operating system.

What are the Benefits of C++

There are many reasons to use the C++ programming language to develop software and applications. Outside of its popularity and wide range of use cases. We highlight just a few of the many advantages and benefits of using C++ below.

Compatibility with the C Programming Language

Given that C++ is a derivative or extension of C and, in fact, uses practically all of the C syntax, it is no surprise that C++ is highly compatible with C. If there is a valid C application, it is compatible with C++ by its very nature.

Read: C# for Beginning Programmers

Community and Resources

As one of the oldest, most popular programming languages, C++ enjoys a vast community of developers. A large portion of that community helps add to the continued functionality of C++ by creating libraries that extend the language’s natural abilities. That same community also frequently engages in social media channels, forums, and other online (and offline) communities, helping to troubleshoot issues, provide tutorials, and document the ins and outs of the language. Because of this, it is pretty simple to find answers or solutions to problems in your code or to troubleshoot and debug your C++ applications.

Additionally, since the language is so widely used, it provides a level of job and career security, as the language will not fall off the face of the Earth in the foreseeable future, and, indeed, will continue to be supported and updated.

Platform Independent and Portability

C++ is platform-independent and portable, meaning it can run on any operating system or machine. Because of this, programs developers create in C++ will not be limited to a single OS environment or require any further coding to work on other operating systems. This increases the programmer’s audience reach and limits the amount of iterations of an application a coder will have to make.

Memory Management

With C++, developers have complete control over memory management, which, technically counts as both an advantage and a disadvantage of programming in C++. It is a bonus to developers because they have more control over memory allocation. It is a negative in that the coder must be responsible for the management of memory, instead of giving that task to a garbage collector, as other programming languages do.

Embedded Systems

As noted, C++ is a derivative of C. C, in turn, is a procedural language capable of low-level manipulation. It is similar to machine language, and because of that, C is a great option for working with embedded software and the coding of smart devices, firmware, and even compilers.

Scalability

Scalability – the ability to scale an application to serve varying degrees of users or purposes – is an important element to any modern piece of software. C++ programs are highly scalable and capable of serving small amounts of data or large amounts of information.

Read: Top IDEs and Code Editors for .NET Developers

C++ Standard Template Library (STL)

C++ has the Standard Temple Library (STL) that provides libraries – or functions – of pre-written code that developers can use to save time instead of writing common functionality in their software. These libraries make coders more efficient, type fewer lines of code, write quicker programs, and avoid errors.

Execution and Compilation Speed

C++ is a fast programming language in terms of both execution and compilation. The speed for both is much quicker than with other general-purpose development languages. Further, C++ excels at concurrency, which is important for critical mass servers, web servers, databases, and other types of servers.

C++ Hello World Example

In traditional programming tutorials, the first program a developer will learn to write in a given language is known as the “Hello, World!” application. It is a simple snippet of code that serves as a way for a coder to introduce themselves to the “world”. Think of it in the same way that most guitarists are taught to play “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple – it is a right of passage for programmers.

The “Hello, World!” app does not do anything spectacular – it simply prints the words “Hello, World!” to a user’s screen. Here is an example of how to write the infamous “Hello, World!” application in C++:

// C++ program that will “write “ "Hello, World!" to the user’s screen
 
// Header file for I/O functions
#include 
// The Main() function is where execution of an application starts
int main() {
    // prints Hello, World! To the user’s screen
    std::cout << "Hello, World!";
     return 0;
}

Note that the double forward slashes // are used to write comments in your code in C++. These comments are not read by the program and ignored, being only visible to developers. Comments are used to leave notes to yourself or other programmers that may be viewing your code and trying to figure out its intended use at a later date.

Read more C++ programming tutorials.

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