The A-Z of Programming Languages: C++

Bjarne Stroustrup of C++ fame dissects the history of his famed programming language

Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, I think we ought to consider the articulation of ideas and education. I have touched upon those topics a couple of times above, but the problems of getting people to understand what C++ was supposed to be and how to use it well were at least as difficult and time consuming as designing and implementing it. It is pointless to do good technical work and then not tell people about it. By themselves, language features are sterile and boring; to be useful, programmers have to learn how language features can be used in combination to serve some ideal of programming, such as object-oriented programming and generic programming.

I have of course written many purely technical papers, but much of my writing have been aimed at raising the level abstraction of programs, to improve the quality of code, and to give people an understanding of what works and why. Asking programmers to do something without giving a reason is treating them like small children - they ought to be offended by that. The editions of "The C++ Programming Language", D&E, "Teaching Standard C++ as a New Language", and my HOPL papers, are among my attempts to articulate my ideals for C++ and to help the C++ community mature. Of course, that has been only partially successful - there is still much "cut and paste programming" being done and no shortage of poor C++ code - but I am encourage by the amount of good code and the number of quality systems produced.

Lately, I have moved from industry to academia and now see the education problems from a different angle. We need to improve the education of our software developers. Over the last three years, I have developed a new course for freshmen (first-year students, often first-time programmers). This has given me the opportunity to address an audience I have never before known well and the result is a beginner's textbook "Programming: Principles and Practice using C++" which will be available in October.

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