Advantages and Disadvantages of C++ programming language
A hundred programming languages may come and go, but the popularity of C++ will never diminish. C++ may be one of the oldest multi-purpose languages around, and it is still being used to develop desktop applications, create games and gaming engines, make 2D and 3D animations, incorporated in embedded and real time applications, printing and scanning applications, compilers, operating systems, media access software and plenty more.
It is the basis of millions of programs and codes. The programming language has been around for more than 40 years. Sure, that makes it old, but ever since its inception, the programming language has been perfecting its methodology, refining into a best version of itself.
Some developers still use C++ over shiner languages, and even though C++ was created as an extension to the C language, it still gives a high level of control to programmers. For over 40 years, developers have been perfecting the language, with thousands of hours spent on building the libraries.
But it is not a complete bed of roses for the C++ language, there are some disadvantages to using it. In this blog, we will examine the pros and cons of using the programming language.
The Advantages of C++
- Platform independence/portability
With the platform independence feature of C++, developers can run the same program on several different operating systems without a hitch. For example, if a program developed in LINUX OS has to be run in Windows OS, then you can make the switch without any errors, making it incredibly convenient to the programmer. They can develop codes without worrying about portability.
- Efficient performance and memory
C++ is a low-level programming language, and thus provides little abstraction from the architecture. Hence, it maintains a similar structure to the processor’s structure. As there is not much intermediary between the code and the computer (the computer understands the code easily because of the simplicity and directness).
- Is an Object-Oriented language
With Object-Oriented programming comes concepts like classes, inheritance, polymorphism, data abstraction and encapsulation making code reusability easier and increasing the efficacy and reliability of the programs.
- Can be considered a mid-level programming language
C++ is both low-level and high-level programming, so it can be considered a mid-level programming. You can create myriad types of applications because with high-level, it is possible to develop games and desktop apps, and with low-level capability, it is easy to make kernels and drivers.
- C++ is a multi-paradigm programming language
Paradigm is all about planning involved in programming. A programming paradigm is a kind of programming that’s based on a particular computation model. A multi-paradigm programming language means a language that’s equally well-suited to different programming paradigms. So it concerns logic, style and how we handle the program. And thus supports multiple paradigms like classes, overloaded functions, procedural programming, templates, modules and so on.
- Procedural programming is all about organising code through functions and procedures.
- Functional programming is all about organising code through functions
- Object-oriented programming is all about organising code through functions
C++ is capable of exploring all the paradigms, which is quite unlike other programming languages, making it truly multi-paradigm. It is also an imperative language, as it is directly linked to C. And it also comes in the object-oriented programming paradigm.
- Fast and powerful
There is no need to install a special runtime when running the program. The compilation and execution are fast, as it allows the developer to create different kinds of programs, including complicated GUIs.
- Switching to and from language easily
The syntax of C, C++, C# and Java is similar, and you can easily switch from one language to another without any trouble. Another added benefit is that programs running in C can also be run at C++, and can run the program on a file.cpp extension.
- Excellent Memory Management
C++ allows for Dynamic Memory Allocation (DMA) making it easy to free and allocate memory, and it also lets you deallocate blocks of memory whenever needed. The programmer has total control over memory management because of no garbage collection.
Developers can easily build applications that are resource intensive because C++ allows them to be scalable at will. So they can easily build applications that run small scale at first, and then build up to large scale data.
- Incredible community support
There is a huge community of talented developers who support the new teams by providing online courses and lectures. C++ is one of the most followed tags on GitHub and StackOverflow.
Check out some of the disadvantages of C++
- Security vulnerabilities
Poor coding can make it easy for hacks to gain entry, get control over the application’s execution flow. And the security issues do exist in spite of object-oriented programming being known for their security, and in spite of the availability of global variables, pointers, friend functions etc.
- Absence of garbage collector
We discussed earlier that there is no garbage collection in C++, and it is a disadvantage as it doesn’t filter out unnecessary data automatically. But this does give the programmer complete control over managing computer memory.
- Use of pointers
The pointers in both C and C++ are not easy to grasp at all and use up a lot of memory. When misuse of pointers happen, it could lead to erratic behaviour or crashes. Memory corruption can also happen when they use wrong values.
- No support for built-in thread
Since threads were a relatively new concept, C++ doesn’t support them. But this has been added since C++11.
- No automatic memory management
Manual memory allocation can be a pain for developers not used to it.
- Steep learning curve
It is not easy to master C++ so beginners might find it a bit tough to learn, especially when there are options around.
- Not flexible at all
The syntax is very strict, and a little mistake can give you a series of errors. It is not user-friendly for the beginner, so excelling in the language takes a lot of time.
C++ is a good choice since you can use the language on a variety of projects, but developers do need time to be an expert at it, but once you’ve hired a programmer who has mastered the basics, then everything falls into place. If you are looking to develop codes that run quickly and efficiently, then C++ is an excellent choice. Both Microsoft and Linux use C++ for their projects. The language is a perfect choice when you are building web browsers or operating systems, since it has the characteristics of low-level language. Code compilers use the language as their backend language.
Game development programmers prefer to choose C++ because it can handle the complexities of online gaming, and handle multilayer networking.
The author: Sascha Thattil works at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.