The secret behind C++ and its popularity

C++ is an object oriented programming language that has been around for a very long time. The language was designed in the early 80s by a Danish computer scientist, Bjarne Stroustrup of Bells Labs as an answer to the requirement by the large systems software to create better organised and architected apps.

This helped in responding to the demand of softwares with better performance and capacity. Eventually, the language came to be adopted by a large sector of developers, especially by those that worked in the telecommunications industry, and this trend went on for ages until new programming languages showed themselves.

Attributes like runtime performance, compatibility, platform support are major benefits for large backend systems used in telecommunication, engineering, finance etc. It delivers well on all three main tiers in fact – client-side, backend systems, middleware servers. Initially, it was meant to be a client-side language, but with Android NDK, the programming language is widely used in server-side applications too.

Bjarne Stroustrup worked with Simula, the main language intended for simulations, but as it was too slow for practical use, he began to work on C with Classes, a superset of C. His aim was to come up with object-oriented programming language that was fast, quick and portable. It was in 1983 that the language, C with Classes was converted to C++, wherein the “++” was an operator for incrementing a variable.

And C++ means ‘one better than C’. The language was implemented as a commercial product in the same year, though it was not yet made an official language. New standards were later introduced and the language evolved steadily, catering to user demands.

This multi-paradigm language is indeed a very popular one because it allows the developer to structure the different parts of the same program in so many different ways. And it is considered to be one of the fastest ones around. It has also been f major help to developers, as it helps address several challenging programming practices, there is no doubt that the recently published standards are highly renowned in the developer community.

The incredible performance of this language makes it the right choice for developing game engines, desktop apps and games. You could say that these are some of the reasons that contribute to the popularity of the language.

The language is there in many of the operating systems (iOS, Windows, etc), and in high budget AAA games like Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto. If you are a fan of it, you will be pleased to learn that the TIOBE index in May 2017, placed it on the 3rd position. It is a great choice for client side development for mobile platforms like iOS and Android, and a suitable solution for desktop platforms like Windows and Mac OS X.

1) Highly scalable

Scalability is the greatest strength and helps developers create resource intensive apps. If you are looking for an app with a huge amount of resources, then this would be a good choice, especially if you are planning to make a game app with 3D in it, C++ would be perfect.

2) Highly performant

Being statistically typed, makes the language highly performant. This is because the code is type-checked before execution. Java is close behind, but you can say that C++ is faster, if you have a talented developer in your team.

It is advisable to learn the language with the help of a mentor The OOP is a huge one, and there is a very good chance that a newbie developer could go astray, especially when he sits down to create a game app. An expert in the techniques would be of major help as things could get complex. This is because a lot of code is involved, and you will need expertise in handling things like memory management.

3) Huge Community size

Community size is a major factor while choosing a programming language. Support is the lifeline for a new entrant. The bigger the community, the more the people in it, and they will be striving to make app development easy and hassle-free. The language has an impressive developer community, especially in Stack Overflow, Github, and several other smaller meet up communities.

4) Amazing compatibility with C of any language

Through the C functional interfaces, you can probably access the libraries on your devices. POSIX (this is outside of C/C++) is a widely used library and it can support any library on almost every platform. It comes with a common C API for standard services. OpenGL/ES is a graphics library support for every operating system. As they don’t require any language bindings, do runtime conversions, marshal data types, etc., you can use both these libraries directly with these libraries.

5) The future of the language

The programming language is updated every 3 years, proving that it does have a specific place within the programming world. The latest release of C++ was in 2017, and known as C++17. The next is expected in 2020, and will be called C++20. Another noted advantage of C++ that will be of use to you in the future is that almost all the concepts, new syntaxes are all taught through C++. This makes it easier to shift from one language to another, so when you know C++, you are aware of most of the core concepts of programming.

The language has an excellent capacity for running legacy code. There are people who cry themselves hoarse that the OOP is dead, or is about to be dead. However, that is far from the truth. You will also be convinced of this if you visit job sites for developers. There are still thousands of jobs asking for C++ developers specifically.

C++ is growing, ever evolving. New features are being added on a regular basis, proving that it has evolved with time, and will continue to do so. So you can rest assured that it is going to be a mainstream choice for several more years.

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Picture Source: Alves/ Iversen

The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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