What is C++
The programming language C++ has been around for ages, and there is no one in the world of programming or technology that hasn’t heard of it. C++ is a general purpose language developed by Bjarne Stroustrup, and intended to be an extension of C. Though the language was developed in 1979, the first appearance of C++ was in 1985. As it is an object oriented programming language, it contains all the features like Inheritance, Polymorphism, Encapsulation and Abstraction. This makes application development easy and conceptualised.
The applications of the programming language are numerous. Let’s discuss the different use cases of C++ now.
Most of the applications of the Adobe systems are developed in C++
With GUI, Graphic User Interface, C++ helps in developing games, and for real time mathematical simulations. It could be a complicated procedure to use graphics in C++, but would be very useful in animation and games.
Operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, Symbian OS use C++ because of its amazing speed.
Database Management Systems
C++ has features like file handling, reliability, high speed, functions, classes and objects that help in managing data, and Oracle, IBM and MySQL are just a few examples of C++ in Data Management Systems.
C++ has a standard library that is rich in in-built functions, allowing it to be adopted as a backend programming language offering libraries to several high-level libraries like Machine learning libraries.
Web browsers are usually programmed in C++. Almost all the browsers that you’ve used in the past and are still using now, like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Netscape Navigator, Opera and Mozilla Firefox are all excellent examples.
Since C + + is a high-level programming language, it is quite compatible with machines too. This is a reason why many MNC use C++ with cloud computing and distributed applications.
Advantages of C++
Check out the various advantages of C++ that make it a popular choice among businesses and developers
Portability allows you to run the same program on different applications and with C++, this is easily possible. Through its platform independence feature, if you write a program in Linux OS, and would like to shift to Windows OS, you can easily do that without any error. This makes it extremely easy for the programmer, and the portability will happen smoothly.
2. Low-level manipulation
C++ is closely related to C, and being a procedural language, it allows for low-level data manipulation. This makes the program efficient performance-wise and memory-wise.
3. Uses multi-paradigm programming
Paradigm means a method to solve some problems or task. Programming paradigm is an approach where a particular program is solved using programming language, or maybe other tools and techniques. C++ program is multi-paradigm programming, meaning it follows the paradigms of Generic, Imperative and Object Oriented. Generic programming entails using a single idea to solve multiple purposes; through imperative programming, developers use statements to change a program’s state.
4. Memory Management
The programmer enjoys total control over memory management. But this feature could be an asset and liability too. The user will have to manage memory rather than by the Garbage collector. The memory management feature is implemented through DMA or Dynamic Memory allocation.
5. Huge Community backup
C++ is one of the most commonly used programming languages in StackOverflow and GitHub, and there is a huge library of resources, online courses and lectures, both free and paid, for newcomers.
6. Compatibility with C
Almost every program of C++ can be run, provided it has a valid .cpp extension. So C++ and C are pretty compatible with each other, and virtually all kinds of error-free C programs can be run on C++ programs too.
7. Wide range of applications
You can use C++ to build a wide variety of applications ranging from simple GUI applications to real time gaming, mathematical simulations etc.
One of the greatest strengths of C++ is its scalability, and you can build resource intensive apps with it. Since the code is type checked before it is executed, C++ is more performant than dynamically written languages, even though it is statically written.
Disadvantages of C++
1. Security is one limitation
Security is not a strong factor for C++ even though it is an object oriented programming language. It is the availability of friend functions, pointers and global variables that cause these security issues. Security vulnerabilities also include threats from LDAP injections, Command injections, Second Order SQL Injection, Connection String Injection, Resource Injection and Path Injections.
2. Complicated syntax
The syntax in a large C++ program is complex, with a small standard library. This could make it tough for beginners. But for those familiar with C# and Java, learning the programming language would be easy.
3. Arrays limitation in C++
Defining an array should be done in advance, and when once defined, you cannot modify it. So it is important to define the size of the array in advance (to store elements) making it difficult to increase or decrease the memory. The problem arises when you need to allocate the right memory because too much would lead to wastage of memory, and less memory leads to shortage of elements.
4. No Garbage Collection
There is no support for Dynamic Memory Allocation or DMA so the language cannot support garbage collection as well. And as mentioned earlier, the memory management is also very poor, forcing it difficult for the programmer.
5. No support of built-in thread
The programming language doesn’t support any built-in threads for multi-threaded applications, which is fairly a new concept in C++. However, the language can support lambda functions.
6. Use of Pointers
Pointers in C and C++ are difficult to handle, and wrong usage or misuse of pointers may cause the application to crash or behave erratically. If wrong values are placed, it could lead to memory corruption too. Debugging pointer bugs is not so easy, making it a serious disadvantage of C++.
7. Less flexible
The programming language is quite strict with its syntax, and a small error can cause serious errors. This makes C__ less user-friendly and less-flexible, because it is not easy to write the code in a readable way. Also, it is quite possible to define operators for specific operations, and with other programming languages, this is easily possible.
C++ is one of the oldest and highly efficient programming languages around and it is still a favourite among students and professionals. If you are starting your programmer journey, or are looking to hire a good programmer, someone with good knowledge in C++ would be an added advantage.
And once you have developed an understanding of the pros and cons of C++, it would be easy to identify whether the language would be suitable for your project requirements.
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.