C++ celebrates its 25th anniversary

Oct 15, 2010
C++ celebrates its 25th anniversary
Dr. Bjarne Stroustrup

(PhysOrg.com) -- Oct. 14 marked the 25th anniversary of the commercial release of the programming language C++, which was designed and implemented by Dr. Bjarne Stroustrup, Distinguished Professor and College of Engineering Chair in Computer Science.

C++ is one of the most popular programming languages in the world. The first commercial release of the language and the publication of the first edition of the book, The C++ Programming Language, happened on Oct. 14, 1985.

C++ is used in a wide range of applications such as internet browsers and cell phones, as well as for scientific endeavors. C++ is used on both NASA Mars Rovers and also in the human genome project DNA string matching system. Its key strength is infrastructure applications, such as wind turbine control, micro-electronics industrial tools, and the Google search engine. C++ can also be found in cameras, cars, airplanes, and video games. Chances are if that you have an appliance in your house that uses a computer, it is running C++.

Stroustrup created C++ to deal with the ever increasing complexity of the systems that he and his colleagues worked on at AT&T Bell Labs.

“We had a wide variety of problems, and the programming language C seemed to be an unnecessarily primitive tool for doing the kinds of design and implementation needed for what we could do with faster computers and larger memories. However, back then the computers had a low amount of storage and memory by today’s standards, so minimizing process overhead to what was necessary was important.”

Stroustrup said he initially didn’t realize that C++ would become such an integral part of the modern software landscape.

“I was too busy getting work done to reflect on its increasing popularity, and I knew that the success rate for general-purpose programming languages is small. I also knew that the chance of success was affected by marketing clout, which I did not have. C++ was initially designed and implemented as a set of general facilities addressing some specific problems that I and my colleagues faced. The generality — and efficiency — of the facilities provided turned out to serve much wider needs than I had anticipated. The emphasis on general facilities — as opposed to the provision of specific solutions to specific problems — has remained with C++ and has served its community well as the specific problems facing the community have changed over the years. “

The next International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard of C++ is set for release in 2011. Beyond that, Stroustrup said he has high hopes for the that he introduced to the world 25 years ago.

“I expect two or three revised standards to C++ within the next 20 years, and I hope and expect those revisions to reflect a large and vibrant user community and support new and better programming techniques. Ultimately my hope is that programmers will use C++ to make the world a better place for all people. In today’s world where software is ubiquitous, improving and finding new uses for software are ways that programmers can help to better the lives of many.”

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User comments : 9

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finitesolutions
1 / 5 (4) Oct 15, 2010
C++ is powerful enough to pay every living human being 1000euros month and handle the transaction load. For sure the people that lack the money will appreciate this free income and the ones that do not need it can ignore it. 6875100000 x 1000 = 6.8 trillions euros a month freedom payments.
MIBO
1 / 5 (5) Oct 15, 2010
I don't know of ANY application that is running C++.
Since C++ is normally compiled to object code there should be no C++ code left inside any application.
It doesn't matter what the programming language is, like any compiled language they are all just mechanisms to express an algorithm, which once compiled will be executed as native machine instructions.
In fact most applications now are probably composed of modules written in multiple languages.
Husky
not rated yet Oct 15, 2010
true, but c++ is just that much more "expressable" for multi platform and low level hardware use
trekgeek1
not rated yet Oct 15, 2010

I tried to be clever and use C++ to write "happy anniversary" but physorg comments don't like it I guess.
TehDog
1 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2010
Put the code in quotes, see if that works.
Never used C++, did some work in C *many* years ago :)
Last bit of coding I did was JS with a dash of PHP.
(Yes, it was a web page...:)
gmurphy
5 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2010
C++ rocks, it's a hard beast to master but the flexibility of the language is outstanding. The only real disadvantage is the lack of an inbuilt introspection / serialisation mechanism.
mg1
5 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2010
What id love to see is the actual c++ suite coming of age as it was meant to.

What do I mean coming of age...well it was designed to harness the POWER of write once..use many times.

How often ive thought, wouldnt it be great if my compiler environment had a drop down box with ready to use c++ code modules. I search the area im after and there is a nice (very large) include that gives me this, now i can add a bit more and hey presto less work.

Yes we can always find similar projects in (FANTASTIC) places like sourceforge.net...(youll love it) but im talking actually in the compiler environment (as part of the language protocol).

Perhaps the c++ body would be so good as to make a start then a community can maintain and include pieces as people write more code. Soon people can find and use previous code easier.

Just a thought.

Heres another ill just check in sourceforge.net to see if someone has a project that is doing it...lol.
mg1
4 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2010
I can only think of 1 flaw in c++, the = and == and spending time debugging that typo.

C is powerful, precise and (almost) perfect. My hat is off to you Dr. Bjarne Stroustrup for those reasons.
MIBO
4 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2010
surely if you look at the warnings the compiler will tell you.
The biggest flaws are the parts of the language that are open to interpretation, so different compilers produce different results.
it would also be nice to improve bitfield specification and make signed bitfields mandatory, currently some compilers seem OK with them but other don't.
Some support for explict parralelism would be nice also. It's still the best language around though, particularly if you want speed and aren't scared of working so close to the HW capabilities.