New PDF release: A critique of C++

By Joyner I.

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C should not be seen as a language to which you graduate after you have learnt to program in languages with safety checks. In fact changing to C or C++ is a great step backwards. Languages with consistency and semantic checks are essential aids to the production of professional software. This paper has shown many cases where C++ uses old C mechanisms to provide things that can and should be expressed consistently within the object-oriented paradigm. For example type casting. The move to pure object-oriented languages will facilitate more consistent programming and avoid many typical errors that occur in software production.

The perpetuation of low level languages such as C into OOP is proof that the programming community is not willing to compromise, or sharpen its axe enough in order to bridge this costly gap. The critique began with certain questions, and as no work can be absolute (particularly a programming language), it will end with more questions that it is hoped will create more debate, and more questioning into what we are really trying to achieve with program development. Does C++ provide effective communication between programmers separated in both space and time?

Indeed the move to C++ should only be considered in the case of upgrading a body of C programs for backwards compatibility. In the case of new projects alternatives to C and C++ should seriously be considered. Programming is the orchestration of change within a large state space. Object-oriented techniques provide a method of simple division and management of such state spaces. Managing such state spaces requires the simplest techniques, in order to guard against detectable inconsistencies that lead to errors in executable systems.

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A critique of C++ by Joyner I.


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