A Reference Book for a very Useful Computer Language

The C++ Programming Language - Bjarne Stroustrup

Honestly, I'm not really sure why I ended up reading this book. Okay, part of it may have something to do with my interest in getting back into computer programming but considering that the only programming language I have ever used is BASIC (though you could also throw in Neverwinter Nights, namely because they did have a pretty sophisticated editing suite which allowed me an enormous amount of freedom when I spent three years of my life playing around with it) and C++ is probably not the first computer language somebody should jump into, especially an amateur like me. Still, I had mentioned it to my Dad and he leant me this book, suggesting that while I wouldn't be able to use it to actually learn the language (there are websites for that), it would give me an idea of how computer languages work.


Mind you, these days people don't even use BASIC anymore (yes, they do have Visual Basic, but with the development of the internet I've never had a need to go down that path, and anyway I wanted something that was a little more versatile than BASIC). I still remember back when I was a kid that the main languages, other than BASIC, were FORTRAN, PASCAL, C, and Assembler. These days you seem to have a plethora of languages that are being used, though C++ still seems to be a very popular one in many areas. Actually, it was interesting to see how some of the functions in Javascript have been lifted straight out of C++.


It was also interesting to learn that Stroustrup developed the language while working at Bell Technologies (the telephone company), though this wasn't outlined in the book. I thought it was a little odd that this was a language developed commercially, yet Bell doesn't seem to hold any rights over the use of the language. The fact that you don't even have to pay for a compiler also suggests that people don't have to pay money to Bell just to code in C++. As you probably guess, C++ is actually a reworking of an older language, namely C, and Stroustrup does spend some time outlining the differences.


As I have indicated, C++ isn't a language for beginners, and this certainly isn't the type of book that one would read to actually learn how to code in the language. Rather, he outlines the various aspects of the language, and even goes as far to show us how he used it to create a desktop calculator. The problem that I would find with learning C++ is that you need to run it through a compiler, which is basically a program that allows the computer to read the code. It isn't like HTML, or even Javascript, where you write your code and then run it through Firefox to see if it works.


Still, even after all these years, C++ is still a very popular, and widely used, computer language. In fact quite a lot of games (including the Fallout series) were written using this language. It certainly is one of those languages that any computer programmer worth his salt should know, it is just that it is probably better to learn it another way than to grab a copy of this book.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1571077181