Evolving a Language in and for the Real World: C++ 1991-2006
Source: Texas A&M University
C++'s main contribution was and is through the many systems built using it. C++ has become an essential part in the infrastructure on which the modern day world i.e. telecommunications systems, personal computers, entertainment, medicine, and electronic commerce , rests and has been part of some of the most inspiring achievements of this time period including the Mars Rovers and the sequencing of the human genome. C++ was preeminent in bringing object-oriented programming into the mainstream. This paper outlines the history of the C++ programming language. The emphasis is on the ideals, constraints, programming techniques, and people that shaped the language, rather than the minutiae of language features. Among the major themes are the emergences of generic programming and the STL. Through change, it is hoped, to improve the state of the art in real-world C++ programming. The work of the C++ standards committee is the primary focus of the evolution of C++ and of this paper. Any tendencies by C++ to shed its C heritage to "Move up the food chain" and become a "Truly object-oriented" applications programming language with a "Complete" standard library in that direction, were squelched by a dedication to systems programming, C compatibility, and compatibility with early versions of C++ in most of the community associated with the standards committee. ISO C++ remains a general purpose programming language.