From the Inside Flap
Modularize. Use subroutines.
This book addresses programming style, with more emphasis on programming-in-the-large, and is restricted to the domain of C++ programs. It is written for the programmer who has learned the mechanics of C++, but is experiencing difficulty in applying the language features - particularly the object-oriented features - to programming problems. Though the discussion is limited to C++, many of the observations about programming are true of other languages. I leave the treatment of language-independent style in-the-large to more ambitious authors.
I have adopted Kernighan and Plauger's method of distilling rules of programming style from the critical reading and rewriting of programs. All the programs used here are taken from textbooks, magazine articles and tutorials on C++ programming. None was created artificially for this work. Some programs are presented exactly as originally published, while others have been altered cosmetically. The alterations range from the correction of in-the-small bugs, which would only distract, to structure-preserving transformations of programs for which copyright was not obtained.
The spirit in which to approach the material is that of an "egoless" code review. We all learn by reading and reviewing each other's programs. The material is not a criticism of individual programmers - it seeks only to differentiate between good and bad programs. No doubt the programs that are presented here as "better" versions have their own shortcomings. The reader is encouraged to examine these programs critically, looking for further improvements in programming style.
From the Back Cover
C++ supports programming-in-the-large, allowing relationships between different parts of a program to be expressed. The scope of C++ programming style therefore goes beyond traditional in-the-small issues which relate to the details of line-by-line coding. This book examines the use of the in-the-large language features of C++, which sometimes confuse even experienced programmers. The author demonstrates that unwarranted use of the more powerful language features may lead to cluttered programs which are harder to comprehend and sometimes less efficient than more straightforward alternatives. Cargill rewrites several programs, using techniques that range from improving consistency to removing redundant inheritance. The presentation simulates a code review, in which readers may independently evaluate and criticize alternative approaches to programming problems, and then compare their analyses with those of the author.
Design and coding style rules are distilled from the examples. Understanding and following these rules will help professional programmers design and write better C++ programs.
A chapter is devoted to each of the following topics:
- operator overloading
- unnecessary inheritance
- virtual functions