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Third Edition: Improving an already great book
on May 27, 2005
How do you improve a book that has been known as a "bible" in the C++ community for years? As Scott mentions at the beginning of the text, he almost threw everything out, and started from scratch. When I first say the book, I thought that there are five new items that were added to the book, but I couldn't be more wrong. As you might have guessed, C++ has gone thru a number of significant changes over the past decade, and the third edition of this book is updated to take advantage of the new editions to the C++ standard. In reality, almost every item in this book has gone thru a re-write. Many have been consolidated and new chapters, topics and many new items have been added. A few items that did not make sense anymore like items 2, 3 and 4 in the second edition are removed from this third edition.
Scott breaks down the c++ language into 4 subparts:
* The old C subsystem. Before all these advanced programming languages such as Java and .NET came, C was the language of choice. C++ is "translated" to C first, and then complied and linked to an executable.
* OO C++, which is C with Classes. This is where the concept of Object Orientation in C++ started. Even though this concept was very much new a decade ago, it is very much part of a programmer's vocabulary.
* Template C++, which is the newest edition to the C++ standard and it brings with it the concept of Template Metaprogramming. This concept is very much new, and this book has dedicated a whole chapter around templates, and template metaprogramming.
* STL, which is the C++ Standard Template Library. Again, STL was a new concept a few years back, but it is very much an established notion in C++.
Scott has taken a new approach to this book and has covered all four of these subparts. He has a book dedicated to STL, but he is using STL notions and "language" throughout this book. The chances are that the reader is already familiar with other languages such as Java and .Net, so the text covers area where these two languages differ with C++, especially in the area of inheritance and polymorphism. But not everything has changed. Topics such as,"Explicitly disallow the use of Compiler Generated functions you do not want," will never get old or outdated.
New chapters cover topics such as C++ Template and Generic Programming, Resource Allocation and topics that cover the latest C++ standard and additions, including the TR1 (Technical Report 1). "new and delete" have been separated into their own chapter, and the author goes into great depth demonstrating to the reader the various ways that these two operators can be modified, and why.
Exceptions and programming in light of exceptions is also a very new concept in C++. The previous versions on this text did not touch on exceptions all that much, but the author has spread the use of exceptions throughout the text, with a number of items dedicated explicitly to exceptions and exceptions handling.
The updated items, new topics and chapters and a new look and feel of the text with color coded examples make this book a joy to for C++ programmer to read.