The concise text covers a range of challenging topics in C++ without attempting to be comprehensive. Each "item" is presented as a question to try and solve yourself before the author presents his solution, plus additional detail as needed. For most topics, Sutter ends by giving his advice on the best practices (and gotchas to avoid).
Early sections concentrate on using Standard Template Library (STL) container classes, like removing items effectively, and the subtle differences between container types. Standout sections on designing custom templates (using specialization techniques) and exception-safe classes will help you do more with your own classes. One entertaining problem here shows a number-guessing game (Mastermind) built as efficiently as possible using STL code (including expert-level use of generic functions to do much of the work).
Several problems on copy-on-write (COW) semantics for more efficient classes point out the issues surrounding code optimization. (The author argues against a simplistic approach to optimizing code, including an overreliance on inlining functions. Several times he points out the difficulty of getting COW code to work in multithreaded projects.)
There has been a debate in the C++ community for years about whether it's possible to design truly "exception-safe" classes. Sutter points out the difficulty with a precise analysis of the issues surrounding exceptions and C++ constructors. Material on the finer points of inheriting classes (including when to avoid and when to use multiple inheritance in C++) will extend your class design options. A good section here is the author's explication of how to simulate COM/Java style interfaces in C++, which isn't immediately obvious, even to experienced C++ developers.
Later sections delve into code maintenance issues, including advice for using macros, typedefs, and namespaces. (Advice on migrating existing C++ code into namespaces will help you combine legacy code with other libraries.) A final appendix shows off some benchmarks for optimizing strings using a variety of techniques.
Intelligent, provocative, and demanding, More Exceptional C++ shows why C++ continues to be a rich, complex, and challenging language. Armed with titles like this one, experienced C++ programmers can write better code and avoid pitfalls buried in the outer edges of their favorite language. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: Puzzles and solutions to advanced topics in C++, using remove() and erase() for Standard Template Library (STL) containers, custom templates with inheritance and traits, using typename, containers used with pointers, the finer points of vector, set, and maps, potential problems with vector < bool >, post and prefix operators used with functions, templates overloading, explicit and partial template specialization (plus function template overloading), using STL to implement Mastermind (a number-guessing game), the finer points of inline functions, lazy optimizations (including copy-on-write--COW--and semantics for strings), iterators and references, gotchas in multithreaded environments, designing exception-safe classes, constructor failures and object lifetimes, uncaught exceptions (the pitfalls of using uncaught_exception()), unmanaged pointers (in parameter evaluation and auto_ptr); copy assignment, inheritance and exception safety issues, multiple inheritance dos and don'ts, the Siamese Twin problem, virtual functions, controlled polymorphism, memory management issues with smart pointers (auto_ptr), recursive declarations, how to simulate nested functions, preprocessor macros, hints for initialization, forward declarations, using typedef effectively, best practices for namespaces (including code maintenance and migrating existing C++ code to namespaces), and appendices on advice for multithreaded optimization.
From the Back Cover
Organized in a practical problem-and-solution format, More Exceptional C++ picks up where the widely acclaimed Exceptional C++ leaves off, providing successful strategies for solving real-world problems in C++. Drawing from years of in-the-trenches experience, Herb Sutter provides tested techniques and practical solutions for programmers designing modern software systems with C++, from small projects to enterprise applications.
Built around forty programming puzzles, More Exceptional C++ helps you understand the rules and issues critical to successful software design and development in C++. New themes included in this sequel place a strong emphasis on generic programming, memory management, and using the C++ standard library, including coverage of important techniques like traits and predicates. Also included are guidelines and considerations to remember when using standard containers and algorithms--topics rarely covered in-depth in other sources.Readers will find solutions to such important questions as:
- What pitfalls might you encounter when using std::map and std::set, and how can you safely avoid them?
- What kinds of predicates are safe to use with the STL, what kinds aren't, and why?
- What techniques are available for writing powerful generic template code that can change its own behavior based on the capabilities of the types it's given to work with?
- When and how should you optimize your code? Why can (and do) fancy optimizations get us into trouble? And how can some of these answers change if you're writing multithread-safe code?
- Does exception safety affect class design, or can it be retrofitted in as an afterthought?
- How can you avoid the Siamese Twin problem when combining inheritance-based libraries from different vendors?
- How can you safely use auto_ptr, and then use common design patterns to adapt it to avoid common pitfalls? Can you use auto_ptr as a class member? What must you know before you elect to use it that way?
- Plus one of the most frequently recurring questions about modern C++: When and how should you use namespaces, anyway?
A must-have for the serious programmer, More Exceptional C++ provides a thorough and pragmatic understanding of the language while showing you how to write exceptional code in C++.