I'm pretty well versed in C++, and every time I try to write something in C, I fall back to C++. I find memory management a pain without RAII, error handling a hassle without exceptions, and, well, anything really a pain without some sort of standard container library.
I have the idea that there's good alternatives for these in C-land, but I'm unfamiliar with them and would love for an expert to teach me.
In general, I wonder whether there's really that many people who know C but not C++. This might just be me projecting myself onto the world, though. Anyone?
In C11 there is type generic macros that helps writing C++-like overloaded functions.
There are several extensions in GCC too.
For RAII-like memory management, there are __attribute__((constructor)) and __attribute__((destructor)).
C++ does type reflection on constant expressions via type traits templates, in GCC there is simply typeof().
If you are bored about writing static function modifiers, you can write a function inside function.
If you want to allocate a vector which won't change capacity and be released when out of local scope , for example in C++:
auto v = std::vector<int>(n);
int v[n]; // n is a variable determined at runtime
Still, it's a nice hack for when you want to write C++-like code while still using C constructs only.
That said, my first underbelly reaction is that I don't want to write C++-like code in C. Why would I do that? I might as well use C++ then. It's like writing functional code in Java. It's possible, but it's a hack.
What I'd like to learn is how to decently deal with memory, exceptional behaviour, common data structures, etc in modern idiomatic C. Some other people in this thread made some nice suggestions for that, btw, so thanks guys :)
That statement is true. But, as you may be aware, it doesn't encompass quite a few use-cases. A lot of usecases require you to have fine control over performance and using RAII will cause random speed-bumps. for e.g. when a ref-counted smart pointer(s) goes out of scope and triggers 'heavy' destructors on held objects to free up resources - at a non-deterministic time.
It's certainly not standard, but I wrote a nice little generic list library you might be interested in: http://github.com/udp/list
It uses GNU extensions, but can fallback on C++ instead if you need to build with MSVC.
AIUI exceptions and RAII are mutually exclusive in C++. I don't know enough about C++ so i wouldn't be surprised to find out this is wrong.
That is... very wrong. Exceptions are perilous unless you use RAII religiously (which you should; it's good.)
For more information, read up on RAII and search for "exception safety."
The definition of C++ RAII from Wikipedia: "In this language, if an exception is thrown, and proper exception handling is in place, the only code that will be executed for the current scope are the destructors of objects declared in that scope". Without this it is very hard to reap any benefits of exceptions (people have disagreements on what those are, if any, but that's another topic).
I also found this which I thought was a high quality summary: http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/ctors-can-throw.html
In fact, I'd argue that you very often have to use RAII with exceptions, since there's no 'finally' block on a try-catch statement and hence it's the easiest way to ensure stuff gets cleaned up (well, except for catch(...) and rethrowing, but that's kinda ugly).
Every time I write C code is at a gun point of being forced to do so. When I have the choice between C++ and C, I always pick up C++.
How I'd start:
Lesson 1: Pointers don't exist in C++, we
Lesson 2: malloc() doesn't exist in C++
Lesson 3: Templates are awesome.
Lesson 4: Smart pointers are awesome.
Lesson 5: 'Structs' can have constructors, and
Lesson 5.5: Exceptions are awesome!
Lesson 6: 'Structs' can have copy constructors and
assignment operators, but the default ones do
exactly what you'd expect so you shouldn't have
to write them often.
Lesson 7: OK, OK... pointers still exist in C++ but
smart pointers and references make them almost
Lesson 8: ...oh, and if you use raw C pointers you
need to do all this extra donkey work when it
comes to handling exceptions, and write a lot
more of those pesky copy and move constructors
and assignment operators I told you you didn't
need to write.
Example: writing a smart pointer (with C pointers!)
Lesson 9: Implementing a safe, dynamic, exception-safe
array in C++ using templates and C pointers.
Lesson 10: back to sanity, the ease of using <vector>
(or the output of lesson 9) in every day code.
Introduction to the STL, <string>, etc.
Imho teaching inheritance or virtual functions early is also a bad sign. I'd go with public/private access control first (leaving protected), then member functions, then pure virtual member functions and basic inheritance, all the while presenting no hint of Circles and Ellipses, just interfaces.
I tend to bash C and C++ a lot given their unsafe by default nature as a Pascal refugee, but at least C++ can be made safe when the right abstractions are used and I do like it anyway.
In general, anything that says "X for Y programmers" is not worth it.
If you really want to learn C++, and you already know C, I suggest either "Accelerated C++" or "The C++ Programming language"
I guess what I'm asking is...who uses just C any more? I can only guess that if, by this point, your main expertise is C and you are still hacking away at it, you're a hacker who is beyond the need for any introductory C++ course and who could probably learn it on your own. If you're a C-person and just want to dabble in a more OOP language to do fun things, why wouldn't you just jump into Python? The world of mostly-and-only-C-programmers seems to be fairly small these days, and the ones who need to get into C++ -- in lieu of what's out there --- seems even smaller
To reiterate my thoughts, here's a review from someone who has read the recommended text book:
> I was initially dismayed by the large number of negative reviews, but now that I've completed this book I believe I understand why; this book is really intended for a very narrow target audience: very experienced C programmers with no knowledge of C++ -- i.e., Old Farts,... like me. Is there ANY school out there today teaching people C WITHOUT also teaching them C++? It seems unlikely, almost as unlikely as it would be to find a potential employer out there who is seeking Plain Old C programmers today. So if you are an Old C Dog like me looking to learn the "new" trick of C++, this book is for you and ONLY for you! I read it carefully and was able to pass a C++ test that I wouldn't have gotten a single answer right on before I read it. Anyone else looking to learn C++ would be better served by choosing C++ for Dummies or something similar.
As another datum, where I went to school the intro to CS data structures and algorithms courses were taught in C++ and the operating systems course was taught in C. In my day to day work I use C and a tiny bit of assembly (more reading than writing).
Now C is a different matter.
Still, if you look at the Chromium code, or the Doom 3 BFG Edition code, it's really neat and readable.
If you want to learn a next generation language right now then you should look at Rust. It seriously has the ability to replace C++ in the long term. C++ will be remembered as the third dino besides Fortran and Cobol.
One wonders how people who can't even create a static HTML page will manage to teach people a complex language like C++.
I'm trying to think of a page on their site where doing things "their way" (load a mostly empty page, fetch all the content later) is the right thing to do. Fittingly, I'm drawing a blank.