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post #11 of 23
I was a teaching assistant for a introductory C++ course last semester. I always referred students to www.cplusplus.com as it serves an amazing resource that provides detailed explanations of all the features of the language and also contains very clear concise tutorials for you to understand the basic concepts. I still use it as reference from time to time as well. Also, when I first started learning C++, YouTube was always my best friend. Just search for a concept of a language you want to learn more about. I always found wonderful lectures on YouTube to help me understand the language.
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post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by stolemyowncar View Post

Yeah outside of coding for microcontrollers and things that have limited processing power (for which you might go down to assembly sometimes), C++ doesn't have quite as much use as it used to (again CE, not CS major, so I can't totally say this with confidence). I mean if you want to code something horribly efficient (iirc it's what utorrent is made with), then it's the way to go. But these days people have gigabytes and terabytes of space hanging around... and way more processing power than they'll ever need. Managed code does a pretty good job of cleanup, too (at least a better job than the average programmer); I think C++ can be managed. Scripting languages also tend to run pretty fast.

If you want to get used to using C++, and using it in the environment where you'll most likely be using it at (or imo where it is the most use), and also have some fun, I really suggest checking out mbed:

http://mbed.org/

I had a class in it during my senior year, and I also used an mbed for my senior design project... depending on what you want to do it might not be cheap because the breakouts can cost a decent amount of money, though. If your school has classes with it, I'd suggest trying them out. You just need to get a capacitor and resistor for your rails to try to avoid messing anything up if you short something (or something like that). Just look for proper breadboard setups, shouldn't be too bad... well actually some of the wiring can get a bit annoying when it comes to using transistors to open/close the circuit for driving from an external source. For instance you'll need to do something like that for a motor. Sometimes a servo, too...

... Well, it's not totally pain-free but it can be fun.



If you want to eventually have some fun, but experience the closest thing to wanting to commit suicide due to programming in the short run, you can try out OpenCV.
I would argue that C++ has NEVER been truly needed. Despite this, it is used everywhere and doesn't show much indication of falling out of use at a medium-high level of development (most if not all low-level tools and libraries are programmed in C). C is a far better language without most of the problems inherent in C++ (read a nice, long critique here (PDF)). The biggest issue with scripting languages, java, lisp, etc is that they garbage collect. Garbage collection is great (and most large C programs use one in some form), but the ability to specify and deallocate resources when desired offers much increased responsiveness in quite a few use cases. In addition, garbage collection also requires more memory per application. In cases where you desire garbage collection in C/C++, libraries are available.

Another problem with lots of language implementations is the reliance on virtual machines (most interpreted languages, actionscript (aka flash), java, etc). This offers decreased performance and has proven to not transfer between architectures and operating systems (the well-known "write once, debug everywhere" problem in Java).

As to scripting languages in particular, performance is FAR too poor to replace C. They are dozens to hundreds of times slower. The best chance they have at present seems to be in tying low-level C programs together (for example, using python to create a Qt program where the bulk of the work is being accomplished by the C++ libraries). Of all the scripting languages, only some of the lisp-based dialects (common lisp, clojure, and scheme) have shown the ability to be easy to create while still scaling up to C-like performance (overall, there are high level languages which are very fast for specific things. One such example would be J which is nearly as fast as most C programs when dealing with array and matrix manipulation).
post #13 of 23
Well, it's a bit less annoying in some ways than C. It's sort of an attempt to get closer to scripting languages in terms of user friendliness.

I had actually been coding in C through most of my schooling. C++ wasn't really more difficult so I didn't care about which one I was using. I probably never quite learned to take advantage of things C++ does easier. At least not as much as I should have.

As for scripting/managed and whatnot vs C/C++... again I'd say that depends on what you're doing. Yes, well-optimized C/C++ is generally faster, but honestly are getting to the point where computers are becoming so powerful that they'll go fast no matter what kind of crap you throw at them. At least unless it's just designed so badly that even my 4770k chokes on it. Which is possible.

For instance I've had perl just eat through a directory full of text files, some of them hundreds of thousands of lines long, and parse out exact lines that I wanted... in like a second or two (sometimes less). Perl's text processing is pretty crazy. I've found its performance to not be too bad for most tasks, either, and it's much faster to code in. Different languages simply excel in different things. If you need to build a nice program from the ground up that performs (diverse) mission-critical tasks promptly.... then you're probably gonna take a long time on it anyway. Go ahead and use C/C++. For situations where squeezing out every last bit of that power is needed... yeah use C/C++. For making drivers (not that I'd recommend anyone undertake that...), use C/C++.

Different things for different things, it's all about using your time efficiently and delivering things that work.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by stolemyowncar View Post

Well, it's a bit less annoying in some ways than C. It's sort of an attempt to get closer to scripting languages in terms of user friendliness.

I had actually been coding in C through most of my schooling. C++ wasn't really more difficult so I didn't care about which one I was using. I probably never quite learned to take advantage of things C++ does easier. At least not as much as I should have.

As for scripting/managed and whatnot vs C/C++... again I'd say that depends on what you're doing. Yes, well-optimized C/C++ is generally faster, but honestly are getting to the point where computers are becoming so powerful that they'll go fast no matter what kind of crap you throw at them. At least unless it's just designed so badly that even my 4770k chokes on it. Which is possible.

For instance I've had perl just eat through a directory full of text files, some of them hundreds of thousands of lines long, and parse out exact lines that I wanted... in like a second or two (sometimes less). Perl's text processing is pretty crazy. I've found its performance to not be too bad for most tasks, either, and it's much faster to code in. Different languages simply excel in different things. If you need to build a nice program from the ground up that performs (diverse) mission-critical tasks promptly.... then you're probably gonna take a long time on it anyway. Go ahead and use C/C++. For situations where squeezing out every last bit of that power is needed... yeah use C/C++. For making drivers (not that I'd recommend anyone undertake that...), use C/C++.

Different things for different things, it's all about using your time efficiently and delivering things that work.
You should consider reading Object-Oriented Programming with ANSI-C by Axel-Tobias Schreiner (PDF www.cs.rit.edu/~ats/books/ooc.pdf‎). Aside from that, there's not much C++ offers.

We are NOT getting to the point where performance does not matter, in fact, the current problem is that transistors double, but performance has diminishing returns (wikipedia on Moore's Law limitations). Once upon a time, it was common practice to wait for the next generation of CPUs rather than spend the resources to optimize the code. This is no longer true. To keep Moore's Law true, CPU designers are (instead of making processors faster), making more cores . This is not a bad idea except that threading is hard and even harder in scripting languages (look at the global interpreter lock in ruby and python).

That said, mobile devices make a huge part of the potential programming market. Next-generation mobile processors (A57 or Apple's A7) are still not fast enough to meet up with the requirements of large programs. It won't be until the next generation (or the generation after) that we will have processors that are around the power of Core2 (where desktops finally started to become less constrained by the average day-to-day program). Java on Android, C# on Windows Phone, and javascript on all platforms is very limiting in both performance and RAM usage. This is one of the biggest reasons why iOS has been smoother for all this time (API is another, but that's a separate issue). If Android were using Qt by default, programs could be strung together with QML (specialized, compiled javascript), python or similar and have better, smoother performance on the same systems while using equal or (most likely) less RAM.

A note on perl. It is very fast both because it's state machine generators are very close to C (I was told in the past that they use a native C library somewhere under there), and because DFA and NFA have different performance characteristics. The perl method is extremely fast for somewhat short regex, but almost unusable for longer regex (read more here)

Finally, I'm not saying that scripting languages are bad. I do most of my current work in python, javascript, ruby, and common lisp (which is actually very performant when needed). I'm simply saying that C/C++ are nowhere near bad choices when learning/teaching a language (in fact, it could be argued that they are great choices because they help introduce lower-level concepts).
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by hajile View Post

*snip*

I wanted to say something like this. We're absolutely at a point where processors are fast enough to handle the vast majority of use cases without breaking a sweat (and we've been here for a while). So fast that the world needs to stop looking at hardware and improve the software. Languages, compilers, etc. That's one of the reasons people are really hoping for HSA to really take off. The whole idea, as I understand it, is to make it easier to write much more performant code (by way of heterogenous memory architecture and access, parallelism, etc.).

That, and make SSDs cheaper. They make everyone day-to-day performance complaints go away.
post #16 of 23
C++ Book Amazon link

THIS book, paired with determination and other life values (blah, blah, blah), is a surefire way to get to where you want to get in the industry. Once you finish this, look into buying this:

Another book

I followed the same path, and I can now comfortably program varios thing. I now use my C++ for CryENGINE, editing various aspects of the source code.
Edited by PolyMorphist - 10/14/13 at 1:13am
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by stolemyowncar View Post

Yeah outside of coding for microcontrollers and things that have limited processing power (for which you might go down to assembly sometimes), C++ doesn't have quite as much use as it used to (again CE, not CS major, so I can't totally say this with confidence). I mean if you want to code something horribly efficient (iirc it's what utorrent is made with), then it's the way to go. But these days people have gigabytes and terabytes of space hanging around... and way more processing power than they'll ever need. Managed code does a pretty good job of cleanup, too (at least a better job than the average programmer); I think C++ can be managed. Scripting languages also tend to run pretty fast.

If you want to get used to using C++, and using it in the environment where you'll most likely be using it at (or imo where it is the most use), and also have some fun, I really suggest checking out mbed:

http://mbed.org/

I had a class in it during my senior year, and I also used an mbed for my senior design project... depending on what you want to do it might not be cheap because the breakouts can cost a decent amount of money, though. If your school has classes with it, I'd suggest trying them out. You just need to get a capacitor and resistor for your rails to try to avoid messing anything up if you short something (or something like that). Just look for proper breadboard setups, shouldn't be too bad... well actually some of the wiring can get a bit annoying when it comes to using transistors to open/close the circuit for driving from an external source. For instance you'll need to do something like that for a motor. Sometimes a servo, too...

... Well, it's not totally pain-free but it can be fun.



If you want to eventually have some fun, but experience the closest thing to wanting to commit suicide due to programming in the short run, you can try out OpenCV.
This is really far from the truth, don't spread misinformation! C++ is used when writing extensions to certain parts of operating systems, especially Windows. It can also be used partially (or completely if you work for it) in drivers. You are also forced to compile native code in those situations since you can't always load .NET libraries. Myself, and a lot of other people in the same field, program in C++ every day at work. Also, suggesting that a CS degree entitles you to more knowledge on how C++ is used (or that any degree entitles you to any knowledge, for that matter) is ridiculous. A lot of what CS/CE degrees teach isn't everyday practical knowledge, but instead used in some cases. They don't teach you how to program, they teach you algorithms and how to handle specific cases, like image processing. I have had the (dis)pleasure of working with some Master's graduates who couldn't program to save their lives, and their thesis program which does some video manipulation is only working by some miracle and (probably) the fact that they had an extremely long period of time to find bugs and fix them. But in a real-life environment with deadlines longer than years for projects way bigger, they do badly. I have worked with people who have been a pleasure to work with and write beautiful code that works well and is fast, and some of them don't have a degree in anything.

C++ is also used for performance reasons. For example, you might write a complex program in Java or Python, and then implement a library to be loaded by your Java/Python code in C++ to speed things up. You often see this in network code that goes low level. You might have an NDIS driver written in C/partial C++ which handles packets and filters them using a BPF filter in kernel mode, a user-mode C++ library that reads the packets from the driver, and business logic code written in Java that manipulates that data as a stream.

I say you should learn a simpler object-oriented language like Python, then learn C, pointers and what not, and finally find some good piece of literature or course that teaches how to do object-oriented C++ while being mindful of the gotchas outlined in Effective C++ and More Effective C++ by Scott Meyers.

C++ isn't really that hard, it's just that you need to be aware of how the compiler parses your code, and the various gotchas that are present. It also helps to understand completely what happens when you do printf("%d", i), from how the string is parsed, how the memory is accessed, how printing is implemented, how you could write this code in assembly (essentially, what it compiles to), and it also helps to understand how the OS works in terms of virtual memory, files, etc. Good programmers are programmers who can tell you what happens on your computer when you click F5, from the moment the compiler starts running to the moment the program is running, and the debugger is connected, and the number is output to your screen.

But maybe that's for later. I'm just trying to sell you the idea that later down the line, you might want to learn some more stuff and not just be satisfied that you can write C++. Your ability to learn and program will be limited if you don't feel that you completely understand what's going on when you approach a problem.

P.S. I'm not a C++ evangelist, I also spend a lot of time programming in Python and some in Lua.
Edited by Coma - 10/14/13 at 11:12am
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post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coma View Post

This is really far from the truth, don't spread misinformation! C++ is used when writing extensions to certain parts of operating systems, especially Windows. It can also be used partially (or completely if you work for it) in drivers. You are also forced to compile native code in those situations since you can't always load .NET libraries. Myself, and a lot of other people in the same field, program in C++ every day at work. Also, suggesting that a CS degree entitles you to more knowledge on how C++ is used (or that any degree entitles you to any knowledge, for that matter) is ridiculous. A lot of what CS/CE degrees teach isn't everyday practical knowledge, but instead used in some cases. They don't teach you how to program, they teach you algorithms and how to handle specific cases, like image processing. I have had the (dis)pleasure of working with some Master's graduates who couldn't program to save their lives, and their thesis program which does some video manipulation is only working by some miracle and (probably) the fact that they had an extremely long period of time to find bugs and fix them. But in a real-life environment with deadlines longer than years for projects way bigger, they do badly. I have worked with people who have been a pleasure to work with and write beautiful code that works well and is fast, and some of them don't have a degree in anything.

C++ is also used for performance reasons. For example, you might write a complex program in Java or Python, and then implement a library to be loaded by your Java/Python code in C++ to speed things up. You often see this in network code that goes low level. You might have an NDIS driver written in C/partial C++ which handles packets and filters them using a BPF filter in kernel mode, a user-mode C++ library that reads the packets from the driver, and business logic code written in Java that manipulates that data as a stream.

I say you should learn a simpler object-oriented language like Python, then learn C, pointers and what not, and finally find some good piece of literature or course that teaches how to do object-oriented C++ while being mindful of the gotchas outlined in Effective C++ and More Effective C++ by Scott Meyers.

C++ isn't really that hard, it's just that you need to be aware of how the compiler parses your code, and the various gotchas that are present. It also helps to understand completely what happens when you do printf("%d", i), from how the string is parsed, how the memory is accessed, how printing is implemented, how you could write this code in assembly (essentially, what it compiles to), and it also helps to understand how the OS works in terms of virtual memory, files, etc. Good programmers are programmers who can tell you what happens on your computer when you click F5, from the moment the compiler starts running to the moment the program is running, and the debugger is connected, and the number is output to your screen.

But maybe that's for later. I'm just trying to sell you the idea that later down the line, you might want to learn some more stuff and not just be satisfied that you can write C++. Your ability to learn and program will be limited if you don't feel that you completely understand what's going on when you approach a problem.

P.S. I'm not a C++ evangelist, I also spend a lot of time programming in Python and some in Lua.

Did you really read my post(s) in this topic?

You're barking up the wrong tree here. I have already programmed quite a bit in C (as well as some assembly) during my schooling. I simply haven't done as much C++ by comparison. I know quite well how pointers and all of that works (though the "object-oriented" tidbit is something I have yet to abuse as much. I've probably used it plenty without realizing it in Perl and PHP, which is what I work in primarily right now). I already have mentioned that C/C++ has its purposes in later posts, and cited drivers and performance as reasons. I'm just not going to say I'm a total expert on it as it is not what I use at my workplace (hence I'm not a professional that has to work with it on a daily basis). The CS/CE major thing was more aimed at higher level workings of languages on current systems vs scripting languages and such. CS majors generally have much more experience with various languages than CE majors do, and that is simply a fact (unless the curriculum is just strangely designed). As a CE major I experienced only a few things: MATLAB, Assembling, VHDL, C, a little C++, and some (VERY) limited C#. That's it. That's all I needed for my degree. From that, do I have the knowledge to actually say what language performs how vs what other one? Not really. By simple logic I know that C/C++ and Assembly should be the most efficient (assuming it's optimized). I made such a disclaimer to differentiate where my expertise on the topic ends. It has nothing to do with how well I write code or anything of the sort. Furthermore I have less experience with algorithms. Again, simply a fact.

The only real thing I was questioning in this thread was whether or not it was necessary to actually write in one of the lower-level, unmanaged languages for most common purposes... when processors and computers in general are so powerful. I am still of the opinion that C/C++ is a language more specifically suited for use on a "when necessary" basis, not a "use it all the time" basis. All you have pointed out in this post is "when necessary" purposes. Assumption that "user doesn't necessarily have to have this, so I must do it like this". Or the fact that "I have only this amount of resources to work with, so I need this" (which is similar to the plight for microcontrollers)... or "I simply can't do this with any other language."

I simply think that one of the most valuable abilities for a programmer is being able to evaluate whether a tool is necessary... whether it's expedient to take time to do this over that. I think the most appropriate language for any job is the one that gets the task done well enough while being the easiest to code in. That leads to optimal usage of time. The downside of course is that if later one finds him or herself with a suddenly more constrained environment, he or she will of course wish that the code had been done in C/C++ the first time.

Also, I've never (or rarely) just memorized and started spitting out random algorithms in any class (not that many of mine allowed me to anyway). Occasionally I'll use one that I find if I can't think of one myself, but even then I generally code the thing myself. I do occasionally take chunks of code from online out of laziness, but it's usually because I can't think of a better way to do it myself anyway. Which you might scoff at that, and maybe I'm just bad, but I've come to the conclusion that I happen to not be omniscient and that there is, perhaps, someone that is even better than me at coding. At work, the most time I spend in any project is usually drafting the algorithm and ironing out potential kinks in it before I actually work on programming. When I finish that, I both write and put all of the necessary parts together.

Cute image from Toradora though, I like it.
Edited by stolemyowncar - 10/14/13 at 12:53pm
post #19 of 23
Nope, I didn't read the entire thread, you're correct tongue.gif Sorry.

The assembly thing was directed at the OP (as part of suggesting what he should learn). My references to degrees were just in response to what somebody wrote in this thread that made it seem like a degree entitles you to be some sort of authority on programming, and I know that not to be true so I was trying to dissuade him from using degrees as a method of judging whether someone is knowledgeable in the field or not.

Taking pieces of code from other resources is always a good idea, it's not a bad thing. I've just had experience working with people who are completely incapable of writing good code on their own, and frankly -- most code you can find online (which isn't part of a library -- and even then) is pretty bad. That's okay when you're working on something on your own, but writing bad code that gets incorporated into some larger codebase which a lot of other people work on is very harmful.

Regarding the ability for evaluating whether a tool is necessary - I believe having a thorough understanding of the environment your code would run in and the limitations that the environment and each language imposes on you is critical for doing so, and without that knowledge choices may be made with incorrect assumptions as a basis, which might come back to hit you in the face later.

For example, at work we recently had to choose between implementing something in C++ or Python. We wanted the program to be cross-platform (Windows, and Linux on x86/MIPS/ARM). It seems like an obvious choice to do this in Python, but the environment running the code is rather non-trivial and has a lot of complications (it has to be based in C++ due to technical limitations, and eventually we have some wrapper which can run Python), so we decided to write a proof of concept in C++. If we didn't know what the differences between those platforms and their implementations of sockets (among other things) were, it might have been an obvious choice to use Python and impose a bunch of restrictions on how our code can be used, or we might have taken significantly more time to figure out what it means to write it in C++. But because we do have that knowledge and need to do relatively little research, we could go for C++ directly, and so far it seems to have been the right choice.
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post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW View Post

So, I'm going to be using C++ for much of my 4 year course. I'd like to stay ahead of the game here and learn C++ in my own time to increase that good old knowledge. I have 3 year experience of on and off VB and HTML programming and only a few hours experience in C when I programmed a small robot to move around and so on. So, any good C++ places on the net?

Thank you all!

Based on this original post I don't think you're not going to have a lot of difficulty learning and making it through C++ courses. Personally I learn the best when I have something to accomplish. For instance I wanted something to query user's PCs for a few attributes where I work. So I learned how to do WMI queries with VBScript in the form of an HTA (yea, go vbscript rolleyes.gif ). I don't know what you're goal will be once you get out of school but if there's any possibility of remaining in the Windows world doing anything like sys admin stuff you might want to at least be able to read VBScript and do some kind of WMI queries. The samples happen to be almost entirely in VBScript so that's why I leaned that direction. You mentioned you already had experience with HTML/VB so you're pretty much there already smile.gif You could just easily do WMI scripts from JavaScript or powershell or...that wmi command line utility, wmic i think it's called...

As for a C++ project pick something that interests you and write it from scratch...write a a little game with the allegro library for instance.

I assume what everybody is thinking: Dude, did he just endorse vbscript? Hey, it's not that bad wink.gif
 
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