Linked by David Adams on Sat 11th Oct 2008 16:48 UTC, submitted by IndigoJo
General Development Eric Raymond is working on an essay, putatively titled "Why C++ Is Not My Favorite Programming Language". In his announcement, he calls it "an overcomplexity generator", "bloated, obfuscated, unwieldy, rigid, and brittle", and alleges that these characteristics appear in C++ applications also. I contend that many of the complaints about C++ are petty or are aimed at specific libraries or poor documentation and that many of the features commonly regarded as unnecessary (and excluded from intended replacements) are, in fact, highly useful. C++: the Ugly Useful Programming Language
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RE[3]: c++
by JonathanBThompson on Mon 13th Oct 2008 06:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: c++"
JonathanBThompson
Member since:
2006-05-26

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The biggest valid complaints I've seen about c++ is that it allows for far too many different dialects to exist, all based on what company you work for or who you work with (of course the dialect I used is the best :-p )


This is an extremely strong disadvantage in the context of what ESR is saying: open source programming. It is true that you can alleviate the over complexity of the language in a strongly controlled environment, with one coding style, the do and don't. But in open source programming, this becomes an almost fatal flaw. Only really big projects can deal with C++ (KDE, mozilla).

Also, C++ does not tend well to code reuse; this is linked to the previous point , since it id difficult to reuse the code using one subset in a project using another one. It is difficult as hell to interface to other languages because of its complicated linking model, templates can't be used either as a library without a lot of boilerplate. It is true that STL-like containers are useful, but it comes at such a high price that I am not so sure anymore a plain C library is not better in most cases.
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See the bolded text: this is true if you have developers that can't wrap their heads around designing things for code reuse, and false for those that can. As to the linking model, it's not so bad if you use C++ static functions and straight C interface wrappers (if needed) because C++ static functions use C style linkage, which is as close to universal as you'll find overall. But, if you don't know how to deal with that, then yes, it becomes a mess. Again, for code reuse, that's very much a function (pardon the pun) of the design method (there's another one!) of the developer and what attributes they use in their designs: if you try to use all the fancy features and make an overly complicated class hierarchy with multiple inheritance where each class in a hierarchy depends on other classes that depend on it (creating cyclic dependencies) then yes, that highly hinders code-reuse. Then again, there's absolutely nothing in straight C that prevents you from screwing things up in the same manner, and for that matter, any language that allows you to use forward declarations is not immune to this (which most do as a practical matter): this is a limit of the developers using the language, and not the language itself. Spaghetti C++ code is just more obvious to see than spaghetti straight C code, but there's more than enough snarled straight C code (as well as Java, Perl, etc.) to show it is hardly a C++ism that's unique to the language.

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