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Thinking in C++ Vol 2 - Practical Programming
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Here is a brief description of the chapters contained in this book:

Part 1: Building Stable Systems

1. Exception handling. Error handling has always been a problem in programming. Even if you dutifully return error information or set a flag, the function caller may simply ignore it. Exception handling is a primary feature in C++ that solves this problem by allowing you to throw an object out of your function when a critical error happens. You throw different types of objects for different errors, and the function caller catches these objects in separate error handling routines. If you throw an exception, it cannot be ignored, so you can guarantee that something will happen in response to your error. The decision to use exceptions affects code design in positive, fundamental ways.

2. Defensive Programming. Many software problems can be prevented. To program defensively is to craft code in such a way that bugs are found and fixed early before they can damage in the field. Using assertions is the single most important way to validate your code during development, while at the same time leaving an executable documentation trail in your code that reveals your thoughts while you wrote the code in the first place. Rigorously test your code before you let out of your hands. An automated unit testing framework is an indispensable tool for successful, everyday software development.

Part 2: The Standard C++ Library

3. Strings in Depth. The most common programming activity is text processing. The C++ string class relieves the programmer from memory management issues, while at the same time delivering a powerhouse of text processing capability. C++ also supports the use of wide characters and locales for internationalized applications.

4. Iostreams. One of the original C++ libraries the one that provides the essential I/O facility is called iostreams. Iostreams is intended to replace C s stdio.h with an I/O library that is easier to use, more flexible, and extensible you can adapt it to work with your new classes. This chapter teaches you how to make the best use of the existing iostream library for standard I/O, file I/O, and in-memory formatting.

5. Templates in Depth. The distinguishing feature of modern C++ is the broad power of templates. Templates do more than just create generic containers. They support development of robust, generic, high-performance libraries. There is a lot to know about templates they constitute, as it were, a sub-language within the C++ language, and give the programmer an impressive degree of control over the compilation process. It is not an overstatement to say that templates have revolutionized C++ programming.

6. Generic Algorithms. Algorithms are at the core of computing, and C++, through its template facility, supports an impressive entourage of powerful, efficient, and easy-to-use generic algorithms. The standard algorithms are also customizable through function objects. This chapter looks at every algorithm in the library. (Chapters 6 and 7 cover that portion of the Standard C++ library commonly known as the Standard Template Library, or STL.)

7. Generic Containers & Iterators. C++ supports all the common data structures in a type-safe manner. You never need to worry about what such a container holds. The homogeneity of its objects is guaranteed. Separating the traversing of a container from the container itself, another accomplishment of templates, is made possible through iterators. This ingenious arrangement allows a flexible application of algorithms to containers using the simplest of designs.

Part 3: Special Topics

8. Runtime type identification. Runtime type identification (RTTI) finds the exact type of an object when you only have a pointer or reference to the base type. Normally, you ll want to intentionally ignore the exact type of an object and let the virtual function mechanism implement the correct behavior for that type. But occasionally (like when writing software tools such as debuggers) it is helpful to know the exact type of an object with this information, you can often perform a special-case operation more efficiently. This chapter explains what RTTI is for and how to use it.

9. Multiple inheritance. This sounds simple at first: A new class is inherited from more than one existing class. However, you can end up with ambiguities and multiple copies of base-class objects. That problem is solved with virtual base classes, but the bigger issue remains: When do you use it? Multiple inheritance is only essential when you need to manipulate an object through more than one common base class. This chapter explains the syntax for multiple inheritance and shows alternative approaches in particular, how templates solve one typical problem. Using multiple inheritance to repair a damaged class interface is demonstrated as a valuable use of this feature.

10. Design Patterns. The most revolutionary advance in programming since objects is the introduction of design patterns. A design pattern is a language-independent codification of a solution to a common programming problem, expressed in such a way that it can apply to many contexts. Patterns such as Singleton, Factory Method, and Visitor now find their way into daily discussions around the keyboard. This chapter shows how to implement and use some of the more useful design patterns in C++.

11. Concurrent Programming. People have come to expect responsive user interfaces that (seem to) process multiple tasks simultaneously. Modern operating systems allow processes to have multiple threads that share the process address space. Multithreaded programming requires a different mindset, however, and comes with its own set of difficulties. This chapter uses a freely available library (the ZThread library by Eric Crahen of IBM) to show how to effectively manage multithreaded applications in C++.

Thinking in C++ Vol 2 - Practical Programming
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire