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Thinking in C++ Vol 2 - Practical Programming
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3: Strings in Depth

String processing with character arrays is one of the biggest time wasters in C. Character arrays require the programmer to keep track of the difference between static quoted strings and arrays created on the stack and the heap, and the fact that sometimes you re passing around a char* and sometimes you must copy the whole array.

Especially because string manipulation is so common, character arrays are a great source of misunderstandings and bugs. Despite this, creating string classes remained a common exercise for beginning C++ programmers for many years. The Standard C++ library string class solves the problem of character array manipulation once and for all, keeping track of memory even during assignments and copy-constructions. You simply don t need to think about it.

This chapter[31] examines the Standard C++ string class, beginning with a look at what constitutes a C++ string and how the C++ version differs from a traditional C character array. You ll learn about operations and manipulations using string objects, and you ll see how C++ strings accommodate variation in character sets and string data conversion.

Handling text is one of the oldest programming applications, so it s not surprising that the C++ string draws heavily on the ideas and terminology that have long been used in C and other languages. As you begin to acquaint yourself with C++ strings, this fact should be reassuring. No matter which programming idiom you choose, there are three common things you want to do with a string:

      Create or modify the sequence of characters stored in the string.

      Detect the presence or absence of elements within the string.

      Translate between various schemes for representing string characters.

You ll see how each of these jobs is accomplished using C++ string objects.

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