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Thinking in C++ Vol 2 - Practical Programming
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Operating on strings

If you ve programmed in C, you are accustomed to the family of functions that write, search, modify, and copy char arrays. There are two unfortunate aspects of the Standard C library functions for handling char arrays. First, there are two loosely organized families of them: the plain group, and the ones that require you to supply a count of the number of characters to be considered in the operation at hand. The roster of functions in the C char array library shocks the unsuspecting user with a long list of cryptic, mostly unpronounceable names. Although the type and number of arguments to the functions are somewhat consistent, to use them properly you must be attentive to details of function naming and parameter passing.

The second inherent trap of the standard C char array tools is that they all rely explicitly on the assumption that the character array includes a null terminator. If by oversight or error the null is omitted or overwritten, there s little to keep the C char array functions from manipulating the memory beyond the limits of the allocated space, sometimes with disastrous results.

C++ provides a vast improvement in the convenience and safety of string objects. For purposes of actual string handling operations, there are about the same number of distinct member function names in the string class as there are functions in the C library, but because of overloading the functionality is much greater. Coupled with sensible naming practices and the judicious use of default arguments, these features combine to make the string class much easier to use than the C library char array functions.

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