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Thinking in C++
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Introduction to data types

Data types define the way you use storage (memory) in the programs you write. By specifying a data type, you tell the compiler how to create a particular piece of storage, and also how to manipulate that storage.

Data types can be built-in or abstract. A built-in data type is one that the compiler intrinsically understands, one that is wired directly into the compiler. The types of built-in data are almost identical in C and C++. In contrast, a user-defined data type is one that you or another programmer create as a class. These are commonly referred to as abstract data types. The compiler knows how to handle built-in types when it starts up; it “learns” how to handle abstract data types by reading header files containing class declarations (you’ll learn about this in later chapters).

Thinking in C++
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire