Re: Why is C++ so popular

BGB <>
Sat, 29 Sep 2012 12:58:45 -0500
On 9/29/2012 5:44 AM, Brian wrote:

BGB <> wrote:

On 9/28/2012 7:07 AM, Nick Keighley wrote:

On Sep 28, 4:56 am, Brian <> wrote:

BGB <> wrote:

On 9/27/2012 3:44 AM, Brian wrote:

I have not found an answer to the question why C++ is the most preferred
language. I thought it would be a good question to ask in this newsgroup
that has programmers that have been using C++ for a while.
I did read that its popular because it can be transferred to other
platforms but not everyone has more than one platform.

because it sucks less than the other options?...

many people tend to thing of things in terms of being "better" or "more
preferable" (like there is some significant "good" that pulls people to a
particular solution), but I suspect this may be backwards.

I suspect, instead, people tend to avoid serious drawbacks, and the
option the with least serious drawbacks wins by default.

historically, both C and C++ have been in a fairly good spot here.
this may be partly due to being reasonably free of crippling design flaws
(or, at least real design flaws, as opposed to people complaining that it
doesn't really follow idiom-X or fad-Y or prevents bad-practice-Z).

whereas, many other languages have had maybe a few nifty features, but
often at the cost of being seriously crippled or broken in some other
area (often denied, downplayed, or claimed to actually be a feature, by
people who endorse the language...).

usually, this is not about idioms, but rather, things which impede using
the language in one way or another (such as awkward or unreadable syntax,
broken semantics, ...), or limit its effectiveness at performing an
operation (such as arbitrary limitations, poor performance, tendency to
misbehave or be overly difficult to debug, ...).

so, most people largely end up using what works...

though, this is not to say it is perfect either, for that matter...

Delphi use to be popular because it had a good structure when writing code.
I have programmed in Visual Basic but after a while the structure starts to
look untidy with too many programming words and so the program flow can be
difficult to see. So I'm looking at other programming languages and notice
that many seem to follow C with the curly brackets etc.
If I were to ask software companies what language the program they are
selling in written in then I have a feeling the answer would be either C or

yes but that's just a feeling. Complex products are often programmed
in a variety of languages. Languages like Python and Ruby are quick to
develop in but sometimes run rather sluggishly. C++ can be used in the
important bits to make everything go faster. Java is pretty popular as
is C#. Though you might see them as having a C-like syntax.


multi-language projects are common, and people don't usually like being
tied to a particular target OS.

my own project is composed presently mostly of C (first-place), C++ (2nd
place), and BGBScript (3rd place), with the latter being a custom
language loosely based on JavaScript and ActionScript 3.0 (and mostly
follows ECMA-262, but currently it differs mostly on minor things).

(yes, the BGBScript VM is itself roughly 700,000 lines of mostly C... the
languages' main feature though is mostly that it has a "better than
usual" C FFI, I partly took the C++ ' extern "C" ' mechanism more as a
model for how an FFI should behave, although the actual mechanisms are a bit different).

but, yes, JavaScript and ActionScript can also be seen as having a C-like syntax.

I suspect this syntax style is fairly mainstream at this point.

and the syntax is basically less constraining than a line-oriented
syntax. the ever popular ';' mostly serving to indicate the end of a
statement, though languages like JS and friends make it optional, being
able to interpret either ';' or a linebreak as the end of a statement,
but ';' is usually still used as a matter of convention.

There are many programming languages to chose from but for some reason
people seem to chose C++ maybe its the language that's taught in schools.

at least for myself, I learned C and C++ on my own.

I actually learned QBasic originally (on my own), but then learned
assembler, and originally moved into C land by working backwards from the
ASM output to figure out better how the source language worked.

the move was mostly because I ran into a "glass ceiling" with QBasic, and
so went on to a language which could "actually do stuff".

I went to colleges (many years later), but they were mostly using VB and
C# and similar. (can't say I "learned" much from college classes,
although I was originally exposed to JS via such a class, which was
mostly a class for HTML using it for interactive web-forms, so it wasn't
all bad...). (but, yes, all of this was many years ago now...).

or such...

With your class experience with C# did you find that it was a cut down
version of C++ or would you describe it in a different way?

in all, the language itself wasn't all that bad.

it was sort of like C++, but mostly lacking a few things like
multiple-inheritance and similar (not a big deal personally).

it is at least much more preferable than Java, where the core language
is pretty stripped-down and awkward, and most things that had been done
to expand on it have been via nasty kludges (with Sun/Oracle leaving the
internals hanging out).

main issues with C# were:
its ability to interface with C and C++ code was a little weak (but at
least, nowhere near as bad as Java);
it is built on top of .NET, which being a MS product, is only
well-supported (on Linux, there is Mono, but it isn't nearly as good or
well-integrated with the OS, 1).

also, .NET typically gets worse performance than native code on
benchmarks (including some other JITs, there are benchmarks where it is
being outperformed by the likes of Lua, Python, and Perl).

at least as-of a few years ago, it didn't have eval or ability to load
program-code from source-code form, ... however, since then both MS and
Mono have added (different) mechanisms to deal with this (in MS's case,
this is the Roslyn API).

1: on Windows, a person can just compile some code as C++/CLI, and have
fairly direct access both to C# land and to C and C++ land, and also
APIs exposed via C++/CLI code can be directly seen by C#.

similarly, LoadLibrary and similar can do a lot more magic (no real need
to worry about native-vs-managed libraries, ...).

on Mono, C++/CLI code doesn't work, leaving the only major (portable)
cross-language interface as P/Invoke (requires writing any structs or
function-prototypes in C#, and doesn't deal with the entire C type-system).

going the other way, requires linking against the Mono libraries, and
making use of a lot of Mono-specific API calls.

this wouldn't be as bad, except that Mono is a pain to get built on
Windows, and this would mean having to go through the hassle of having
two different sets of C# <-> C interfaces (one for MS's .NET, and
another for Mono).

I wouldn't mind things as much otherwise, and have written a few small
apps before using C#, but for my main projects, it is a problem, as I
basically have a large amount of code mostly written in C.

so, it was easier for me just to continue using/expanding my own
scripting language / VM (where the main advantage is mostly that I
control it, and can build it for whatever target I need it on, partly as
I don't really trust 3rd party dependencies).

the language isn't meant to "replace" C or C++ though, but rather to
address some use-cases which are weak areas for them, such as loading
scripts from source, ... (FWIW: dynamically compiling C code does not
make a very good scripting language... I have actually tried this...).

the main reason my script language ended up with a lot of ActionScript3
syntax was partly itself due to C#:
my script language was originally based on JavaScript;
C# had some features that I wanted, but the syntax wouldn't fit as well
on JS;
AS3 had a lot of similar features, but was also JS-based and had better
meshing syntax designs.

so, I ripped off a lot more of AS3's syntax (though the actual semantics
and feature-set are more varied).

(actually, the language reintroduces a lot of stuff from C as well, and
also has some C++ influenced features as well, ...).

for example, does it really matter the exact syntax used for, for
example, get/set properties, or overloaded operators, or more just that
the language has get/set properties and overloaded operators?...

public int foo { get { return foo_i; } set { foo_i=value; } };
public function get foo():int { foo_i }
public function set foo(value:int) { foo_i=value; }

public function operator+(x:Foo, y:Foo):Foo { x.add(y) }

both the JVM and .NET have had some influences on the VM architecture as
well though. (not feeling like going too much into specifics at the
moment though, and doubt that it is all that relevant...).

not that I expect anyone else would want to use it, this is just how
things go.

or such...

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