Aimed at advanced C++ developers who want to hone their programming chops even further, Herb Sutter's More Exceptional C++
borrows the format of his earlier title, Exceptional C++
, and delivers some of today's best available thinking on the language in a handy and effective format. A compilation of the author's own experience and research on the thornier aspects of C++, this book will serve as a worthy resource for making sure you get the most out of this powerful language.
The concise text covers a range of challenging topics in C++ without attempting to be comprehensive. Each "item" is presented as a question for you to try and solve by yourself before the author presents his solution, plus additional detail as needed. For most topics, Sutter ends by giving his advice on the best practices (and gotcha's to avoid).
Early sections concentrate on using Standard Template Library (STL) container classes, such as removing items effectively, and the subtle differences between container types. Standout sections on designing custom templates (using specialisation techniques) and designing exception-safe classes will help you do more with your own classes. One entertaining problem here shows a number-guessing game (Mastermind) built as efficiently as possible using STL code (including expert-level use of generic functions to do much of the work).
Several problems on copy-on-write (COW) semantics for more efficient classes point out the issues surrounding code optimisation. (The author argues against a simplistic approach to optimising code, including an over-reliance on inlining functions. Several times, he points out the difficulty of getting COW code to work in multi-threaded projects.)
There has been a debate in the C++ community for years on whether it's possible to design truly "exception-safe" classes. Sutter points out the difficulty with a precise analysis of the issues surrounding exceptions and C++ constructors. Material on the finer points of inheriting classes (including when to avoid and when to use multiple inheritance in C++) will extend your class design options. A good section here is the author's explication of how to simulate COM/Java style interfaces in C++, which isn't immediately obvious, even to experienced C++ developers.
Later sections delve into code-maintenance issues, including advice for using macros, typedefs and namespaces. (Advice on migrating existing C++ code into namespaces will help you combine legacy code with other libraries.) A final appendix shows off some benchmarks for optimising strings using a variety of techniques.
Intelligent, provocative and demanding, More Exceptional C++ shows off why C++ continues to be a rich, complex and challenging language. Armed with titles such as this one, experienced C++ programmers can write better code and avoid pitfalls buried in the outer edges of their favourite language. --Richard Dragan
From the Back Cover
Organized in a practical problem-and-solution format, More Exceptional C++ picks up where the widely acclaimed Exceptional C++ leaves off, providing successful strategies for solving real-world problems in C++. Drawing from years of in-the-trenches experience, Herb Sutter provides tested techniques and practical solutions for programmers designing modern software systems with C++, from small projects to enterprise applications.
Built around forty programming puzzles, More Exceptional C++ helps you understand the rules and issues critical to successful software design and development in C++. New themes included in this sequel place a strong emphasis on generic programming, memory management, and using the C++ standard library, including coverage of important techniques like traits and predicates. Also included are guidelines and considerations to remember when using standard containers and algorithms--topics rarely covered in-depth in other sources.
Readers will find solutions to such important questions as:
- What pitfalls might you encounter when using std::map and std::set, and how can you safely avoid them?
- What kinds of predicates are safe to use with the STL, what kinds aren't, and why?
- What techniques are available for writing powerful generic template code that can change its own behavior based on the capabilities of the types it's given to work with?
- When and how should you optimize your code? Why can (and do) fancy optimizations get us into trouble? And how can some of these answers change if you're writing multithread-safe code?
- Does exception safety affect class design, or can it be retrofitted in as an afterthought?
- How can you avoid the Siamese Twin problem when combining inheritance-based libraries from different vendors?
- How can you safely use auto_ptr, and then use common design patterns to adapt it to avoid common pitfalls? Can you use auto_ptr as a class member? What must you know before you elect to use it that way?
- Plus one of the most frequently recurring questions about modern C++: When and how should you use namespaces, anyway?
A must-have for the serious programmer, More Exceptional C++ provides a thorough and pragmatic understanding of the language while showing you how to write exceptional code in C++.