Monday, April 25, 2005

C++ creator upbeat on its future | CNET

C++ creator upbeat on its future | CNET "Data from analyst firm Evans Data, which carries out regular developer surveys, appears to contradict Stroustrup's claim that C++ is growing. Evans Data has found that the percentage of developers using C++ has steadily declined over the last six years--from 76 percent in the spring 1998 to 46 percent in fall 2004. But it expects the rate of decline in C++ developers to be 'considerably slower' in the next few years. "

See this Alan Kay interview for reasons to avoid C++. Excerpt:
"AK You have to be a different kind of person to love C++. It is a really interesting example of how a well-meant idea went wrong, because [C++ creator] Bjarne Stroustrup was not trying to do what he has been criticized for. His idea was that first, it might be useful if you did to C what Simula did to Algol, which is basically act as a preprocessor for a different kind of architectural template for programming. It was basically for super-good programmers who are supposed to subclass everything, including the storage allocator, before they did anything serious. The result, of course, was that most programmers did not subclass much. So the people I know who like C++ and have done good things in C++ have been serious iron-men who have basically taken it for what it is, which is a kind of macroprocessor. I grew up with macro systems in the early ’60s, and you have to do a lot of work to make them work for you—otherwise, they kill you."


Anonymous said...

As someone pointed out on the forum, the analyst quote is pretty misleading - Stroustrup mentioned 3million C++ users and were clearly talking about the absolute nunber of users growing, while the analyst quoted was talking about percentages of software engineers.

Considering that people are still hiring new COBOL and Fortran programmers (I had the pleasure of interviewing a 23 year old woman who had been sent to COBOL courses by her previous owner a couple of years back - in the end she went with a cushy bank job instead of my then employer), I'm pretty sure C++ will be out there for a long, long time yet.

pbokelly said...

Thanks for the clarification. I tend to side with Alan Kay; I think C++ was, in general, an unfortunate mutation in the evolution of programming languages.