Book Image

Mastering the C++17 STL

By : Arthur O'Dwyer
Book Image

Mastering the C++17 STL

By: Arthur O'Dwyer

Overview of this book

Modern C++ has come a long way since 2011. The latest update, C++17, has just been ratified and several implementations are on the way. This book is your guide to the C++ standard library, including the very latest C++17 features. The book starts by exploring the C++ Standard Template Library in depth. You will learn the key differences between classical polymorphism and generic programming, the foundation of the STL. You will also learn how to use the various algorithms and containers in the STL to suit your programming needs. The next module delves into the tools of modern C++. Here you will learn about algebraic types such as std::optional, vocabulary types such as std::function, smart pointers, and synchronization primitives such as std::atomic and std::mutex. In the final module, you will learn about C++'s support for regular expressions and file I/O. By the end of the book you will be proficient in using the C++17 standard library to implement real programs, and you'll have gained a solid understanding of the library's own internals.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)

Classical Polymorphism and Generic Programming

The C++ standard library has two distinct, yet equally important, missions. One of these missions is to provide rock-solid implementations of certain concrete data types or functions that have tended to be useful in many different programs, yet aren't built into the core language syntax. This is why the standard library contains std::string, std::regex, std::filesystem::exists, and so on. The other mission of the standard library is to provide rock-solid implementations of widely used abstract algorithms such as sorting, searching, reversing, collating, and so on. In this first chapter, we will nail down exactly what we mean when we say that a particular piece of code is "abstract," and describe the two approaches that the standard library uses to provide abstraction: classical polymorphism and generic programming.

We will look at the following topics in this chapter:

  • Concrete (monomorphic) functions, whose behavior is not parameterizable
  • Classical polymorphism by means of base classes, virtual member functions, and inheritance
  • Generic programming by means of concepts, requirements, and models
  • The practical advantages and disadvantages of each approach