Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bjarn's visit

The room was packed and yet people were still arriving. They were sitting on the floor in whatever space available between the seats. No one considered leaving. The C++ enthusiasts were adamant to see and hear the father and inventor of the language.

There are always a few who rise to occasion. They brought down the projector from their labs, found a bigger lecture room. Thanks to the help of a few students and T.A.s of University of Toronto, 15 minutes later a 140 people capacity lecture room was filled with eager listeners and the lecture was under way.

Dr. Stroustrup's visit was part of C++0x standard committee meeting. He spoke about the good, bad and ugly of C++ programming language.

With billions lines of code and 300 million C++ developers around the world there is an enormous range of features that can potentially become part of the language standard. How can the standard keep all happy?

There are plenty of suggestions for new features to be implemented in C++0X standard. "We shouldn't just implement new features. We should first ask what kind of problem does this feature solve and how it is going to be useful to the general users," Stroustrup said in his presentation.

Support for a memory model for parallel programming, communication protocols, safe STL, more generic programming and etc. are all being reviewed by the committee. Fans of garbage collection will be disappointed, as chances of this feature making it in this revision is slim.

The committee promises completion by the end of the decade, hence the name, C++0X. Although, there is a possibility of using hex values --that is if they don't make it by 2009. One way or another this is an exciting event for all C++ developers.

As a C++ compiler tester I am equally interested to see how fast we get these features implemented in the products we support.

It is going to be an interesting ride for many of us. So better stay tuned.

The event was made possible by IEEE Toronto Computer Chapter.

Note: Photo is courtsety of Evgeny Polkovnikov, Software Developer, certicom

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