What I like About C/C++

The last article mentioned VB .net and its plusses (!) – now it’s time for why I like C/C++:

  • It has longevity. 45 years old and still in use. Will we be saying that about many languages today? So it’s an investment in code (and education) that will last and last and last.
  • It’s ubiquitous. You need code? You can usually find a C version of it – quick. And if you ever read those programming indexes, you’ll know that while the big news is how much Haskell or Erlang or Rust or Swift has grown over the last month, few people talk about the perennial favorite always near the top – guess who?
  • It’s fast. With fast computers, speed isn’t the issue it was twenty years ago, but there’s always a need for faster code somewhere. One of my favorite things is to take a code routine that I need faster, and tweak it. For C it’s a real treat. You feel that you are making a difference. Even ++i versus i++ has a performance penalty associated with it. For “coding to the metal” (when necessary) it’s great.
  • It’s the grandfather/greatuncle to just about every language. Javascript? Python? PHP? Java? Drop down into any of those code bases and it will seem familiar right away (not perfect – but familiar.) Arguably, I’d say that a good foundation in C++ will make most of the popular languages easier to ramp up on.
  • It low level (if you want). Want high level features like collections? Bring in the STL. Need a GUI? Pull in a library like GTK or Cocoa. But you can still tweak a routine or two when needed – a great combination of high/low level performance you won’t find easily elsewhere. In fact, when I need performance in a VB program, I’ll still code the occasional C DLL to handle it.
  • It has portability. When I wanted to program the microcontroller device Arduino, guess what? The tool chain was in C. Easy peasy to do my first programs, and I could even reuse code from elsewhere. The result was a very fast rampup.

This just scratches the surface. I’m glad I have had exposure to a number for programming languages, but I’m grateful I got a training in C early on. And despite all the new languages coming out almost daily, I expect to program in C for quite awhile…

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