Exceptional C++: 47 Engineering Puzzles, Programming Problems, and Solutions

Category: Programming
Author: Herb Sutter
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About This Book

Exceptional C++ shows by example how to go about sound software engineering in standard C++. Do you enjoy solving thorny C++ problems and puzzles? Do you relish writing robust and extensible code? Then take a few minutes and challenge yourself with some tough C++ design and programming problems.

The puzzles and problems in Exceptional C++ not only entertain, they will help you hone your skills to become the sharpest C++ programmer you can be. Many of these problems are culled from the famous Guru of the Week feature of the Internet newsgroup comp.lang.c++.moderated, expanded and updated to conform to the official ISO/ANSI C++ Standard.

Each problem is rated according to difficulty and is designed to illustrate subtle programming mistakes or design considerations. After you've had a chance to attempt a solution yourself, the book then dissects the code, illustrates what went wrong, and shows how the problem can be fixed. Covering a broad range of C++ topics, the problems and solutions address critical issues such as:

  • Generic programming and how to write reusable templates
  • Exception safety issues and techniques
  • Robust class design and inheritance
  • Compiler firewalls and the Pimpl Idiom
  • Name lookup, namespaces, and the Interface Principle
  • Memory management issues and techniques
  • Traps, pitfalls, and anti-idioms
  • Optimization

Try your skills against the C++ masters and come away with the insight and experience to create more efficient, effective, robust, and portable C++ code.


by litb   2017-08-20


Introductory, no previous programming experience

Introductory, with previous programming experience

* Not to be confused with C++ Primer Plus (Stephen Prata), with a significantly less favorable review.

Best practices



Reference Style - All Levels

C++11/14 References:

  • The C++ Standard (INCITS/ISO/IEC 14882-2011) This, of course, is the final arbiter of all that is or isn't C++. Be aware, however, that it is intended purely as a reference for experienced users willing to devote considerable time and effort to its understanding. As usual, the first release was quite expensive ($300+ US), but it has now been released in electronic form for $60US.

  • The C++14 standard is available, but seemingly not in an economical form – directly from the ISO it costs 198 Swiss Francs (about $200 US). For most people, the final draft before standardization is more than adequate (and free). Many will prefer an even newer draft, documenting new features that are likely to be included in C++17.

  • Overview of the New C++ (C++11/14) (PDF only) (Scott Meyers) (updated for C++1y/C++14) These are the presentation materials (slides and some lecture notes) of a three-day training course offered by Scott Meyers, who's a highly respected author on C++. Even though the list of items is short, the quality is high.

  • The C++ Core Guidelines (C++11/14/17/…) (edited by Bjarne Stroustrup and Herb Sutter) is an evolving online document consisting of a set of guidelines for using modern C++ well. The guidelines are focused on relatively higher-level issues, such as interfaces, resource management, memory management and concurrency affecting application architecture and library design. The project was announced at CppCon'15 by Bjarne Stroustrup and others and welcomes contributions from the community. Most guidelines are supplemented with a rationale and examples as well as discussions of possible tool support. Many rules are designed specifically to be automatically checkable by static analysis tools.

  • The C++ Super-FAQ (Marshall Cline, Bjarne Stroustrup and others) is an effort by the Standard C++ Foundation to unify the C++ FAQs previously maintained individually by Marshall Cline and Bjarne Stroustrup and also incorporating new contributions. The items mostly address issues at an intermediate level and are often written with a humorous tone. Not all items might be fully up to date with the latest edition of the C++ standard yet.

  • cppreference.com (C++03/11/14/17/…) (initiated by Nate Kohl) is a wiki that summarizes the basic core-language features and has extensive documentation of the C++ standard library. The documentation is very precise but is easier to read than the official standard document and provides better navigation due to its wiki nature. The project documents all versions of the C++ standard and the site allows filtering the display for a specific version. The project was presented by Nate Kohl at CppCon'14.

Classics / Older

Note: Some information contained within these books may not be up-to-date or no longer considered best practice.

by anonymous   2017-08-20

If you're looking for books on refining your craft in C++ as a language, you don't get much better than Scott Meyers' Effective C++ and More Effective C++ and Herb Sutter's Exceptional C++, More Exceptional C++ and Exceptional C++ Style. All are packed with invaluable information on bringing your facility with the language from the intermediate to the advanced level.

System-level programming is specific to operating system, so the books diverge based on your platform. Ones I've found very helpful (albeit not C++ specific) are: Windows System Programming, by Johnson M. Hart, Advanced Windows Debugging, by Mario Hewardt and Daniel Pravat, and Linux System Programming, by Robert Love.

All of these books (as well as Peter Alexander's excellent suggestion of Modern C++ Design) are available on O'Reilly's Safari service, which is a pretty cost-effective way of doing a lot of technical reading on the cheap and well worth checking out if you're considering going on a studying binge.

by anonymous   2017-08-20

If you use std::string, instead of char*, you would not even need to write operator= or copy-constructor. The compiler generated code would do your job very well.

But as a general solution (for some other scenario), use copy-and-swap idiom:

  • Copy-and-Swap Idiom
  • What is the copy-and-swap idiom?

Exceptional C++ by Herb Sutter has described these in great detail. I would recommend you to read items from this book. For the time being, you can read this article online:

  • Exception-Safe Generic Containers