Inside the C++ Object Model

Author: Stanley B. Lippman
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by anonymous   2017-12-11
Here is a good book to learn more about object model: https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Object-Model-Stanley-Lippman/dp/0201834545
by litb   2017-08-20

Beginner

Introductory, no previous programming experience

  • Programming: Principles and Practice Using C++ (Bjarne Stroustrup) (updated for C++11/C++14) An introduction to programming using C++ by the creator of the language. A good read, that assumes no previous programming experience, but is not only for beginners.

Introductory, with previous programming experience

  • C++ Primer * (Stanley Lippman, Josée Lajoie, and Barbara E. Moo) (updated for C++11) Coming at 1k pages, this is a very thorough introduction into C++ that covers just about everything in the language in a very accessible format and in great detail. The fifth edition (released August 16, 2012) covers C++11. [Review]

  • A Tour of C++ (Bjarne Stroustrup) (EBOOK) The “tour” is a quick (about 180 pages and 14 chapters) tutorial overview of all of standard C++ (language and standard library, and using C++11) at a moderately high level for people who already know C++ or at least are experienced programmers. This book is an extended version of the material that constitutes Chapters 2-5 of The C++ Programming Language, 4th edition.

  • Accelerated C++ (Andrew Koenig and Barbara Moo) This basically covers the same ground as the C++ Primer, but does so on a fourth of its space. This is largely because it does not attempt to be an introduction to programming, but an introduction to C++ for people who've previously programmed in some other language. It has a steeper learning curve, but, for those who can cope with this, it is a very compact introduction into the language. (Historically, it broke new ground by being the first beginner's book to use a modern approach at teaching the language.) [Review]

  • Thinking in C++ (Bruce Eckel) Two volumes; is a tutorial style free set of intro level books. Downloads: vol 1, vol 2. Unfortunately they’re marred by a number of trivial errors (e.g. maintaining that temporaries are automatically const), with no official errata list. A partial 3rd party errata list is available at (http://www.computersciencelab.com/Eckel.htm), but it’s apparently not maintained.

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

Best practices

  • Effective C++ (Scott Meyers) This was written with the aim of being the best second book C++ programmers should read, and it succeeded. Earlier editions were aimed at programmers coming from C, the third edition changes this and targets programmers coming from languages like Java. It presents ~50 easy-to-remember rules of thumb along with their rationale in a very accessible (and enjoyable) style. For C++11 and C++14 the examples and a few issues are outdated and Effective Modern C++ should be preferred. [Review]

  • Effective Modern C++ (Scott Meyers) This is basically the new version of Effective C++, aimed at C++ programmers making the transition from C++03 to C++11 and C++14.

  • Effective STL (Scott Meyers) This aims to do the same to the part of the standard library coming from the STL what Effective C++ did to the language as a whole: It presents rules of thumb along with their rationale. [Review]

Intermediate

  • More Effective C++ (Scott Meyers) Even more rules of thumb than Effective C++. Not as important as the ones in the first book, but still good to know.

  • Exceptional C++ (Herb Sutter) Presented as a set of puzzles, this has one of the best and thorough discussions of the proper resource management and exception safety in C++ through Resource Acquisition is Initialization (RAII) in addition to in-depth coverage of a variety of other topics including the pimpl idiom, name lookup, good class design, and the C++ memory model. [Review]

  • More Exceptional C++ (Herb Sutter) Covers additional exception safety topics not covered in Exceptional C++, in addition to discussion of effective object oriented programming in C++ and correct use of the STL. [Review]

  • Exceptional C++ Style (Herb Sutter) Discusses generic programming, optimization, and resource management; this book also has an excellent exposition of how to write modular code in C++ by using nonmember functions and the single responsibility principle. [Review]

  • C++ Coding Standards (Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu) “Coding standards” here doesn't mean “how many spaces should I indent my code?” This book contains 101 best practices, idioms, and common pitfalls that can help you to write correct, understandable, and efficient C++ code. [Review]

  • C++ Templates: The Complete Guide (David Vandevoorde and Nicolai M. Josuttis) This is the book about templates as they existed before C++11. It covers everything from the very basics to some of the most advanced template metaprogramming and explains every detail of how templates work (both conceptually and at how they are implemented) and discusses many common pitfalls. Has excellent summaries of the One Definition Rule (ODR) and overload resolution in the appendices. A second edition is scheduled for 2017. [Review]


Advanced

  • Modern C++ Design (Andrei Alexandrescu) A groundbreaking book on advanced generic programming techniques. Introduces policy-based design, type lists, and fundamental generic programming idioms then explains how many useful design patterns (including small object allocators, functors, factories, visitors, and multimethods) can be implemented efficiently, modularly, and cleanly using generic programming. [Review]

  • C++ Template Metaprogramming (David Abrahams and Aleksey Gurtovoy)

  • C++ Concurrency In Action (Anthony Williams) A book covering C++11 concurrency support including the thread library, the atomics library, the C++ memory model, locks and mutexes, as well as issues of designing and debugging multithreaded applications.

  • Advanced C++ Metaprogramming (Davide Di Gennaro) A pre-C++11 manual of TMP techniques, focused more on practice than theory. There are a ton of snippets in this book, some of which are made obsolete by typetraits, but the techniques, are nonetheless useful to know. If you can put up with the quirky formatting/editing, it is easier to read than Alexandrescu, and arguably, more rewarding. For more experienced developers, there is a good chance that you may pick up something about a dark corner of C++ (a quirk) that usually only comes about through extensive experience.


Reference Style - All Levels

  • The C++ Programming Language (Bjarne Stroustrup) (updated for C++11) The classic introduction to C++ by its creator. Written to parallel the classic K&R, this indeed reads very much alike it and covers just about everything from the core language to the standard library, to programming paradigms to the language's philosophy. [Review]

  • C++ Standard Library Tutorial and Reference (Nicolai Josuttis) (updated for C++11) The introduction and reference for the C++ Standard Library. The second edition (released on April 9, 2012) covers C++11. [Review]

  • The C++ IO Streams and Locales (Angelika Langer and Klaus Kreft) There's very little to say about this book except that, if you want to know anything about streams and locales, then this is the one place to find definitive answers. [Review]

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.

  • The Design and Evolution of C++ (Bjarne Stroustrup) If you want to know why the language is the way it is, this book is where you find answers. This covers everything before the standardization of C++.

  • Ruminations on C++ - (Andrew Koenig and Barbara Moo) [Review]

  • Advanced C++ Programming Styles and Idioms (James Coplien) A predecessor of the pattern movement, it describes many C++-specific “idioms”. It's certainly a very good book and might still be worth a read if you can spare the time, but quite old and not up-to-date with current C++.

  • Large Scale C++ Software Design (John Lakos) Lakos explains techniques to manage very big C++ software projects. Certainly a good read, if it only was up to date. It was written long before C++98, and misses on many features (e.g. namespaces) important for large scale projects. If you need to work in a big C++ software project, you might want to read it, although you need to take more than a grain of salt with it. The first volume of a new edition is expected in 2015.

  • Inside the C++ Object Model (Stanley Lippman) If you want to know how virtual member functions are commonly implemented and how base objects are commonly laid out in memory in a multi-inheritance scenario, and how all this affects performance, this is where you will find thorough discussions of such topics.

  • The Annotated C++ Reference Manual (Bjarne Stroustrup, Margaret A. Ellis) This book is quite outdated in the fact that it explores the 1989 C++ 2.0 version - Templates, exceptions, namespaces and new casts were not yet introduced. Saying that however, this book goes through the entire C++ standard of the time explaining the rationale, the possible implementations and features of the language. This is not a book to learn programming principles and patterns on C++, but to understand every aspect of the C++ language.

by anonymous   2017-08-20

Considering a quite popular post here on SO , there are lot of solutions to your problem, probably the best one is this book.

I would like to also recommend another path: pick 1 between Obj-C and Java if you can deviate a little from the original focus.

The reason why I'm suggesting this is the long time existence of Java, combined with its big popularity in both production and education, and the fact that Obj-C is somehow an object oriented language that "exposed" itself in the way this mechanisms works, there are a lot of pointers and really simple but powerful concepts that can help you understand this.

It's also possible to use Obj-C on platforms that are not MAC OS driven but you should use clang, not gcc, gcc is a little bit behind on objc support, at least this is what I experienced.

There is also the usual list of free resources with a lot of goodies that always helps .

by anonymous   2017-08-20

Apart from the accessibility of members outside or to the derived classes, access specifiers might affect the object layout.

Quoting from my other answer:

Usually, memory address for data members increases in the order they're defined in the class . But this order may be disrupted at any place where the access-specifiers (private, protected, public) are encountered. This has been discussed in great detail in Inside the C++ Object Model by Lippman.

An excerpt from C/C++ Users Journal,

The compiler isn't allowed to do this rearrangement itself, though. The standard requires that all data that's in the same public:, protected:, or private: must be laid out in that order by the compiler. If you intersperse your data with access specifiers, though, the compiler is allowed to rearrange the access-specifier-delimited blocks of data to improve the layout, which is why some people like putting an access specifier in front of every data member.

Interesting, isn't it?

by Mike B   2017-08-20

Chris Jester-Young gives the basic answer to this question.

Wikipedia has a more in depth treatment.

If you want to know the full details for how this type of thing works (and for all type of inheritance, including multiple and virtual inheritance), one of the best resources is Stan Lippman's "Inside the C++ Object Model".

by anonymous   2017-08-20

When we declare object of a class is its memory allocation successive(One after the other)?

The Standard doesn't give any such guarantee. Object memory layout is implementation-defined.

Usually, memory address for data members increases in the order they're defined in the class . But this order may be disrupted at any place where the access-specifiers (private, protected, public) are encountered. This has been discussed in great detail in Inside the C++ Object Model by Lippman.

An excerpt from C/C++ Users Journal,

The compiler isn't allowed to do this rearrangement itself, though. The standard requires that all data that's in the same public:, protected:, or private: must be laid out in that order by the compiler. If you intersperse your data with access specifiers, though, the compiler is allowed to rearrange the access-specifier-delimited blocks of data to improve the layout, which is why some people like putting an access specifier in front of every data member.

Interesting, isn't it?

by anonymous   2017-08-20

When you create an object of the derived class, a base class sub-object is embedded in the memory layout of the derived class object. So, to your question, there's only on variable that will be a part of the derived object. Since, we are only taking about non-static members here, each derived object gets its base-class sub-object laid out in memory. When you create a base class object, its a different piece of memory representing different object and has nothing to do with derived object created earlier.

Hope it clarifies your doubt!

This is a great book to understand C++ object model:

http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Object-Model-Stanley-Lippman/dp/0201834545/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412535828&sr=8-1&keywords=inside+c%2B%2B+object+model

by anonymous   2017-08-20

The C++ standard does not prescribe how the virtual function mechanism should be implemented. In practice all C++ implementations use a virtual function table per class, and a virtual function table pointer in each object of class with virtual functions (called a polymorphic class). Yet the details can differ, in particular for multiple inheritance and virtual inheritance.

You can read about the common choices in Stanley Lippman's classic book Inside The C++ Object Model.

It doesn't make much sense to ask “where” a virtual function table is stored. It's much like any static variable: its location depends on the implementation and is pretty much arbitrary. And regarding

Why not near with the classes?

… classes as such are not stored anywhere, they are not objects, so this doesn't make sense, sorry.

You can ask more meaningfully where is the vtable pointer stored in each object, for a given implementation?

And usually that's at the start of the object, but if you derive from a non-polymorphic class, and add a virtual function, then you might get the vtable pointer somewhere else. Or not. The latter possibility is much of the reason why a static_cast of Derived* to Base* (or vice versa) can do an address adjustment, i.e. is different from a simple reinterpret_cast.