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C++ Templates: The Complete Guide [Hardcover]

David Vandevoorde , Nicolai M. Josuttis
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 12 2002 0201734842 978-0201734843 1
The first book to provide complete and accurate information on using templates in C++. A complete reference as well as a tutorial. Includes real-world examples. Every working C++ programmer will need a copy of this book for his or her library.

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

The idea of templates in C++ is more than ten years old. C++ templates were already documented in 1990 in the Annotated C++ Reference Manual or so-called "ARM" (see EllisStroustrupARM) and they had been described before that in more specialized publications. However, well over a decade later we found a dearth of literature that concentrates on the fundamental concepts and advanced techniques of this fascinating, complex, and powerful C++ feature. We wanted to address this issue and decided to write the book about templates (with perhaps a slight lack of humility).

However, we approached the task with different backgrounds and with different intentions. David, an experienced compiler implementer and member of the C++ Standard Committee Core Language Working Group, was interested in an exact and detailed description of all the power (and problems) of templates. Nico, an "ordinary" application programmer and member of the C++ Standard Committee Library Working Group, was interested in understanding all the techniques of templates in a way that he could use and benefit from them. In addition, we both wanted to share this knowledge with you, the reader, and the whole community to help to avoid further misunderstanding, confusion, or apprehension.

As a consequence, you will see both conceptual introductions with day-to-day examples and detailed descriptions of the exact behavior of templates. Starting from the basic principles of templates and working up to the "art of template programming," you will discover (or rediscover) techniques such as static polymorphism, policy classes, metaprogramming, and expression templates. You will also gain a deeper understanding of the C++ standard library, in which almost all code involves templates.

We learned a lot and we had much fun while writing this book. We hope you will have the same experience while reading it. Enjoy!

Acknowledgments

This book presents ideas, concepts, solutions, and examples from many sources. In a way it does not seem fair that our names are the only ones on the cover. We'd like to thank all the people and companies who helped and supported us during the past few years. First, we'd like to thank all the reviewers and everyone else who gave us their opinion on early manuscripts. These people endow the book with a quality it would never have had without their input. The reviewers for this book were Kyle Blaney, Thomas Gschwind, Dennis Mancl, Patrick McKillen, and Jan Christiaan van Winkel. Special thanks to Dietmar Kuhl who meticulously reviewed and edited the whole book. His feedback was an incredible contribution to the quality of this book. We'd also like to thank all the people and companies who gave us the opportunity to test our examples on different platforms with different compilers. Many thanks to the Edison Design Groupfor their great compiler and their support. It was a big help during the standardization process and the writing of this book. Many thanks also go to all the developers of the free GNU and egcs compilers (Jason Merrill was especially responsive), and to Microsoft for an evaluation version of Visual C++ (Jonathan Caves, Herb Sutter and Jason Shirk were our contacts there).

Much of the existing "C++ Wisdom" was collectively created by the online C++ community. Most of that comes from the moderated Usenet groups comp.lang.c++.moderated and comp.std.c++. We are therefore especially indebted to the active moderators of those groups, who keep the discussions useful and constructive. We also much appreciate all those who over the years have taken the time to describe and explain their ideas for us all to share.The Addison Wesley team did another great job. We are most indebted to Debbie Lafferty (our editor) for her gentle prodding, good advice, and relentless hard work in support of this book. We're grateful also to Marina Lang who first sponsored this book within Addison Wesley. Susan Winer contributed an early round of editing that helped shape our later work.

Nico's Acknowledgments

My first personal thanks goes with a lot kisses to my family: Ulli, Lucas, Anica, and Frederic did support this book with a lot patience, consideration, and spur. In addition, I want to thank David. His expertise turned out to be incredible. But, his patience was even better (sometimes I ask really silly questions). It is a lot of fun to work with him.

David's Acknowledgments

My wife Karina has been instrumental in this book coming to a conclusion and I am immensely grateful for the role that she plays in my life. Writing "in your spare time" quickly becomes erratic when many other activities vie for your schedule. Karina helped me to manage that schedule, taught me to say "No" in order to make the time needed to make regular progress in the writing process,and above all was amazingly supportive of this project. I thank God every day for her friendship and love.

I'm also tremendously grateful to have been able to work with Nico. Besides his directly visible contributions to the text, his experience and discipline moved us from my pitiful doodling to a well organized production.John "Mr. Template" Spicer and Steve "Mr. Overload" Adamczyk are wonderful friends and colleagues, but in my opinion they are (together) also the ultimate authority regarding the core C++ language. They clarified many of the trickier issues described in this book, and should you find an error in the description of a C++ language element, it is almost certainly attributable to my failing toconsult with them.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation to those who were supportive of this project without necessarily contributing to it directly (the power of cheer cannot be understated). First are my parents: Their love for me and their encouragements make all the difference. And then, there are the numerous friends constantly asking "How is the book going?"; they too were a source of encouragement: Michael Beckmann, Brett and Julie Beene, Jarran Carr, Simon Chang, Ho and Sarah Cho, Christophe De Dinechin, Peter and Ewa Deelman, Neil and Tammy Eberle, Sassan Hazeghi, Vikram Kumar, Jim and Lindsay Long, Franklin Luk, Richard and Marianna Morgan, Ragu Raghavendra, Jim and Phuong Sharp, Gregg Vaughn, and John Wiegley.



0201734842P10072002

From the Back Cover

Templates are among the most powerful features of C++, but they are too often neglected, misunderstood, and misused. C++ Templates: The Complete Guide provides software architects and engineers with a clear understanding of why, when, and how to use templates to build and maintain cleaner, faster, and smarter software more efficiently.

C++ Templates begins with an insightful tutorial on basic concepts and language features. The remainder of the book serves as a comprehensive reference, focusing first on language details, then on a wide range of coding techniques, and finally on advanced applications for templates. Examples used throughout the book illustrate abstract concepts and demonstrate best practices.

Readers learn

  • The exact behaviors of templates
  • How to avoid the pitfalls associated with templates
  • Idioms and techniques, from the basic to the previously undocumented
  • How to reuse source code without threatening performance or safety
  • How to increase the efficiency of C++ programs
  • How to produce more flexible and maintainable software

This practical guide shows programmers how to exploit the full power of the template features in C++.

The companion Web site at http://www.josuttis.com/tmplbook/ contains sample code and additional updates.



0201734842B09172002

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what the doctor recommended March 1 2003
Format:Hardcover
A good and long-overdue addition to any C++ programmer's library. The book is the most up-to-date treatment of the C++ templates (warning: it's only about templates, there's absolutely nothing about C++ in general in there), all the esoterica that you've picked in pieces from the C++ User's Magazine, on-line, and in a dispersed form in the latest Stroustrup (though presented more extensively--it's more than you'll find, even in bits, in BS's TCPP.)
All those nagging questions you had about all kinds of partial specialization, metaprogramming, "typename" controversies, ".template" and "->template", etc., all covered clearly, with good examples of implementation and use. One chapter goes over the future directions and rationale behind some of the creepiest features, so you'll be in a very good shape after having worked through this very well-written book. Btw, it's not as big as it looks, they simply printed it in big fonts on thick paper. So that it looks deserving a hardback edition (with all the price-related ramifications, I guess <G>.) Otoh, it's easy on the eyes.
I've found it very helpful, it's probably been the best C++ book I've read in about two years--and I buy and read nearly all this stuff as soon as it's out, so while it is the best, it is not the only book I've read during this time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Before this book, most C++ textbook were at most devoting one chapter on templates which clearly is not enough to cover a topic as complex as the C++ templates. The C++ Templates book is filling this void nicely and one of the coauthor of the book is the author of my favorite STL book 'The C++ Standard Library'. The book has 4 parts: The basics, templates in depth, templates and design and finally advanced applications. Personnally, I found the 2 last parts good but less interesting because I think that other books such as Modern C++ Design do a better job to cover templates applications. Where this book really shines is the first part that covers the C++ templates syntax very well. With a capricious syntax like the templates one, a good reference is essential. One example that come to my mind is when I was trying to declare a friend template function from a class template. That sounds like a simple thing to do but it is not. The syntax rules for this declaration are, to my opinion, far to be intuitive and hard to find in regular textbooks. With the help of this book I have finally been able to fix my friend template function declaration and make my compiler happy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide for template writers June 22 2004
Format:Hardcover
This book is a great guide for C++ developers interested in writing generic (C++ templates) code.
It is definitely NOT FOR BEGINNERS. Readers should already have some experience in C++ development. An experience using template libraries such as STL, ATL, WTL, collectioin classes in MFC or other will be very helpful.
The book contains a concize guide on C++ template basics in the first part with a detailed reference guide in the following parts.
I have found on the authors' website that the book is also available in Russian and Polish languages.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Book is good but Feb. 15 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is great & gives you the insight of "C++ templates" but for beginners even advanced C++ programmer who want to start templates please DO NOT buy this book at first sight...go for STL Programming by Herbert Schildt. This book assumes you already KNOW templates VERY WELL.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy reference Jan. 3 2004
Format:Hardcover
A very good reference book on the subject. It made many things more clear to me that I had been uncertain about.
The only weakness lies in Part IV: Advanced Applications, chapter Smart Pointers, and chapter on Function Objects abd Callbacks, which do not exploit their subject to the full extent. I recommend the book Andrei Alexandrescu: Modern C++ Design for more discussion on these.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on templetes Oct. 9 2003
Format:Hardcover
Actually, the ONLY book on this topic, that covers the topic well actually... This book will be the bible in the topic, and it should .. Very well written packed with examples and how to's, etc... Great learning experience. For c++ people, you should read this book, and go right to Modern C++ Design. A very good combo. One of the best things about the book is that it had a section dedicated on some of the futures changes to this topic as templates are still fairly developing. You know what to expect if you are an architect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE book on C++ templates Aug. 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
This book joins the (short) list of standard C++ references like Stroustrup's "C++ Programming Language", Josuttis' STL book, and Meyers' "Effective C++". Very well designed, it allows you to go through the important issues quickly in one chapter and also provides an in-depth chapter for the lawyers. All this is followed by chapters devoted to detailed discussion of what are rapidly becoming the standard tools of template programming: traits, policy classes, and metaprogramming. The last part "Advanced Applications" describes several template elements/utilities: tuples, functors, smart pointers. I would also recommend Alexandrescu's "Modern C++ Design" which goes into programming with template policy classes in great detail.
The only gripe I have against this book is a very very minor one: the authors for some inexplicable reason decided to write "T const* p" instead of "const T* p" in function prototypes. Both are correct and both mean the same thing but nobody uses the first convention whose major fault is that it's too close to "T *const p" - a different thing entirely. Plus the second convention is such an ingrained idiom that fighting it is pure nonsense which makes the book initially hard to read. Example: what does "char const* const& a" mean? (p. 17) On top of that the reader cannot simply substitute one convention for the other, as the 25,000 C++ books already in print are still going to *be* there plus the x billion lines of legacy C++ code is not leaving any decade soon! So one has to keep *both* conventions in mind in order to read the text. It's really not much of a big deal but I wonder: what were they thinking?
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