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C++ Templates: The Complete Guide Hardcover – Nov 12 2002
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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.
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.
- 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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?
David Vandevoorde and Nicolai Josuttis write a definitive reference to C++ template implementations. This book comprises of four key sections including fundamental template implementations, in-depth template implementations, template designs, and advanced template designs (libraries). The authors are extremely thorough in their explanations of all essential template implementation techniques and provide an unprecedented in-depth analysis on C++ template parameters, arguments, specialization, and overloading. The analysis on these techniques is very valuable. One reason is because in most cases the authors include examples of implementations that do not work and then provide working solutions. For example, they discuss template argument deduction processes especially for template function overloading. There is even a chapter where they analyze C++ compilers and different template instantiation models. In C++ Templates: The Complete Guide, the authors discuss essential C++ template designs and implementation techniques and provide valuable analysis along with some of the more important topics, making this book a definitive reference to C++ template implementations.
In section three and four, Vandevoorde and Josuttis discuss and demonstrate powerful C++ designs utilizing C++ template techniques from previous sections. Topics and examples in these sections incorporate advanced C++ template designs and implementations similar to the foundation of the STL. One example is element binding as in std::pair.
I recommend C++ Templates: The Complete Guide to all real-world C++ programmers.
Most recent customer reviews
The book is extremely well organized and explained.
But there is a but and is not about the book. Is about
who's going to follow it and learn something from it. Read more
This book is a great guide for C++ developers interested in writing generic (C++ templates) code.
It is definitely NOT FOR BEGINNERS. Read more
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2004
A very good reference book on the subject. It made many things more clear to me that I had been uncertain about. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2004 by Boris Burger
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 .. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2003 by Amazon Customer
This is a book that the C++ community has been in need of for several years, and it seems that an ideal team of authors has come together for this: Nicolai Josuttis again... Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2003 by Amazon Customer
I was initially a bit at a loss as to what you can say about this book. Both David and Nicolai are formidable authorities in the C++ language and established writers. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2002 by Maxim
Although by no means I am an expert in templates, the few things I know, I have learned over time mostly by reading other people's code or monitoring the newsgroups. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2002 by Sorin Jianu
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