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Effective C++: 55 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs (3rd Edition) [Paperback]

Scott Meyers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 12 2005 0321334876 978-0321334879 3

“Every C++ professional needs a copy of Effective C++. It is an absolute must-read for anyone thinking of doing serious C++ development. If you’ve never read Effective C++ and you think you know everything about C++, think again.”
Steve Schirripa, Software Engineer, Google
“C++ and the C++ community have grown up in the last fifteen years, and the third edition of Effective C++ reflects this. The clear and precise style of the book is evidence of Scott’s deep insight and distinctive ability to impart knowledge.”
Gerhard Kreuzer, Research and Development Engineer, Siemens AG

The first two editions of Effective C++ were embraced by hundreds of thousands of programmers worldwide. The reason is clear: Scott Meyers’ practical approach to C++ describes the rules of thumb used by the experts — the things they almost always do or almost always avoid doing — to produce clear, correct, efficient code.

The book is organized around 55 specific guidelines, each of which describes a way to write better C++. Each is backed by concrete examples. For this third edition, more than half the content is new, including added chapters on managing resources and using templates. Topics from the second edition have been extensively revised to reflect modern design considerations, including exceptions, design patterns, and multithreading.

Important features of Effective C++ include:

  • Expert guidance on the design of effective classes, functions, templates, and inheritance hierarchies.
  • Applications of new “TR1” standard library functionality, along with comparisons to existing standard library components.
  • Insights into differences between C++ and other languages (e.g., Java, C#, C) that help developers from those languages assimilate “the C++ way” of doing things.



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Effective C++: 55 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs (3rd Edition) + More Effective C++: 35 New Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs + Effective STL: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of the Standard Template Library
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From the Inside Flap

I wrote the original edition of Effective C++ in 1991. When the time came for a second edition in 1997, I updated the material in important ways, but, because I didn’t want to confuse readers familiar with the first edition, I did my best to retain the existing structure: 48 of the original 50 Item titles remained essentially unchanged. If the book were a house, the second edition was the equivalent of freshening things up by replacing carpets, paint, and light fixtures.

For the third edition, I tore the place down to the studs. (There were times I wished I’d gone all the way to the foundation.) The world of C++ has undergone enormous change since 1991, and the goal of this book — to identify the most important C++ programming guidelines in a small, readable package — was no longer served by the Items I’d established nearly 15 years earlier. In 1991, it was reasonable to assume that C++ programmers came from a C background. Now, programmers moving to C++ are just as likely to come from Java or C#. In 1991, inheritance and object-oriented programming were new to most programmers. Now they’re well-established concepts, and exceptions, templates, and generic programming are the areas where people need more guidance. In 1991, nobody had heard of design patterns. Now it’s hard to discuss software systems without referring to them. In 1991, work had just begun on a formal standard for C++. Now that standard is eight years old, and work has begun on the next version.

To address these changes, I wiped the slate as clean as I could and asked myself, “What are the most important pieces of advice for practicing C++ programmers in 2005?” The result is the set of Items in this new edition. The book has new chapters on resource management and on programming with templates. In fact, template concerns are woven throughout the text, because they affect almost everything in C++. The book also includes new material on programming in the presence of exceptions, on applying design patterns, and on using the new TR1 library facilities. (TR1 is described in Item54.) It acknowledges that techniques and approaches that work well in single-threaded systems may not be appropriate in multithreaded systems. Well over half the material in the book is new. However, most of the fundamental information in the second edition continues to be important, so I found a way to retain it in one form or another. (You’ll find a mapping between the second and third edition Items in Appendix B.)

I’ve worked hard to make this book as good as I can, but I have no illusions that it’s perfect. If you feel that some of the Items in this book are inappropriate as general advice; that there is a better way to accomplish a task examined in the book; or that one or more of the technical discussions is unclear, incomplete, or misleading, please tell me. If you find an error of any kind — technical, grammatical, typographical, whatever — please tell me that, too. I’ll gladly add to the acknowledgments in later printings the name of the first person to bring each problem to my attention.

Even with the number of Items expanded to 55, the set of guidelines in this book is far from exhaustive. But coming up with good rules — ones that apply to almost all applications almost all the time — is harder than it might seem. If you have suggestions for additional guidelines, I would be delighted to hear about them.

I maintain a list of changes to this book since its first printing, including bug fixes, clarifications, and technical updates.If you’d like to be notified when I update the list, I encourage you to join my mailing list. I use it to make announcements likely to interest people who follow my professional work.

From the Back Cover

“Every C++ professional needs a copy of Effective C++. It is an absolute must-read for anyone thinking of doing serious C++ development. If you’ve never read Effective C++ and you think you know everything about C++, think again.”
Steve Schirripa, Software Engineer, Google“C++ and the C++ community have grown up in the last fifteen years, and the third edition of Effective C++ reflects this. The clear and precise style of the book is evidence of Scott’s deep insight and distinctive ability to impart knowledge.”
Gerhard Kreuzer, Research and Development Engineer, Siemens AG

The first two editions of Effective C++ were embraced by hundreds of thousands of programmers worldwide. The reason is clear: Scott Meyers’ practical approach to C++ describes the rules of thumb used by the experts — the things they almost always do or almost always avoid doing — to produce clear, correct, efficient code.

The book is organized around 55 specific guidelines, each of which describes a way to write better C++. Each is backed by concrete examples. For this third edition, more than half the content is new, including added chapters on managing resources and using templates. Topics from the second edition have been extensively revised to reflect modern design considerations, including exceptions, design patterns, and multithreading.

Important features of Effective C++ include:

  • Expert guidance on the design of effective classes, functions, templates, and inheritance hierarchies.
  • Applications of new “TR1” standard library functionality, along with comparisons to existing standard library components.
  • Insights into differences between C++ and other languages (e.g., Java, C#, C) that help developers from those languages assimilate “the C++ way” of doing things.



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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% Satisfied Nov. 22 2009
By 2Fletch
Format:Paperback
I honestly feel that I learn something new on almost every single page. The book answers so many questions I had about C++, as well as ones I hadn't even thought of.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative Sept. 26 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a fantastic book for learning the ins and outs of C++. A lot of people make reference to idioms and techniques that are not very well explained online. Before reading I was puzzled about a lot of common C++ practices that everyone seemed to adhere to, but the author did a tremendous job of delivering a meaty book that explained the rationale and implementation of nearly all of these techniques. It lives up to all the hype.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Resource! March 23 2010
By DrAcX
Format:Paperback
I'm not the type who usually buys technical books (when there's so much info you can just get off the internet), but this book is an exception. It's a great resource for both beginners and advanced C++ programmers. However be warned, this is not a book of tutorials on how to program in C++, but rather, digs into your current knowledge of C++ and refines it by making you fully conscious about your code and what it's doing.

With that being said, even if you are just a beginner with only very basic knowledge of C++, you can easily look at only the sections that cover material that you are familiar with in C++ and look at more sections as you learn more C++. In fact, I would even recommend people who are just beginners to pick this up as it's a good idea (not to mention easier) to pick up good programming habits and understanding of what your code is doing, at an early stage in your learning rather than later.

Most programming books are thick and contain way too much information to absorb easily, and honestly, this can be daunting and can lead you to having a book on the shelf that you always "plan to look at" but never do. This is also the reason I like to just grab what I need online instead of using a book because I don't want to have to read 100 pages to learn a concept if it can just as easily be portrayed in 10 pages. Effective C++ is, just as the title says, effective. It portrays a maximum amount of information in a minimum amount of text. Each of the 55 items that this book discusses is done in a few pages and no more, so you can spend your time and effort learning and understanding as opposed to cramming words into your head.
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