Yesterday I went to Swansea and saw Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of c++ talk. I wrote pretty much my entire PhD in c++ so it’s a topic I’m fairly close to, and the talk didn’t disappoint at all. Stroustrup was talking about c++11, the new version, and now I really want to get coding again and try out some of the new features of the language. It definitely looks simpler to use (one of the refrains of the talk was make the simple things simple) and it’s got some cool new features like lambda functions which could really simplify some of what I do.
Stroustrup (right) and a very important man from Swansea whose name I have completely forgotten
One of the great things about the talk was the way Stroustrup started by explaining where c++ came from – the tension between wanting to program precisely, and close to the machine (as in C, or assembler) but also wanting to take advantage of abstractions like OO. He also talked about the way c++ is different things to different people, and the tension between advancing the language, and supporting older systems and legacy code. Apparently with the new c++11, all of the old c++ is still there, so your old code should still just work.
c++ is different things to different people
For the founder of a language, Stroustrup had little time for what I think of as software extremism. Attacking people who say “this is the perfect language” he responded “Anyone who says they have a perfect language is either a fool, or a salesman”; and to those who claim that they’re programming in pure object orientation he responded “Are you also proud of eating only with a knife, and not a fork?”. Pragmatic, technical, approachable and funny. The perfect talk.