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Two versions of C++ programming language ? Explained in details

TWO VERSIONS OF C++ programming language

while writing, C++ programming language is in the midst of a transformation.C++ programming language has been undergoing the process of standardization for the past several years. The goal has been to create a stable, standardized, feature-rich language that will suit the needs of programmers well into the next century.there are really two versions of C++ programming language. The first is the traditional version that is based upon Bjarne Stroustrup’s original designs. This is the version of C++ programming language that has been used by programmers for the past decade. The second is the new Standard C++ programming language, which was created by Stroustrup and the ANSI/ISO standardization committee. While these two versions of C++ programming language are very similar at their core, Standard C++ contains several enhancements not found in traditional C++. Thus, Standard C++ is essentially a superset of traditional C++.

C++ programming language
Two versions of C++ programming language – Explained in details

This post teaches Standard C++. This is the version of C++ defined by the ANSI/ISO standardization committee, and it is the version implemented by all modern C++ programming language compilers. The code in this book reflects the contemporary coding style and practices as encouraged by Standard C++. This means that what you learn in this book will be applicable today as well as tomorrow. Put directly, Standard C++ is the future. And, since Standard C++ encompasses all features found in earlier versions of C++, what you learn in this book will enable you to work in all C++ programming language environments.

However, if you are using an older compiler, it might not accept all of the programs in this book. Here’s why: During the process of standardization, the ANSI/ISO committee added any new features to the language. As these features were defined, they were implemented by compiler developers. Of course, there is always a lag time between the addition of a new feature to the language and the availability of the feature in commercial compilers. Since features were added to C++ programming language over a period of years, an older compiler might not support one or more of them. This is important because two recent additions to the C++ programming language affect every program that you will write-even the simplest. If you are using an older compiler that does not accept these new features, don’t worry. There is an easy workaround, which is described in the following paragraphs.

Learn C++ Programming Within 14 Days ( Introduction )

The differences between old-style and modern code involve two new features: new-style headers and the namespace statement. To demonstrate these differences we will begin by looking at two versions of a minimal, do-nothing C++ program. The first version, shown here, reflects the way C++ programs were written until recently. (That is, it uses old-style coding.)

A traditional-style C++ program.

#include <iostream.h>

int main()


/* program code */ return 0 ;


Since C++ is build on C, this skeleton should be largely familiar, but pay special attention to the #include statement. This statement includes the file iostream.h, which provides support for C++’s I/O system. (It is to C++ what stdio.h is to C.)

Here is the second version of the skeleton, which uses the modern style:

A modern-style C++ program that uses
the new-style headers


#include <iostream> using namespace std;

int main()


/* program code */ return 0 ;


and a namespace.

Notice the two lines in this program immediately after the first comment; this is where the changes occur. First, in the #include statement, there are no .h after the name iostream. And second, the next line, specifying a namespaces will be examined in detail later in this book, a brief overview is in order now.


As you know from your C programming experience, when you use a library function in a program, you must include its header file. This is done using the #include statement. For example, in C, to include the header file for the I/O functions, you include stdio.h with a statement like this:

#include < stdio.h >

Here stdio.h is the name of the file used by the I/O functions, and the preceding statement cause that file to be included in your program. The key point is that the #include statement includes a file.

When C++ was first invented and for several years after that, it used the same style of headers as did C. In fact, Standard C++ programming language still supports C-style headers for header files that you create and for backward compatibility. However, Standard C++ has introduced a new kind of header that is used by the Standard C++ library. The new-style headers do not specify filenames. Instead, they simply specify standard identifiers that might be mapped o files by the compiler, but they need not be. The new-style C++ headers are abstractions that simply guarantee that the appropriate prototypes and definitions required by the C++ library have been declared. Since the new-style header is not a filename, it does not have a .h extension. Such a header consists solely of the header name contained between angle brackets. For example, here are some of the new-style headers supported by Standard C++:

Two versions of C++ programming language

iostream> < fstream >

< vector >

< string >

The new-style headers are included using the #include statement. The only difference is that the new-style headers do not necessarily represent filenames.

Because C++ includes the entire C function library, it still supports the standard C-style header files associated with that library. That is, header files such as stdio.h and ctype.h are still available. However, Standard

C++ programming language

also defines new-style headers that you can use in place of these header files. The C++ versions of the standard C headers simply add a c prefix to the filename and drop the .h. For example, the new style C++ header for math.h is <cmath>, and the one for string.h is <cstring>. Although it is currently permissible to include a Cstyle header file when using C library functions, this approach is deprecated by Standard C++. (That is, it is not recommended.) For this reason, this book will use new-style C++ programming language headers in all #include statements. If your compiler does not support new-style headers the C function library, simply substitute the old-style, C-like headers.

Since the new-style header is a recent addition to C++, you will still find many, many older programs that don’t use it. These programs instead use C-style headers, in which a filename is specified. As the old-style skeletal program shows, the traditional way to include the I/O header is as shown here:

#include <iostream.h>

This causes the file iostream.h to be included in your program. In general, an old-style header will use the same name as its corresponding new-style header with a .h appended.

As of this writing, all C++ compilers support the old-style headers. However, the old style headers have been declared obsolete, and their use in new programs is not recommended. This is why they are not used in this book.

Remember: While still common in existing C++ code, old-style headers are obsolete.

NAMESPACES of C++ programming language

When you include a new-style header in your program the contents of that header are contained in the std namespace. A namespace is simply a declarative region. The purpose of a namespace is to localize the names of identifiers to avoid name collisions. Traditionally, the names of library functions and other such items were simply placed into the global namespace (as they are in C). However, the contents of new-style headers are placed in the std namespace. We will look closely at namespaces later in this book. For now, you don’t need to worry about them because you can use the statement

using namespace std;

to bring the std namespace into visibility (i.e., to put std into the global namespace). After this statement has been compiled, there is no difference between working with an old-style header and a new-style one.


As mentioned, both namespaces and the new-style are recent additions to the C++ language. While virtually all new-style C++ programming language compilers support these features, older compilers might not. If you have one of these older compilers, it will report one or more errors when it tries to compile the first two lines of the sample programs in this book. If this is the case, there is an easy workaround: simply use an old-style header and delete the namespace statement. That is, just replace

#include <iostream> using namespace std;


#include <iostream.h>

This change transforms a modern program into a traditional-style one. Since the old style header reads all of its contents into the global namespace, there is no need for a namespace statement.

One other point: For now and for the next few years, you will see many C++ programs that use the old-style headers and that do not include a namespace statement. Your C++ programming language compiler will be able to compile them just fine. For new programs, however, you should use the modern style because it is the only style of program that complies with Standard C++ programming language. While old-style programs will continue to be supported for many years, they are technically noncompliant.

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