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An Overview Of The C++ Programming Langauge by Bjarne Stroustrup
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C++ (pronounced "see plus plus") is a general-purpose, high-level programming language with low-level facilities. It is a statically typed free-form multi-paradigm language supporting procedural programming, data abstraction, object-oriented programming, generic programming and RTTI. Since the 1990s, C++ has been one of the most popular commercial programming languages.

Bjarne Stroustrup developed C++ (originally named "C with Classes") in 1983 at Bell Labs as an enhancement to the C programming language. Enhancements started with the addition of classes, followed by, among other features, virtual functions, operator overloading, multiple inheritance, templates, and exception handling. The C++ programming language standard was ratified in 1998 as ISO/IEC 14882:1998, the current version of which is the 2003 version, ISO/IEC 14882:2003. A new version of the standard (known informally as C++0x) is being developed.

Stroustrup began work on C with Classes in 1979. The idea of creating a new language originated from Stroustrup's experience in programming for his Ph.D. thesis. Stroustrup found that Simula had features that were very helpful for large software development, but the language was too slow for practical use, while BCPL was fast but too low-level and unsuitable for large software development. When Stroustrup started working in Bell Labs, he had the problem of analyzing the UNIX kernel with respect to distributed computing. Remembering his Ph.D. experience, Stroustrup set out to enhance the C language with Simula-like features. C was chosen because it is general-purpose, fast, and portable. Besides C and Simula, some other languages which inspired him were ALGOL 68, Ada, CLU and ML. At first, the class, derived class, strong type checking, inlining, and default argument features were added to C via Cfront. The first commercial release occurred in October 1985.[1]

In 1983, the name of the language was changed from C with Classes to C++. New features were added including virtual functions, function name and operator overloading, references, constants, user-controlled free-store memory control, improved type checking, and a new single-line comment style with two forward slashes (//). In 1985, the first edition of The C++ Programming Language was released, providing an important reference to the language, as there was not yet an official standard. In 1989, Release 2.0 of C++ was released. New features included multiple inheritance, abstract classes, static member functions, const member functions, and protected members. In 1990, The Annotated C++ Reference Manual was published. This work became the basis for the future standard. Late addition of features included templates, exceptions, namespaces, new casts, and a Boolean type.

As the C++ language evolved, a standard library also evolved with it. The first addition to the C++ standard library was the stream I/O library which provided facilities to replace the traditional C functions such as printf and scanf. Later, among the most significant additions to the standard library, was the Standard Template Library.

After years of work, a joint ANSI-ISO committee standardized C++ in 1998 (ISO/IEC 14882:1998). For some years after the official release of the standard in 1998, the committee processed defect reports, and published a corrected version of the C++ standard in 2003. In 2005, a technical report, called the "Library Technical Report 1" (often known as TR1 for short) was released. While not an official part of the standard, it gives a number of extensions to the standard library which are expected to be included in the next version of C++. Support for TR1 is growing in almost all currently maintained C++ compilers.