The History of C++

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C++ is a popular programming language with various functions and applications. Here, you’ll learn about its history – how did it all begin and who was the person behind its success.

Before digging the history deeper…

What does C++ mean?

C++ (pronouncedas see plus plus) is widely known as a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. It is considered as the C language’s extension as well as an efficient example of a hybrid language. You can code it in an object-oriented or C style. And since it enclosesboth low- and high-level language features, it’s regarded as an intermediate-level language.

You can find C++ in a different application or system software, embedded firmware, drivers, and client-server applications. It includes some essential concepts, too, including templates and polymorphism.

How did C++ start?

Now let’s go back from the beginning…

The history of C++ dates back to 1979. Dennis Ritchie was working on designing a new operating system – requiring a language that was compact, precise, extremely fast, and closer to machine code. This is where the programming language was developed, called C.

Then, here goes Bjarne Stroustrup of Bell Laboratories. He was working with simula, and doing his Ph.D. Simula was the initial language supporting the object-oriented programming paradigm. This language lacks practical features, and Stroustrup eventually realized the powerful function of the object-oriented paradigm (OOP). 

He then started fixing the necessary issue by working on ‘C with classes’. Stroustrup concertedthe features of both languages to create a more powerful language. Later, he introduced an improved OPP – that is compact, fast, portable, and has a low-level function. The C with classes became C++, where the double plus indicates an increase.

According to Bjarne, the purpose of this new language is to make writing good programs a lot easier as well as more pleasant for every programmer. New features were added, such as constants, improved type checking, virtual functions, and references.

By the way, the name C++ is referableto Rick Mascitti. He was the one who recommended this name and was initially used in 1983.

Different Versions of C++

C++ with different app icons

This programming language went through different versions. Let’s take a look back at them…

  • 1985 – released the first edition of “The C++ Programming Language, which later became the language’s definitive reference. Back in October of the same year, when the first commercial implementation was introduced.
  • 1989 – version 2.0 of C++ was released. Static member functions, multiple inheritances, protected members, and abstract classes were among the new features included.
  • 1990 – “The Annotated C++ manual” got published all over. Feature additions include namespaces, templates, new casts, and exceptions.
  • 1998 – they released the C++98, which standardize the language. Then in 2003, a minor update was launched (C++03).
  • 2011 & 2014 – the new versions C++11 and C++14 were released where some regular expansions and new modules were presented. Extensive organization library, variadic templates, new loop for syntax, and automotive vehicle keyword were the new options that got included.

Even until now, C++ is still one of the most popular programming languages. All thanks to the newly released C++11 version – making it more communicative, easier, safer, and much robust.