The C++ Decade

Douglas C. Schmidt
C++ Report
August 1996

During the past decade, C++ has become firmly entrenched as a flexible and commercially viable object-oriented programming language. To a large extent, the success of C++ stems from the dedication of many individuals in the C++ programming community. This special issue of the C++ Report presents the reflections of key members in the C++ community on interesting topics they've been involved with over the past decade of C++. Our goal in publishing this material is to provide a general roadmap of where our community has been and to speculate on what's in store during the next decade of C++.

Many of the authors in this special issue have been directly involved in the development of C++. Bjarne Stroustrup, who truly needs no introduction, outlines the major events in the evolution of C++ from a humble research project at Bell Labs to a widely used international standard. Stan Lippman, former C++ Report editor and Hunchback Hacker, explains how the C++ Report magazine evolved from a humble newsletter to widely read international publication. Rob Murray, founding editor of C++ Report, uses his experiences with C++ at AT&T to illustrate the process of technology transfer in large corporations. Andy Koenig, frequent flier and project editor for the ISO/ANSI C++ Standard, describes the current status of the C++ standardization process.

Other authors in this issue have been deeply involved with building tools and applications using C++. Tom Keffer, founder and president of Rogue Wave -- a leading vendor of C++-related tools, explains the importance of finalizing the ISO/ANSI C++ standardization effort. Robert Martin, who holds the world's record for most consistently informative and lively postings on USENET, describes some important object-oriented design and programming principles. Finally, I reflect on why C++ has succeeded despite an impressive array of impediments to its success.

Although the authors in this special issue all made significant contributions to C++, the true test of a programming language's longevity and commercial success rests in the hands of software developers. During the past eight years, Stan, Rob, and I have been fortunate that so many C++ programmers have documented their experiences and insights in the pages of the C++ Report. To commemorate this contribution, the final portion of this special issue contains a comprehensive index of all articles and columns that have appeared in the C++ Report. I'm sure you'll recognize many of your favorite authors and topics in this index. If the quality of the past work in the C++ community is any indication of our future, we can move forward proudly into the next decade of C++ and the C++ Report.

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