C++ FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

by Darren Collins
Monday, 8 July 2002

Book Cover: C++ FAQs C++ FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
by Marshall P. Cline and Greg A. Lomow
ISBN 0-201-58958-3

Buy at Amazon.com.


Frequently asked questions about C++. And hundreds of 'em! It gives specific advice and presents a consistent underlying philosophy to help readers get the most out of C++ for object oriented programming.

This is not a tutorial on C++ syntax — it assumes you already know the basics of C++ programming.

Target Audience

Each chapter starts off with basic advice up front, which will be helpful to even the greenest beginners.

At an intermediate level, C++ FAQs covers more advanced topics and gets you thinking about important issues in your designs and implementations.

Even advanced programmers will turn to C++ FAQs regularly for the detailed information on efficiency, scalability, maintainability, and the trickier nuances of this complex language.


As you'd expect, C++ FAQs is written in a straightforward question and answer format. There are 470 questions, grouped by topic into 43 chapters covering every major facet of C++ programming. Each chapter begins with answers to basic questions on the chapter topic, gradually leading the reader through more complex issues culminating in the most advanced techniques towards the end of the chapter.

Code examples are scattered liberally throughout the book, helping to illustrate key concepts. The excellent cross-referencing points the reader towards related FAQs and also relevant chapters in other reference books.


The key strength of C++ FAQs is its excellent indexing and cross-referencing. It's a quick and easy job to find answers to your specific concerns, without getting distracted from the flow of your programming. This is complemented by the book's completeness - I don't think I've ever turned to this book with a question and come up empty handed.

Throughout the book Cline and Lomow point out many of the subtle tricks and pitfalls of various analysis, design, programming and testing tasks. Their techniques will help you to develop higher quality, easier to maintain software.

Another thing I like about this book is the style in which it's written. The language is conversational and straightforward, with the occasional humourous quip. Concepts are never clouded by academic language or obscure terminology.

This is also a great book to flip open while you're waiting for a program to compile or a test to run. Each question covers only a page or so, and is self contained so you can read it in isolation in just a few minutes.


There are no weaknesses! Just make sure you get the latest edition — the first edition was published before the ISO committee finalised the C++ Standard, and so doesn't cover everything you'll need.

Should I Buy It?

Buy it if you:

  • are past the stage of needing a C++ course or tutorial, but need a good reference to help you solve specific problems
  • are comfortable with C++ syntax, but are never quite sure of the best construct to use in various situations
  • want detailed information about the practical aspects of using C++ in the real world
  • need to settle a bet with a language-lawyer buddy

C++ FAQs is a great reference book to keep near your development terminal. After a while you get good at recognising the sorts of problems it helps with, and you'll find yourself reaching for it regularly. Certainly it helps me make the right decisions where otherwise I'd be tempted to just guess!

If you're still not sure about the worth of the C++ FAQs book, download the free online C++ FAQs (covering about 20% of the scope of the book) from:


Read more at Amazon.com.


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