Review: A Tour of C++
Posted by goobliata on 2019-05-11, 12:10am
(I have started writing short reviews of games/game development resources I finish here. I am not affiliated with any of the creators and I do not use referrer links or anything like that. The reviews are mostly just for fun.)

The first language I wrote substantial programs in was C. I had used other languages prior (BASIC, Pascal, etc...) but C really resonated with me unlike any other. It wasn't until around 2005-2006 that I started learning C++. I was in the hospital for a few weeks and bought The C++ Programming Language for something to read. I've still never finished reading it though. I learned what I needed from the first few chapters and picked up extra things along the way.

When it came to modern C++, I didn't know much. It's 2019 and I still hadn't dug into C++11, though I wanted to, because I didn't have much time (or rather, didn't want to invest the time I had into it.) I've been meaning to level up my C++ skills for quite a while, and recently took the first step by picking up A Tour of C++ by the creator of C++, Bjarne Stroupstrup. It seemed like a good choice for someone who knew some C++ but was out of date with current standards.

It turns out, it is just about the perfect book for that purpose. It doesn't go into great depth about anything, but briefly covers a lot of key features of the language quickly. While definitely not a book that will teach you C++, it's great if you are already familiar. The 2nd Edition covers everything up to C++17 and includes many things from the upcoming C++20 too.

This is the kind of book I'd like to read twice. On the first read, I am now up to speed with all the new concepts. I've also internalized several new techniques, but there was definitely too much information to remember it all. I've started using select C++11 language features already, and hope to return to the book, now that I have a good overview, to pick up even more.

For me, some of the highlights are things that have reduced the amount of typing I need to do (I guess I'm lazy?) Things like auto, range-for and uniform initialization cut down on a lot of repetition. Some things in the book I'm still iffy on (like Concepts.) I probably won't use them much anyway, but a second reading should make things a bit clearer.

All in all, if you're familiar with C++ and looking to update your skills to newer standards, A Tour of C++ is a great way to get started in doing so. I believe the book even mentions this use case in talking about its target audiences. For me, I need to finish TC++PL and maybe pick up a couple more texts before I consider myself anywhere near an expert in C++. This book has set me in the right direction.

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