C++ Meaning Tutorial – Complete Guide

Welcome to this tutorial, where we unearth the thrill of learning C++, a general-purpose programming language that is remarkably powerful and efficient. Born out of the necessity for a language that strikes a balance between functionality and complexity, C++ opens up the world of coding in a unique and engaging way.

What is C++?

C++ is an extension of the C Language, engineered with better data abstraction, object orientation, and features that promote more robust programming. It gives developers the expressive power to operate at multiple levels of abstraction, from system-level programming to high-level software applications.

What is it used for?

C++ plays a critical role in software infrastructure and resource-constrained applications, finding immense usage in high-performance systems such as games, real-time systems, and simulation and graphics systems. For instance, C++ is regularly used in game development to create game engines, performance-critical code, or interfacing with hardware, due to its ability to interface directly with hardware and its compilation efficiencies.

Why should I learn C++?

Mastering C++ can put you a step ahead in your programming journey. If you’re eyeing a career in game development or system programming, C++ can be a game-changer. It’s also a great language for beginners, providing a solid grounding in key programming principles that make learning other languages a breeze. Learning C++:

  • Improves problem-solving abilities
  • Enhances understanding of the underlying architecture of a computer system
  • Opens up abundant job opportunities
  • Leads to optimizing performance and memory efficiently
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Getting Started with C++

Let’s start by understanding how to write a simple hello world program in C++. The program will display the “Hello, World!” message on the screen.

#include <iostream>
int main() {
    std::cout << "Hello, World!";
    return 0;
}

In the above code snippet:

  • #include <iostream> is a preprocessor command that includes a file, named iostream, that allows us to perform standard input and output operations.
  • std::cout is an object used together with the insertion operator (<<) to output/display text.

Variables and Data Types

Let’s now look at how to declare variables and use different data types in C++.

int myNum = 10;      // Integer (whole number)
float myFloatNum = 5.99;  // Floating point number
double myDoubleNum = 9.98;  // Double floating point number
char myLetter = 'D';     // Character
bool myBool = true;  // Boolean
string myText = "Hello";  // String

In C++, each variable must be declared with a specific data type. It helps the compiler how much memory it needs to reserve for the variables.

Operators in C++

C++ supports a rich set of operators, which are symbols that tell the compiler to perform specific mathematical or logical manipulations. Let’s see some basic arithmetic operators in action.

int x = 100 + 50;
int sum = x + 15;

In this example, we use the ‘+’ operator to add numbers.


Control Structures

Control structures regulate the flow of your code. Let’s take a look at a simple ‘if’ statement – a control structure that executes a block of code if a specified condition is true.

int x = 20;
int y = 18;
if (x > y) {
  std::cout << "x is greater than y";
}

In this example, the code inside the ‘if’ statement will only be executed if ‘x’ is greater than ‘y’.

for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
  std::cout << i;
}

This example shows a ‘for’ loop – a control structure that repeats a block of code a specified number of times. Here, the code inside the ‘for’ loop will execute five times.

Functions

In C++, functions are blocks of code that perform a specific task, and are fundemental building blocks of a C++ program. Let’s take a quick look at a basic function syntax.

void myFunction() {
    // code to be executed
    std::cout << "I just got executed!";
}

int main() {
    myFunction();  // call the function
    return 0;
}

In this example, myFunction is a simple function that prints out a text when called. We define the function using void – which means the function does not return any value, and we call the function from our main() function.

Arrays

Arrays are used to store multiple variables of the same type. Let’s see how arrays can be declared and used in C++.

int myNum[3] = {10, 20, 30};

In this example, we have declared an array of size 3, initializing it with values for three integer elements.

Pointers

Pointers are a bit more advanced, but they’re a fundamental part of C++. A pointer is a variable that stores the memory address of another variable.

int var = 20;
int *ptr = &var;
std::cout << "Value of var = " << var << '\n';
std::cout << "Address of var = " << &var << '\n';
std::cout << "Value of ptr = " << ptr << '\n';
std::cout << "Value pointed to by ptr = " << *ptr << '\n';

In this code, var is a normal variable, and ptr is a pointer variable that holds the address of var. The “*” and “&” are special operators in C++, where “*” is used to declare a pointer variable and assign the value pointed by pointer variable, “&” is used to get the address of the variable.

Classes and Objects

C++ is an object-oriented language, and classes are the central feature of OOP. A class is a user-defined data type that has data members and member functions. Objects are instances of a class.

class Car {
    public:
        string brand;  
        string model;  
};

int main() {
    Car carObj;  
    carObj.brand = "BMW";
    carObj.model = "X5";  
    std::cout << carObj.brand << " " << carObj.model; 
    return 0;
}

In this example, we have created a class named ‘Car’. We then create an object of Car, called ‘carObj’. We can now use this object to access the class attributes and set their values. When we run the program, it outputs “BMW X5”.

Inheritance

Inheritance is one of the pillars of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) in C++, allowing us to declare a class that inherits from another class, thereby reducing repetitive code and enhancing code modularity.

class Vehicle {        // base class (parent)
  public:              
    string brand = "Ford";  
    void honk() {         
      std::cout << "Tuut, tuut! \\n" ;
    }
};

class Car: public Vehicle {    // derived class (child)
  public:             
    string model = "Mustang";  
};

int main() {
  Car myCar;
  myCar.honk();
  std::cout << myCar.brand + " " + myCar.model;
  return 0;
}

In the above code, Car is a derived class and inherits from the Vehicle base class. Once inherited, the Car class can use the brand attribute and honk() method of the Vehicle class.

Polymorphism

Polymorphism in C++ allows methods to behave differently based on the object instance used to call them. This is notably useful when implementing inheritance.

class Animal {
  public:
    void animalSound() {
    std::cout << "The animal makes a sound \\n";
  }
};

class Pig : public Animal {
  public:
    void animalSound() {
    std::cout << "The pig says: wee wee \\n";
  }
};

class Dog : public Animal {
  public:
    void animalSound() {
    std::cout << "The dog says: bow wow \\n";
  }
};

int main() {
  Animal myAnimal;
  Pig myPig;
  Dog myDog;

  myAnimal.animalSound();
  myPig.animalSound();
  myDog.animalSound();
  return 0;
}

In the above example, the Animal class includes an animalSound method. The Pig and Dog classes, which inherit from Animal, each implement their own version of this method. When this method is called on each class, it behaves in a manner specific to that class, demonstrating polymorphism.

Exceptions

Exceptions in C++ provide a way to react to exceptional circumstances (like runtime errors) in programs by transferring control to special functions called handlers.

int main() {
  try {
    int age = 15;
    if (age >= 18) {
      std::cout << "Access granted - you are old enough.";
    } else {
      throw (age);
    }
  }
  catch (int myNum) {
    std::cout << "Access denied - You must be at least 18 years old.\\n";
    std::cout << "Age is: " << myNum;
  }
  return 0;
}

The code block inside the try statement is a guarded section where exceptional cases are checked, and if any exception arises, it’s caught (using catch) and resolved in a user-friendly manner.

File I/O

Last but not least, understanding how to work with files is also a crucial part of programming. Below, you can see an example of how to write and read from a text file.

#include <fstream>  //Stream class to both read and write from/to files.

// Writing to a file
std::ofstream MyWriteFile("filename.txt");
MyWriteFile << "Written using C++!";
MyWriteFile.close();

// Reading from a file
std::string myText;
std::ifstream MyReadFile("filename.txt");
while (getline(MyReadFile, myText)) {
  std::cout << myText;
}
MyReadFile.close();

With these basics of the C++ programming language under your belt, you are well on your way to coding your own games, applications, and much more! A thorough understanding of C++ can aid in learning other coding languages as well and is invaluable in any coder’s skill set.

Where to Go Next?

After getting a grasp of the fundamentals, you may wonder, “What’s next?”. Well, the exciting journey of mastering C++ is ongoing, and there’s always more to learn. From advancing your knowledge of the language to creating increasingly sophisticated programs and games, the sky is the limit with C++.

To keep growing your skills, we strongly recommend our comprehensive C++ Programming Academy. This program helps you dig deeper into C++, with a focus on building simple games like text-based RPGs, clicker games, and roguelike dungeon crawlers. The skills you’ll learn can be applied to more complex projects. Our courses are designed for learners at all stages, from beginners to experienced programmers, offering interactive lessons, quizzes and real projects to reinforce and implement what you’ve learned.

If you want to explore a broader range of topics, feel free to check our extensive collection of C++ courses. At Zenva Academy, we offer over 250 professional courses covering programming, game development, AI, and more, to boost your career and skill set. Remember, with determination and practice, you can go from a beginner to a professional. We are here to guide you every step of the way.

Conclusion

Starting with the basics and consistently building on them is the key to mastering any programming language, and C++ is no different. It’s a powerful language with a broad range of applications, offering excellent opportunities for boosting your coding skills and tech career.

Dive in and embrace the exciting quest of learning C++ with us at Zenva Academy. Channel your inquisitiveness and zeal into creating something extraordinary, and let C++ be the tool that helps you bring your innovative ideas to life.

Did you come across any errors in this tutorial? Please let us know by completing this form and we’ll look into it!

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