Modern C++ Tutorial – Complete Guide

Welcome to this comprehensive overview of modern C++. In this short tutorial, we aim to shed some light on this important programming language, and inspire your journey towards coding mastery! As we delve into this subject, prepare to see how relevant, valuable, and accessible C++ programming can be.

What Is Modern C++?

Modern C++, often referred to as C++14, C++17, or C++20, marks significant improvements over the traditional C++. It’s about taking traditional C++ code and making it more efficient, safer, and easier to read and write, using new features introduced in these recent standards.

Why Learn Modern C++?

The world of modern C++ can open up a plethora of opportunities for both new and experienced coders. It is widely used in game development, systems programming, and even in areas like Artificial Intelligence! Here’s why:

  • First, C++ is a powerhouse. It’s designed for performance, allowing programmers to control the hardware at a very low level if necessary.
  • Secondly, modern C++ is much safer and easier to use than its older versions.
  • Finally, understanding modern C++ can be a stepping stone to other popular programming languages like Java and C#.

Whether you’re just starting your coding journey or you’re a seasoned programmer hunting for a new challenge, mastering modern C++ can be a game-changer.

CTA Small Image
FREE COURSES AT ZENVA
LEARN GAME DEVELOPMENT, PYTHON AND MORE
ACCESS FOR FREE
AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY

Getting Started with Modern C++

Modern C++ code can be written using popular development tools like Visual Studio for Windows or GCC for Linux. The examples below will help you grasp the basics included in modern C++.

1. Auto Keyword

The ‘auto’ keyword is used to automatically analyze and deduce the type of a variable at compile-time.

auto number = 10;  // The compiler automatically determines that 'number' is an int.
auto name = "Zenva";   // Here, 'name' is deduced as const char*.

2. Range-Based For Loops

Range-based for-loops offer a cleaner and easier way to iterate over collections like arrays or vectors.

int array[] = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5};
for(auto i : array)  // Using the auto keyword here, 'i' will be of type int.
{
  std::cout << i << std::endl;
}

3. Smart Pointers

Smart pointers help manage dynamically allocated memory in a safer and easier way.

std::unique_ptr ptr(new int(5));  // Uses the unique_ptr smart pointer to manage the int dynamically allocated.

4. Lambda Expressions

Lambda expressions can be used to write inline functions. This can be extremely valuable for concurrency, event-driven programming, and more.

auto greet = [] { std::cout << "Hello, Zenva!" << std::endl; };
greet();   // Outputs: "Hello, Zenva!"

5. constexpr Keyword

The ‘constexpr’ keyword makes it possible to compute values at compile time.

constexpr int square(int x)
{
   return x * x;
}
int array[square(5)];   // Creates an array of size 25

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to modern C++. There are many more features that make it more powerful, safer, and easier to use.

Additional Modern C++ Features

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics, let’s look at even more ways modern C++ can make your life as a programmer easier. From improved standard template libraries (STL) to better exception handling, modern C++ armors you with powerful capabilities to tackle any programming challenge.

1. Standard Template Library (STL) Enhancements

The Standard Template Library (STL) is a set of C++ template classes to provide common programming data structures and functions. Modern C++ expands the library with even more capabilities.

#include <vector>   // include the vector library

std::vector numbers = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6};
int sum = std::accumulate(numbers.begin(), numbers.end(), 0); // std::accumulate is a function from the STL

2. Improved Exception Handling

Modern C++ makes handling errors smoother. Specifically, the introduction of noexcept helps prevent exceptions from being thrown.

// A function declared with noexcept will not throw any exceptions
void performCriticalOperation() noexcept
{
  // code for the critical operation
}

3. Default and Deleted Functions

Modern C++ allows programmers to define default behavior for functions like constructors or to delete unwanted default ones that are automatically created by the compiler.

class Zenva
{
  public:
    Zenva() = default; // Uses compiler's default constructor
    Zenva &operator=(const Zenva&) = delete; // Deletes the default assignment operator
};

4. Multithreading Support

Perhaps one of the biggest improvements in modern C++ is the in-built support for multithreading. This makes it possible to perform multiple actions concurrently, something utterly crucial in certain programming environments.

#include <thread>   // include the thread library

void printZenva()
{
  // code to print "Zenva"
}

std::thread zenvaThread(printZenva); // run printZenva in a separate thread

So, there you have it! You’ve had a sneak peek at some advanced features modern C++ offers. But remember, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Mastery comes with practice and exploration. Happy coding!

Diving Deeper into Modern C++

Ready to discover more powerful modern C++ features? This section is a goldmine of code examples demonstrating advanced capabilities like delegating constructors, user-defined literals, variadic templates, and more. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

1. Delegating Constructors

Modern C++ enables constructors to call other constructors in the same class, a technique known as delegating constructors.

class Zenva
{
  public:
    Zenva() : Zenva(0) {}   // delegate constructor
    Zenva(int value) : number(value) {} // another constructor

  private:
    int number;
};

2. User-Defined Literals

The ability to create user-defined literals allows for clearer and more intuitive code.

constexpr long double operator"" _cm(long double x) { return x * 10; }
constexpr long double operator"" _m(long double x) { return x * 1000; }

int main() {
  long double height = 6.2_cm;  // height now holds the value 62.0
  height = 5.8_m;  // height now holds the value 5800.0
}

3. Variadic Templates

Variadic templates can define functions or classes that take any number of arguments, making your code more flexible.

template // "Args" can be any number of arguments
void print(Args... args) {
    (std::cout << ... << args) << '\n';
}

print(1, "Zenva", 4.5);  // Outputs: 1Zenva4.5

4. Attributes

Modern C++ introduces attributes which provide a universal syntax over __attribute__((…)) and other non-standard syntaxes

[[nodiscard]] int foo();   // [[nodiscard]] attribute warns the user if the return value of foo() is discarded
[[maybe_unused]] int x = 0;   // suppresses the warning on an unused variable

We trust that these examples will spark your interest in diving deeper into the expansive world of modern C++. As always, the journey to mastery is all about practice and more practice. So roll up your sleeves and write, compile, and test code. We at Zenva will always be here to guide you.

Where to Go Next / How to Keep Learning

Now that you’ve had a taste of the depth and power of modern C++, the next logical step is to dive deeper and master it. Knowledge of C++ is not merely a nice-to-have; it can be a stepping stone to exciting opportunities such as game development, engineering, and various areas of AI. Zenva is here to support you.

Our C++ Programming Academy provides comprehensive courses covering all aspects of C++ programming – from mastering the basics to diving into object-oriented programming, creating game mechanics, manipulating graphics and audio with SFML, and much more. Designed for beginners and seasoned coders alike, the courses feature interactive lessons, real project building, and coding practice. Our students have used these skills to publish games, land jobs, start businesses, and even launch their own startups.

If you’re interested in a broader selection of learning materials, check out our collection of C++ Courses. At Zenva, we are more than just an online academy, we are your partner in learning, aiming to guide you from beginner to professional. Let’s embark on this journey of learning and growth together!

Conclusion

Embarking on a journey to master modern C++ is more than just learning a programming language. It’s about unlocking new potentials, embracing opportunities, and shaping your own future. Regardless of the path you choose, be it game development, system programming, or AI, modern C++ will be a crucial tool in your toolbox.

Remember, the path to mastery is never a straight line or an easy stroll. It requires consistency, tenacity, and the right guidance. Zenva is here to partner with you and guide your learning journey, providing high-quality content curated by industry experts. Begin your C++ journey today with our C++ Programming Academy and see where your coding skills can take you. Happy coding!

FREE COURSES
Python Blog Image

FINAL DAYS: Unlock coding courses in Unity, Godot, Unreal, Python and more.