ISO finalizes C++ update

C++ 2011, in development for eight years, may be released by year's end

The widely used C++ programming language is about to be updated, as the ISO steering committee for the language has approved the final draft specifying its next version.

The ISO/IEC Information Technology Task Force (ITTF) will review the steering committee's Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) will review and, barring any complications, publish the draft later this year. It will be known as C++ 2011.

"Perhaps the most heartening thing to me is that this standard is widely considered among committee old-timers as the highest-quality FDIS document we have shipped," wrote Herb Sutter, Microsoft architect and chair of the ISO C++ standards committee, in a blog post.

Computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup first created C++ in 1979 as an extension to the C programming language, one that supports classes, or blueprints, for creating run-time objects. Although sometimes derided for its complexity, C++ appears to be the third most popular programming language in use today, trailing only Java and C, according to the most recent Tiobe survey of programming languages.

"C++0x feels like a new language: The pieces just fit together better than they used to and I find a higher-level style of programming more natural than before and as efficient as ever," wrote Stroustrup in a FAQ describing the update.

Sutter noted that the features of the draft standard, code-named C++0x, have already been added into working compilers as library extensions. Microsoft's Visual Studio and the Free Software Foundation's open source GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) both support some features.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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