The key concept in C++ is class . A class is a user-defined type. Classes provide data hiding, guaranteed initialization of data, implicit type conversion for user-defined types, dynamic typing, user-controlled memory management, and mechanisms for overloading operators. C++ provides much better facilities for type checking and for expressing modularity than C does. It also contains improvements that are not directly related to classes, including symbolic constants, inline substitution of functions, default function arguments, overloaded function names, free store management operators, and a reference type. C++ retains C's ability to deal efficiently with the fundamental objects of the hardware (bits, bytes, words, addresses, etc.). This allows the user-defined types to be implemented with a pleasing degree of efficiency.
C++ and its standard libraries are designed for portability. The current implementation will run on most systems that support C. C libraries can be used from a C++ program, and most tools that support programming in C can be used with C++.
This book is primarily intended to help serious programmers learn the language and use it for nontrivial projects. It provides a complete description of C++, many complete examples, and many more program fragments.
In addition, hundreds of people contributed to the development of C++ and its compiler by sending me suggestions for improvements, descriptions of problems they had encountered, and compiler errors. I can mention only a few: Gary Bishop, Andrew Hume, Tom Karzes, Victor Milenkovic, Rob Murray, Leonie Rose, Brian Schmult, and Gary Walker.
Many people have also helped with the production of this book, in particular, Jon Bentley, Laura Eaves, Brian Kernighan, Ted Kowalski, Steve Mahaney, Jon Shopiro, and the participants in the C++ course held at Bell Labs, Columbus, Ohio, June 26-27, 1985.
Murray Hill, New Jersey, Bjarne Stroustrup