REVIEW - The C++ Standard Library - A Tutorial and Reference


The C++ Standard Library

A Tutorial and Reference


Nicolai M. Josuttis


Addison-Wesley Professional (1999)




Francis Glassborow


January 2000



I find it hard to see how anyone else will manage to better this book.

As I know the author I have thought very carefully about doing this review. However this book was very late in production and has fallen into a gap in the production of our periodicals so I passed a copy to Mark Radford to do a review for Overload and then set about doing a short review for this issue of C Vu.

This book has been long in gestation. It was originally intended as a translation of the much shorter German edition. However during the process of translation (by the author with help from others) it has been greatly expanded with both new material and refinement of the original. What we now have is a multi-faceted authoritative work on the subject of the Standard C++ Library. I find it hard to see how anyone else will manage to better this book. Let me try to (briefly) tell you why I think that.

The subtitle is 'A Tutorial and Reference'. It is both those things par excellence. Nico goes to considerable trouble to explain how the various elements should work as well as often taking time to explain implementation details. For example it takes time to explain the odd semantics of auto_ptr and why they are that way as well as why that puts serious restrictions on the ways it can be used.

The book is packed with code that will help the reader understand how to use the various elements of the Standard C++ Library, in particular that part which is bundled together as the STL.

The only warning I should give you is that this book is not an exhaustive reference to all aspect of the Standard C++ Library. For example will find nothing here about typeinfo's members. Of course that is no problem to the target readership because they will already have an alternative text (such as The C++ Programming Language 3rd ed ) that will document the detail they need for that item. I have no hesitation in

  1. Recommending that every serious C++ programmer purchases their own copy of this book and keeps it within reach whenever they are programming (that is after they have read the tutorial material).
  2. Making this my C/C++ programmer's book of 1999. However I am going to stretch that acclamation by making it a joint winner with Exceptional C++ .
Anyone with an early revision of this book (4th printing and earlier) should refer to the extensive errata at Webmaster

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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