Welcome to the second edition of Overload. Firstly let me apologise for being a little late, it is entirely my fault and steps are being taken to ensure that it does not happen again. (No, I will not be taken out at dawn and shot!).
For those of you who read .EXE and are concerned about the future changes in to Overload mentioned in Francis Glassborow's article. Yes, we intend to become non-compiler specific as of issue 4 (October '93). This, however, does not mean that we not be carrying articles specific to Borland's range of compilers. What it does mean is that we will be having extra sections to cater for the specifics of other compilers on the market. Due to the general nature of some articles, much of the current material in Overload should be of interest to C++ programmers whatever machine/compiler they use.
I had an overwhelming response to programmers challenge. The entry (singular) that I received made up in quality what was lacking in quantity. I need to know why so little response. Was it too easy, too difficult, timescales too short or are you just not interested?
At the time of writing, our membership has grown to around the 80 mark and is still increasing. This is, I feel, a very good start for the SIG, and I hope that over the coming editions we can extend this number significantly.
I have recently had the immense pleasure to interview Bjarne Stroustrup (by email), and by way of preparation I decided to glance through some of his work. In particular, I actually read the preface of his books (I suppose a preface for those who always skip them is like the editor's ramble, which you probably skip as well).
I was particularly pleased when I read the first sentence of the preface to the first edition of "The C++ programming language" which states "C++ is a general purpose programming language designed to make programming more enjoyable for the serious programmer." To me the enjoyment factor is vital element of the language. I program at work for money and at home for pleasure. C++ is the second language that has given me a great sense of pleasure when writing. The first, and some might find this surprising, was the venerable language Forth. I have often wondered what both these languages have that C, COBOL, FORTRAN, BASIC and Pascal lack. The only similarity that I can see is that is common to both languages is that if they do not directly support a language feature you require, you simply extend the language to cater to your needs. In both languages, getting the low-level groundwork correct allows the higher level code to be elegant as it appears to be a natural part of the language.
When was the last time that anybody found a 4GL interesting to program? Probably on the twelfth of never! C++ is an interesting and brain stimulating language to use, but it seems to be acquiring a reputation of being difficult and over complicated for programmers to understand, with a very steep learning curve. In my opinion much of the difficulty encountered by such programmers lies with their outlook on programming. "Nothing is new, it can be used in a similar manner to my current language." So much of getting the best out of C++ relies on the change of paradigm from the procedural approach to the Object-Orientated approach. Once this is accomplished, the rest is easy.