3 Replies - 1007 Views - Last Post: 12 December 2008 - 04:08 PM

#1 numerical_jerome  Icon User is offline

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C++ sans C, a bit of confusion

Posted 12 December 2008 - 03:28 PM

Hello all,

Having been snowed out of attending a rather anticipated holiday party (the hazard of living near mountains), I employed the afternoon "contemplating the universe". It has not been fruitless.

About a year ago I was working on a project developing some libraries, written in C, to be extended into Python. During the course of this project, I was amazed at the number of both weekend and 'professional' programmers who professed an expertise in C++, but could not navigate rather simple C libraries.

This makes little sense to me, as it would seem (a few semantic issues like malloc() v.s. new, printf v.s. cout, aside) that an understanding of C++ would by necessity map to C.

For example, how would these C++ experts create methods without some concept of procedures, or design classes without some feel for structures?

Was this just poor excuse making to get out of an admittedly lackluster assignment?

Had these programmer either moved through some university Java --> C++ --> "high level language of choice here" sequence, or blown through several "C++ in a Week!" type books. Having never actually examined C?

Was this a refusal to do without OOP for even a few weeks (even though the majority of the C++ code that passed from some of these programmers was very procedural in structure)?

Were they just uncomfortable working as close to the machine as this particular project would require?

I'm curious to hear if anyone else has seen something like this, or could suggest another mechanism by which C++ programmers could be found with no C abilities.

Cordially,
-Jerome

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Replies To: C++ sans C, a bit of confusion

#2 pr4y  Icon User is offline

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Re: C++ sans C, a bit of confusion

Posted 12 December 2008 - 03:38 PM

This is a very interesting topic!

Myself, I know limited C++, and have never looked at C. The reason being simply, most colleges don't offer C as a Computer Science elective due to the fact that C++ has overwhelmingly taken over the native C language.

I'm guessing in theory, the reason why this occurs is the fact that the old will always be replaced by the new.

If we scale this situation back to 1985, when the COBOL 85 standards were completed and most major corporations and programmers were dying to learn the structure of the COBOL language, people had nothing better to learn. After years of COBOL running at the head of the Programming Language pack, it was replaced almost overnight with the release of "C".

Why does this matter? Head over to any major software design company and ask how many of the programmers can still code in COBOL. Not the basic COBOL classes you get in college that teach the fundamentals of data transfer and menu navigation... How many people REALLY know COBOL these days?



I think its just a matter of the New Programmers desire to learn the most recent version of the language of their choice.



You don't find many web developers CHOOSING a PHP3 / MySQL 2.1 combination anymore... do you?
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#3 numerical_jerome  Icon User is offline

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Re: C++ sans C, a bit of confusion

Posted 12 December 2008 - 03:49 PM

good points, but I view claiming to not understand C (or at lest being able to find your way around) knowing C++ as akin to driving a stick shift, but being at a total loss behind the wheel of an automatic.

Sure some of your interface is changed, and many of your old habits (good and bad) will carry over, but it makes no sense to sit in traffic and scratch your head in puzzlement.

-Jerome
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#4 DoubleFission  Icon User is offline

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Re: C++ sans C, a bit of confusion

Posted 12 December 2008 - 04:08 PM

I guess it depends on how you learn C++. If you open a "Learn OOP in a week" book obviously it will skip a whole bunch of the procedural things which C employs. People who learn like this will understandably be at a loss when there are no classes.

My University course however is stuck in its ways, and spends a good semester and a half before OOP is even introduced! So pretty much everyone in my course can look at some C and understand what's happening (Unless it's really obfuscated)
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