Java or C++?

Nicola Musatti nicola.musatti at
Thu Apr 24 11:03:11 CEST 2008

On Apr 21, 3:14 pm, NickC <ncogh... at> wrote:
> On Apr 15, 1:46 pm, Brian Vanderburg II <BrianVanderbu... at>
> wrote:
> Yeah, C++ does try to be helpful, and all of those automatic copy
> constructor, assignment operator and destructor implementations screw
> up royally when confronted with pointers (and being able to use
> pointers is basically the whole reason for bothering to write anything
> in C or C++ in the first place). Code which relies on these default
> method implementations is almost certain to be rife with memory leaks
> and double-free bugs. So instead of being a convenience, they become a
> painfully easy way of writing code that silently does some very, very
> wrong things.

When a class includes a pointer data member, there is no single, right
way to handle it. C++ automatically generated member functions are
defined so as to be consistent in dealing with *values*. Any C++
programmer that hasn't learnt this simple fact, shouldn't be trusted
with any programming language. Python and especially Java will only
make it harder to spot the mess he is making.

> Other things like methods (including destructors!) being non-virtual
> by default also make C++ code annoyingly easy to get wrong (without it
> obviously looking wrong).

I can see how that might be confusing for programmer coming from
Python, but it's more natural for those coming from C.

> The whole design of C++ is riddled with premature optimisation of
> speed and memory usage in the default settings, instead of choosing
> safe defaults and providing concise ways of allowing the programmer to
> say "I know optimisation X is safe here, please use it".

I absolutely agree.

> And the result? Any serious project in the language has to adopt it's
> own techniques for avoiding all those traps, and those techniques are
> likely to eliminate any supposed optimisations provided by the choices
> of the C++ committee, while filling a code base with boilerplate that
> only exists for the purpose of working around defects in the language
> design (Scott Meyers has written at length about the worst of these
> issues, far more clearly and eloquently than I ever could [1]).

Did you give up on C++ in the early nineties? Things have changed a
lot since then. Many standard/commonly accepted solutions to the
problems you mention can be found in the C++ standard library and in
Boost ( With std::vector and boost::shared_ptr you
can go an extremely long way without giving pointers any special

Nicola Musatti

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