Fun read on the evolution of C++

Last June I read “The Evolution of C++”. I was pleasantly surprised by just how fun it was to read. If you’ve ever read Bjarne Stroustrup before you know that he has got a sense of humor and frankness that makes his work quite accessible and informative.

The article covers the origins, the process and evolution, critics, users, researchers, big changes, strengths, and weaknesses of C++. On top of that, there are interesting historical bits that really let you put things in perspective. Unless you were there when it happened, you will definitely be surprised about the world surrounding C++ back when it got started.

For someone pretty unfamiliar with C++, it was a lot of fun to read about its goals, what it does well, and even what it does not so well. In the examples presented in the paper, you get to see the elegance of generic programming and the STL. There is even an overview of exploring functional programming with C++.

The article is quite long, 57 dense pages fill it out quite well. It is so well written and entertaining, though, that it is well worth the read.

For any of you long time C++ developers out there, I would be interested to hear your take on it.

What is “real code”?

One common complaint about non-mainstream programming languages is that there hasn’t been any “real code” written in that particular language. One response to this is the Practical Common Lisp book.

Whether or not a MP3 database or a spam filter is “real code” is up for debate. Nonetheless, based on the success of the book, people clearly want to see “real code”.

In your mind, what is “real code”? What is it that you need to see in order to believe that a language can do “real work”?

Move and resize windows on MS Windows

ms-window-move-resize-info is a project to provide both the libraries and helper programs to do three things:

  1. Get information about the windows on your MS Windows desktop.
  2. Move windows on your MS Windows desktop.
  3. Resize windows on your MS Windows desktop.

I wanted to do these three things for two reasons: to lay out windows precisely on large monitors and to force windows to a suitable size for use in screencasts. Surprisingly, no programs exist (as yet) in a “ready to use” form to quickly and easily do these three things. (To be specific, no programs that weren’t “fishy”, “unfinished”, or incomplete. Believe you me, I like coding, but I would rather play guitar!)

Here is the link

Update: 12/17/07 I just uploaded a new release that only displays information on windows that appear in the taskbar. Also the window text is no longer tweaked, it appears just as it does in the taskbar.

Interesting note: when you maximize a window, you are really setting its location to (-4, -4) and adjusting the width and height by adding 8 to your screen width and screen height to “shave” off the (default) window borders.