Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++, wrote an article for Dr. Dobbs recently lamenting the decision to cut “concepts” from the upcoming revision of the C++ standard. His article left me with the feeling that C++ had jumped the shark.
The upcoming standard has been called “C++0x” based on the assumption (or at least the hope) that the standard would come out in the first decade of this century. But there will be no C++0x; now it will have to be C++1x. Part of the reason for removing concepts was to avoid pushing the release of the the standard out even further. Stroustrup says he expects concepts will be added to the standard in five years. How many people will care by the time the standard is finished?
I’ve written C++ for a long time and I still use C++ for some problems. I like the language, but it has gone about as far as it can go. It’s safe to say the language has essentially stopped evolving if new standards are only going to come out every decade or two.
I have great respect for the people working on the C++ standard committee. The design of C++ is an engineering marvel given its constraints. But if it takes such Herculean efforts to make changes, maybe it’s time to call the language finished.
I’m content with the current version of C++. If I used C++ for everything I do, maybe I’d be anxious for new features. But if something is hard to do in C++, I just don’t use C++. I don’t see a new version of C++ changing my decisions about what language to use for various tasks. If something is easier to do in Python than in C++ now, for example, that will probably still be the case when the new standard is implemented.
Update: The ISO committee approved the final draft of the C++ 2011 standard 25 March 2011.