March 15, 2022 Yen Lily

Overview C++ for beginners (part 2)

In the first part of the Overview C++, we talked about the history of C++, and about some of its tools and software. Today, let’s cover the remainder, which is the overview of its syntax, definition of its terms and vocabulary to make you feel more familiar with.

Introduction to C++ language and syntax

Overview C++, C++ is an object-oriented programming language. Its programs are modeled around objects and classes, which help you control and manipulate by applying functions. OOP languages offer a clear structure to a program and enable developers to model real-world problems.

The language is designed to provide you with a lot of freedom and power, which is both good and bad. The good thing is you’re in full control of how your system utilizes resources; but the bad thing is there is no automatic memory management like in Java.

You have the ability to choose between how memory is allocated (i.e. stack or heap), which is good; but there is no interpreter in C++ to stop you from writing buggy code, which is bad.

In order to get started with C++, you need to familiarize yourself with the syntax. This will pave the way for the rest of your C++ journey and help you create optimized programs that are safe and bug-free.

What is syntax?

Syntax is like the grammar of a programming language. It is the basic foundation for everything you’ll write in C++.

These are the rules that define how you write and understand C++ code. Let’s look at an example of some code to familiarize ourselves with the syntax.

If you run this syntax, the output will be 

Hello World 
Learn C++ 

Educative Team

The syntax explained

#include <iostream> is a header file library. A header file imports features into your program. We’re basically asking that the program copy the content from a file called <iostream>. This stands for input and output stream, and it defines the standards for the objects in our code.

using namespace std means that we are using object and variable names from the standard library (std). This statement is often abbreviated with the keyword std and the operator ::. The int main ( ) is used to specify the main function.

It is a very important part of C++ programs. A function essentially defines an action for your code. Anything within the curly brackets { } will be executed.

cout is an object (pronounced see – out). In this example, it defines our outputs: the strings of words. We write a new object using cout on the second line. The character \n makes the text execute on a different line.

Including two \n\n creates a blank space. By writing return 0, we are telling the program that nothing will return. We are only outputting strings of text. Note that we use the << operator to name our objects. The semi colon ; functions like a period.

C++ terms and vocabulary

Now that we have a sense of what C++ code looks like, let’s define some of the terms we mentioned and introduce you to a few more.

Keywords

Keywords are predetermined names that can be used to identify things in your code, such as particular objects, variables, or actions. You can also make your own keywords. Here are a few examples of it:

        • goto
        • float
        • public
        • class(1)
        • int

Variables

Variables are like containers that store values. To declare a variable, you must give it a value and a type using the correct keyword. All variables in C++ need a name, or identifier. You should follow some basic syntax rules when making identifiers.

        • Names are case sensitive
        • Names can contain letters, numbers, and underscores
        • Names must begin with a letter or an underscore
        • Names cannot contain whitespaces or special characters (!, #, @, etc.)
        • Names cannot use reserved keywords (for example, keywords in C++ like int)

There are six different types of variables:

Data types

Data types are the classifications for different kinds of data you can use in a program. Data types tell our variables what data they can store. There are three data types in C++:

        • Primitive data types: these are the built-in data that you can use to declare variables. They include integercharacterbooleanfloating pointdouble floating pointvoid, and wide character.
        • Derived data types: these are derived from the primitive data types. They include functionreferencearray, and pointer.
        • User-Defined data types: these are defined by you, the programmer.

Strings

Strings are objects in C++. They are a set of characters within ” “ quotes, like our ”Hello World” string. Since they are objects, we can perform functions to them, like the length ( ) function, which determines the length of a string.

Operators

Operators are symbols that manipulate your data and perform operations. In C++, you can overload operators to make them work for programmer-defined classes. Overloading an operator basically means that an operator can have more than one function at a time. There are four kinds of operators in the C++ language:

Objects

An object is a collection of data that we can act upon. An object in C++ has an attribute (its traits) and method (its abilities). You construct objects using a class. Think of this like a blueprint for an object.

You create a class using the class keyword. You must define an access specifier, such as publicprivate, or protected. The public keyword states that class is accessible from outside that class. Once you define your class, you can define your attributes and objects. Take a look below at an example of a class and object.

Output for this code is:

Dog name is: rover 
Dog gender is: male 
Dog age is: 5

Functions

Functions are blocks of code that run when they are invoked. They are the workhorse for your program and are used to perform operations and manipulations on your code.

They are extremely important for code reusability and help to better modularize your code. Think of these like actions that you initiate. In C++, there are predetermined functions, like the main ( ) of our initial example.

To create a function, you have to give it a name (called the declaration) and parentheses ( ). You can then invoke this function at any point by using that name ( ).

There are a lot of ways to use functions. You can also attach return values to your functions, which determine if a function should output any information. The void keyword states that there will be no return. The return keyword, on the other hand, will call for a data type output.

Conditional statements

These allow you to perform checks on whether a block of code should be executed or not. There are four conditional statements in C++:

        • if: a certain action will be performed if a certain condition is met
        • else: a certain action will be performed instead if that condition is not met
        • else if: a new condition will be tested if the first is not met
        • switch: tests a variable against a list of values

Loops

Loops are similar to conditional statements. They execute blocks of code as long as a certain condition is reached. There are two types of loops in C++:

        • while loops: this loop will continue to iterate through your code while a condition returns true.
        • for loops: this is used when you know the exact number of times you want to loop in your code

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Thank you & Happy Training!

Source: educative.io

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