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Last Updated: Sep 2, 2023

Introduction to C++


C++ is an object-oriented programming language and it is widely used for competitive programming. C++ is a powerful language and finds wide use in various GUI platforms, and real-time simulations.

This article aims at providing a deep understanding of multiple concepts of C++ to a beginner. For better performance, it is systematically classified into proper subheadings.

Read More About, C++ Basics

Introduction to C++

What is C++?

C++ is a programming language that follows the Object-Oriented Programming paradigm, which gives a clear structure and increases the reusability of the code. Like other programming languages, C++ also has similar concepts, such as keywords, variables, functions, data structures, loops, and conditional statements, which we will discuss in detail in the article.

C++ is one of the oldest programming languages and also a superset of C with some extra features such as Object-Oriented Programming and Exception Handling. There is a similarity between C++ and C in that both are case-sensitive for their identifiers. 

C++ is used to develop operating systems, to develop games, GUI-based applications, and even compilers because C++ is a fast and strongly-typed programming language.

History of C++

  • C++ is a high-level, object-oriented programming language developed in the early 1980s by Bjarne Stroustrup at Bell Labs. The language was initially designed to extend the popular C programming language to support object-oriented programming and other features not present in C.
  • One of the primary goals of the C++ language was to provide a more efficient and flexible way to write software for large-scale systems. To achieve this goal, Stroustrup added several features to C++, including support for classes, inheritance, polymorphism, templates, and exceptions.
  • Since its creation, C++ has been one of the most popular programming languages globally. It is widely used in operating systems, video games, web browsers, and scientific simulations. Many popular software libraries and frameworks, such as Qt, Boost, and the Standard Template Library (STL), are written in C++.

Why learn C++

The reasons to learn C++ are listed below-

C++ is a widely-used language in the industry, with a long history of applications in video games, operating systems, and finance.

C++ provides high performance and efficiency, focusing on low-level memory manipulation and hardware interaction.

Learning C++ helps build a strong foundation in object-oriented programming, a valuable skill for many software development roles.

C++ offers various features, including templatespolymorphism, and exception handling.

C++ is a universal language used in many platforms and operating systems, making it a valuable skill for cross-platform development.

Features of C++

  • C++ is a high-level programming language that supports object-oriented, generic, and procedural programming paradigms. 
  • It is fast and efficient to write high-performance code for various applications. 
  • Some of the key features of C++ include support for classes and objects, templates, operator overloading, exception handling, and low-level memory manipulation.
  • Additionally, C++ is compatible with many other programming languages and platforms, making it a versatile tool for software development.

Different Versions of C++

The entire timeline of C++ is as follows-

  • C++98: The first standardized version of C++, released in 1998, introduced many of the language's core features, such as templates, exception handling, and namespaces.
  • C++03: An incremental update to C++98, released in 2003, added minor language features and clarified some specification details.
  • C++11: A significant update to C++, released in 2011, introduced several new language features, including lambda expressions, range-based for loops, and automatic type deduction.
  • C++14: An incremental update to C++11, released in 2014, added more language features, such as binary literals and generic lambdas.
  • C++17: Another major update to C++, released in 2017, added several new features, including structured bindings and fold expressions.
  • C++20: The latest version of C++, released in 2020, introduces many new features, such as concepts, coroutines, and modules. It also includes several improvements and refinements to existing language features.
  • C++23: An upcoming version of C++ that is currently in development and expected to be released in 2023, which is expected to add several new features such as pattern matching and ranges.

Setting up C++(Environment)

The following steps are to set up a C++ environment(VS code).

Step 1: Install a C++ compiler.

The first step is to install a C++ compiler on your computer. A compiler is a program that translates your C++ code into machine-readable instructions that your computer can execute. There are several C++ compilers available, such as GCC, Clang, and Microsoft Visual C++. In this example, we'll use GCC.

To install GCC on a Windows computer, follow these steps:

  • Download the GCC installer from the official website: 
  • GCC Installer
  • Run the installer. Make sure to select the "C++" component during the installation process.

To install GCC on a Mac, you can use Homebrew, a package manager for macOS:

  • Open the Terminal application.
  • Install Homebrew by running the following command: /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"
  • Install GCC by running the following command: "brew install gcc".

Step 2: Install Visual Studio Code.

You'll need to install Visual Studio Code if you haven't already. You can download it from the official website: Visual studio.

Step 3: Install the C++ extension for Visual Studio Code.

To write and compile C++ code in Visual Studio Code, you'll need to install the C++ extension. Here's how:

  • Open Visual Studio Code.
  • Click on the Extensions icon on the left-hand side of the window (or press Ctrl+Shift+X).
  • In the search bar, type "C++" and press Enter.
  • Click on the "C/C++" extension from Microsoft and click the "Install" button.

Step 4: Create a new C++ project in Visual Studio Code.

Now that you have installed the C++ compiler and the C++ extension for Visual Studio Code, you can create a new C++ project. Here's how:

  1. Open Visual Studio Code.
  2. Click on "File" and select "New Folder."
  3. Name your project folder and click "Create Folder."
  4. Click on "File" and select "New File."
  5. Type in a name for your C++ file, followed by the ".cpp" extension (for example, "main. cpp"), and press Enter.
  6. Type in your C++ code in the editor.

Step 5: Configure the C++ extension in Visual Studio Code.

Before compiling and running your C++ code in Visual Studio Code, you must configure the C++ extension. Here's how:

  • Click on the "View" menu and select "Command Palette" (or press Ctrl+Shift+P).
  • Type "C++" in the search bar and select "C/C++: Edit Configurations (JSON)" from the list.
  • It will open the "c_cpp_properties.json" file. Replace the file's contents with the following code:
	"configurations": [
			"name": "Win32",
			"includePath": [
			"defines": [
			"compilerPath": "g++.exe",
			"cStandard": "gnu17",
			"cppStandard": "gnu++14",
			"intelliSenseMode": "gcc-x64"
	"version": 4


  • Save the file.

Fibonacci Series in C++

Data Types in C++

The data types in C++ are as follows:

Basic data types:

  • Int: integer values.
  • Float single-precision floating-point values.
  • Double: double-precision floating-point values.
  • Bool: boolean values (true or false).
  • Char: single character values.

Derived data types:

  • Array: a collection of values of the same data type.
  • Pointer: a variable that stores the memory address of another variable.
  • Reference: an alias for an existing variable.
  • Function: a block of code that performs a specific task.

User-defined data types:

  • Struct: a collection of data items of different types.
  • Class: a collection of data items and member functions that operate on those data items.
  • Union: a data type that allows storing multiple data types in the exact memory location.

Other data types:

  • Enum: a user-defined data type that consists of a set of named values
  • Typedef: a keyword used to create an alias for a primitive data type.
  • Auto: a keyword that lets the compiler automatically deduce the data type of a variable based on its initialization value.
  • decltype: a keyword that allows the programmer to determine the data type of an expression at compile time.

Ranges of basic C++ data types.

Data TypesRange

-127 to 127 or 0 to 255



-2147483648 to 2147483647


long long int

-(2^63) to (2^63)-1



1 wide character


Also see, Abstract Data Types in C++

Different Operators in c++

1. Arithmetic Operators:

These perform mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Some examples of arithmetic operators include, Addition (+), Subtraction (-), Multiplication (*), Division (/), Modulus (%), Increment (++), and Decrement (--).

2. Comparison Operators: 

These Operators are used to compare two variables or values where the operator is supposed to be put in between the 2 operands or variables.

These are used for comparing two values and returning a Boolean value (true or false) based on the comparison result. Some examples of comparison operators include:

  • Equal to (==)
  • Not equal to (!=)
  • Greater than (>)
  • Less than (<)
  • Greater than or equal to (>=)
  • Less than or equal to (<=)

3. Logical Operators

These Operators are used to perform logical operations on boolean values that can be put in between 2 operands or variables.

These combine and evaluate multiple conditions as a single condition. Some examples of logical operators include:

  • Logical AND (&&)
  • Logical OR (||)
  • Logical NOT (!)

4. Bitwise Operators:

These Operators are used to manipulate binary data that is supposed to be put in between the 2 operands or before 1 operand (depending upon the type of bitwise operator).

These are used for manipulating the bits of a value. Some examples of bitwise operators include:

  • Bitwise AND (&)
  • Bitwise OR (|)
  • Bitwise XOR (^)
  • Bitwise NOT (~)
  • Left shift (<<)
  • Right shift (>>)

Functions in C++

Functions in C++ are self-contained blocks of code that perform a specific task. They are used to break down an extensive program into smaller, more manageable units and to make the code more organized, reusable, and modular.

The advantages of using functions in C++ are

  1. Code reuse: Functions can be called multiple times from different program parts, reducing the need to rewrite the same code repeatedly.
  2. Modularity: Functions allow you to break down an extensive program into smaller, more manageable units, which makes the code more organized and easier to understand and maintain.
  3. Abstraction: Functions are to abstract away the implementation details of a complex operation and provide a simple interface to the user.
  4. Encapsulation: Functions hide the internal workings of a program and expose only the necessary information to the user.


  • C++


double calcArea(double length, double width) 
   double area = length * width;
   return area;

int main()
   double length, width;
   cout << "Enter the length and width:" << end;
   cin >> length >> width;
   double area = calcArea(length, width);
   cout << "The area of the rectangle is: " << area << endl;
   return 0;

In this example, we define calcArea that takes two double arguments, length, and width, and returns the area of a rectangle. The function body calculates the area and returns it using the return statement.

In the main() function, we prompt the user to enter the length and width of the rectangle and then call the calcArea function with those values. The result is stored in the area variable, then printed to the console.

There are four return types in C++:

  1. void: Functions that do not return a value are declared with a void return type.
  2. Integral types: Functions that return an integral value (e.g., int, short, long, char) are declared with the appropriate return type.
  3. Floating-point types: Functions that return a floating-point value (e.g., float, double) are declared with the appropriate return type.
  4. User-defined types: Functions that return a user-defined type (e.g., a class object) are declared with the appropriate return type.

Applications of C++

Some applications of C++ are as follows:

applications of C++


C++ is used to develop trading algorithms, risk management systems, and other financial software that requires high performance and low latency.


C++ is used to develop network protocols and other software that requires low-level control over network resources.

Graphics and multimedia

C++ is used to develop applications requiring fast images and video processing, such as image editors and encoders. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

C++ is used to develop machine learning algorithms and other applications that require high-performance computation.

Web development

While less popular than other languages for web development, C++ can be used to develop server-side applications and web services.

Object-Oriented Programming (OOPs)

Classes in C++ are user-defined data types that encapsulate data and functions into a single unit. A class can be well considered as an object blueprint which is instance of the class. The syntax for defining a class in C++ is as follows.

class Student
        int marks;
        void set(int val) {
            marks = val;
        int get() {
            return marks;

In this example, we define a class called Student with a private member variable marks and two public member functions set and get.

Objects are instances of a class that are created during runtime. They represent real-world entities or concepts and have attributes associated with them. For example, a car can be represented as an object of a Car class, with attributes such as color, make, and model and behaviors such as starting, stopping and accelerating.

The four concepts of Object Oriented Programming are-


It is one of the fundamental concepts of object-oriented programming, which allows a new class to be based on an existing class, inheriting its properties and methods. The class inherited from is known as the base class, and the inherited class is known as the derived class. The derived class can inherit all the non-private properties and methods of the base class, and it can also add its properties and methods or override the properties and methods of the base class.


There are several types of inheritance in C++:

  1. Single Inheritance: When a class is derived from a single base class.
  2. Multiple Inheritance: When a class is derived from two or more base classes.
  3. Multi-level Inheritance: When a derived class is used as the base class for another derived class.
  4. Hierarchical Inheritance: When two or more derived classes are created from a single base class.

Inheritance promotes code reusability by allowing the derived class to inherit the properties and methods of the base class without having to rewrite the code. In addition, inheritance allows the derived class to add new properties and methods and to modify or override the properties and methods of the base class.


Abstraction is a core concept in computer science that involves simplifying complex entities by focusing on their essential features and ignoring irrelevant details. This process enables us to break down complex systems and ideas into more manageable parts that can be easily understood and manipulated.

In programming, abstraction can take various forms, such as data abstraction, procedural abstraction, and object-oriented abstraction. Data abstraction involves hiding the implementation details of data and providing a simple interface for accessing and manipulating it. Procedural abstraction involves creating functions or procedures to perform specific tasks without revealing implementation details. Object-oriented abstraction involves creating objects that encapsulate data and behavior to model real-world entities.


Polymorphism is a fundamental concept in object-oriented programming that enables objects to take on multiple forms or behaviors. Different objects can respond to the same message or method call in various ways. Polymorphism is a core principle of OOP, and it plays a vital role in creating flexible and reusable software systems.

Polymorphism can be achieved in several ways in OOP. One way is method overloading, which allows multiple methods with the same name but different parameters to coexist within the same class. Another way is method overriding, where a subclass provides a specific implementation of a method already defined in its superclass. 


Encapsulation is an essential concept in object-oriented programming (OOP) that refers to the bundling of data and behavior within a single unit, typically known as a class. The idea behind encapsulation is to create an abstraction layer that separates the internal workings of a class from the external code that uses it.

In other words, encapsulation allows us to hide the implementation details of a class from other parts of the program so that those other parts can interact with the class through a well-defined interface. This interface consists of public methods and properties accessed outside the class.

Advanced Concepts of C++

Exception Handling

Exception handling is a crucial programming technique for dealing with unexpected errors or exceptions during program execution. When an exception occurs, the program's normal flow is interrupted, and the program may either crash or produce incorrect results.

Programming languages provide a mechanism for detecting and reacting. In case of an error, the program can use exception handling to catch the exception, perform an appropriate action such as logging an error message, recovering from the exception, and continue executing the program.

The basic steps involved in exception handling are:

  • Detecting an exception occurs when an error occurs during program execution.
  • Raising an exception: This is done by explicitly throwing an exception in the code when an error is encountered.
  • Catching an exception: This is done by surrounding the code that may generate an exception with a try-catch block. If an exception is added in the try block, it is caught in the catch block, which can be handled appropriately.
  • Handling an exception: This involves taking some action to recover from the exception, such as logging an error message, retrying the operation, or notifying the user of the error.

File Handling

A file system organizes and stores computer files and data on a storage device, such as a hard drive, flash drive, or CD-ROM. It provides a logical structure for the files and directories to be organized and accessed by the operating system and users.

Advantages of file system:

  • Organization: File systems provide a structured and organized way of storing data and files on a storage device, making it easier to manage and locate files.
  • Access Control: File systems enable administrators to set permissions and restrictions on files and directories, providing access control and security for sensitive data.
  • File Sharing: File systems allow sharing of files and data between users and applications on a network, increasing collaboration and productivity.
  • Backup and Recovery: File systems support backup and recovery operations, enabling users to restore data that has been lost or damaged due to system failures, disasters, or human error.
  • Efficiency: File systems optimize storage and retrieval operations, improving performance and reducing overhead on the storage device.

File operations are the essential functions performed on files and directories in a file system. Some everyday file operations include:

  • Create: creating a new file or directory
  • Read: reading the contents of a file
  • Write: writing data to a file
  • Rename: change the name of a file or directory
  • Delete: remove a file or directory
  • Copy: duplicating a file or directory
  • Move: moving a file or directory from one location to another.

Advantages of C++

The advantages of C++ are as follows;

  • C++ is a high-performance language capable of producing efficient code for various applications.
  • It supports multiple programming categories, including procedural, object-oriented, and generic.
  • C++ allows for low-level memory manipulation and direct access to hardware resources, making it well-suited for systems programming.
  • It has a large and active community of developers, leading to a rich library and tool ecosystem.
  • C++ supports strong type checking and compile-time error detection, which can lead to more reliable code.

Disadvantages of C++

The disadvantages of C++ are as follows;

  • Memory management can be challenging, as C++ requires manual memory allocation and deallocation, leading to memory leaks and other errors.
  • C++ has a steep learning curve, and it can take significant time to become proficient.
  • C++ code can be more challenging to read and understand than other languages due to its use of pointers, operator overloading, and other advanced features.
  • C++ needs standardized libraries, making developing applications in specific domains, such as web development, more challenging.
  • C++ can be more prone to errors and bugs than other languages due to its low-level control over system resources.

Limitations of C++

  • C++ lacks built-in garbage collection, requiring manual memory management, which can be error-prone and time-consuming.
  • C++ does not have native concurrency support, requiring external libraries or manual implementation using threads or processes.
  • C++ can be difficult to debug due to the lack of runtime error checking and the potential for undefined behavior.
  • C++ lacks support for reflection and runtime type information, making certain types of introspection and dynamic programming more difficult.
  • C++ can be less expressive than other languages, requiring more verbose syntax and boilerplate code to achieve specific tasks.

Careers in C++

  • Financial software developer: Develop trading algorithms, risk management systems, and other financial software using C++.
  • Networking engineer: Develop network protocols and other software that requires low-level control over network resources using C++.
  • Graphics programmer: Develop applications that require fast images and video processing, such as image editors and video encoders, using C++.
  • Game developer: Develop video games for consoles, PCs, and mobile devices using C++.
  • Systems programmer: Develop low-level software, such as device drivers and operating systems, using C++.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between C++ & C?

C++ is an object-oriented language that is an extension of C. C++ includes features such as classes, inheritance, polymorphism, and templates, which are unavailable in C.

What is C++ used for?

C++ is used to develop operating systems, to develop games, database management software, embedded systems, banking systems, GUI-based applications, advanced computations, graphics, and even in compilers because C++ is a fast and strongly-typed programming language.

What is the basics of C++?

C++ is a programming language that follows the Object-Oriented Programming paradigm, which gives a clear structure and increases the reusability of the code. C++ is a superset of C languages with some extensible features such as Object-Oriented Programming and Exception Handling.

What are the 4 types of programming language?

Here are the 4 types of programming languages are as follows procedural programming language, functional programming languages, object oriented programming language, and scripting languages.


We conclude that C++ is a powerful and popular language widely used for system programming, game development, and other high-performance applications. It provides features such as classes, inheritance, polymorphism, and templates for efficient and modular code. The language has a steep learning curve, but its vast community and extensive documentation make it easier to master. C++ is suitable for large-scale projects that require high performance, low-level memory management, and flexibility in code design.

Also check out this article - Pair in C++