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Effective C++


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Table of Contents

Preface xvAcknowledgments xviiIntroduction 1Chapter 1: Accustoming Yourself to C++ 11

Item 1: View C++ as a federation of languages. 11Item 2: Prefer consts, enums, and inlines to #defines. 13Item 3: Use const whenever possible. 17Item 4: Make sure that objects are initialized before they're used. 26

Chapter 2: Constructors, Destructors, and Assignment Operators 34

Item 5: Know what functions C++ silently writes and calls. 34Item 6: Explicitly disallow the use of compiler-generated functions you do not want. 37Item 7: Declare destructors virtual in polymorphic base classes. 40Item 8: Prevent exceptions from leaving destructors. 44Item 9: Never call virtual functions during construction or destruction. 48Item 10: Have assignment operators return a reference to *this. 52Item 11: Handle assignment to self in operator=. 53Item 12: Copy all parts of an object. 57

Chapter 3: Resource Management 61

Item 13: Use objects to manage resources. 61Item 14: Think carefully about copying behavior in resource-managing classes. 66Item 15: Provide access to raw resources in resource-managing classes. 69Item 16: Use the same form in corresponding uses of new and delete. 73Item 17: Store newed objects in smart pointers in standalone statements. 75

Chapter 4: Designs and Declarations 78

Item 18: Make interfaces easy to use correctly and hard to use incorrectly. 78Item 19: Treat class design as type design. 84Item 20: Prefer pass-by-reference-to-const to pass-by-value. 86Item 21: Don't try to return a reference when you must return an object. 90Item 22: Declare data members private. 94Item 23: Prefer non-member non-friend functions to member functions. 98Item 24: Declare non-member functions when type conversions should apply to all parameters. 102Item 25: Consider support for a non-throwing swap. 106

Chapter 5: Implementations 113

Item 26: Postpone variable definitions as long as possible. 113Item 27: Minimize casting. 116Item 28: Avoid returning "handles" to object internals. 123Item 29: Strive for exception-safe code. 127Item 30: Understand the ins and outs of inlining. 134Item 31: Minimize compilation dependencies between files. 140

Chapter 6: Inheritance and Object-Oriented Design 149

Item 32: Make sure public inheritance models "is-a." 150Item 33: Avoid hiding inherited names. 156Item 34: Differentiate between inheritance of interface and inheritance of implementation. 161Item 35: Consider alternatives to virtual functions. 169Item 36: Never redefine an inherited non-virtual function. 178Item 37: Never redefine a function's inherited default parameter value. 180Item 38: Model "has-a" or "is-implemented-in-terms-of" through composition. 184Item 39: Use private inheritance judiciously. 187Item 40: Use multiple inheritance judiciously. 192

Chapter 7: Templates and Generic Programming 199

Item 41: Understand implicit interfaces and compile-time polymorphism. 199Item 42: Understand the two meanings of typename. 203Item 43: Know how to access names in templatized base classes. 207Item 44: Factor parameter-independent code out of templates. 212Item 45: Use member function templates to accept "all compatible types." 218Item 46: Define non-member functions inside templates when type conversions are desired. 222Item 47: Use traits classes for information about types. 226Item 48: Be aware of template metaprogramming. 233

Chapter 8: Customizing new and delete 239

Item 49: Understand the behavior of the new-handler. 240Item 50: Understand when it makes sense to replace new and delete. 247Item 51: Adhere to convention when writing new and delete. 252Item 52: Write placement delete if you write placement new. 256

Chapter 9: Miscellany 262

Item 53: Pay attention to compiler warnings. 262Item 54: Familiarize yourself with the standard library, including TR1. 263Item 55: Familiarize yourself with Boost. 269

Appendix A: Beyond Effective C++ 273Appendix B: Item Mappings Between Second and Third Editions 277Index 280

Promotional Information

Effective C++ 3/e is a complete update of Effective C++ and Effective C++ 2/e .
Like its predecessors, 3/e has 55 guidelines which contain better, more
effective ways to write code, backed by specific examples. The second edition
published in 1997, and was basically a face-lift of the first edition, keeping most
of the same elements, and seven years later is still selling well.
Now, Meyers has dramatically rejuvenated the material, including more than
30% brand-new material. Meyers began this edition by asking himself, "What
are the 55 most important pieces of advice for practicing C++ programmers in
2005?" He also asked thousands of past users of his books this same question.
This resulted in a completely new book. New material includes use of UML
notation, thread safety, exception safety, design patterns, and templates. Any
older material has been revitalized to reflect new ideas and strides in C++

About the Author

Scott Meyers is one of the world's foremost authorities on C++, providing training and consulting services to clients worldwide. He is the author of the best-selling Effective C++ series of books (Effective C++, More Effective C++, and Effective STL) and of the innovative Effective C++ CD. He is consulting editor for Addison Wesley's Effective Software Development Series and serves on the Advisory Board for The C++ Source ( He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University. His web site is

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