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What is C, What is C++, and What is the Difference?

  • C is a programming language originally developed for developing the Unix operating system. It is a low-level and powerful language, but it lacks many modern and useful constructs. C++ is a newer language, based on C, that adds many more modern programming language features that make it easier to program than C.
  • Basically, C++ maintains all aspects of the C language, while providing new features to programmers that make it easier to write useful and sophisticated programs.
  • For example, C++ makes it easier to manage memory and adds several features to allow "object-oriented" programming and "generic" programming. Basically, it makes it easier for programmers to stop thinking about the nitty-gritty details of how the machine works and think about the problems they are trying to solve.

So, what is C++ used for?

  • C++ is a powerful general-purpose programming language. It can be used to create small programs or large applications. It can be used to make CGI scripts or console-only DOS programs. C++ allows you to create programs to do almost anything you need to do.

Intro to the C++ Language

  • A C++ program is a collection of commands, which tell the computer to do "something". This collection of commands is usually called C++ source code, source code or just code. Commands are either "functions" or "keywords". Keywords are a basic building block of the language, while functions are, in fact, usually written in terms of simpler functions--you'll see this in our very first program, below. (Confused? Think of it a bit like an outline for a book; the outline might show every chapter in the book; each chapter might have its own outline, composed of sections. Each section might have its own outline, or it might have all of the details written up.) Thankfully, C++ provides a great many common functions and keywords that you can use.

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