ISO C++ evolving faster than before

May 20, 2013 Francisco Almeida General

The ISO C++ 2011 standard was a very exciting (and on some of its features, controversial) development for the language, up until when it was finalized and approved. There was hope, though not without some skepticism, that the standard would evolve at a faster pace in the future.

Fast forward to May 2013, and what we see is that the standards committee is delivering on their promise: A feature-complete working draft for the upcoming language standard, called by some C++14 (or C++1y by the most cautious) has been written as a result of the Bristol meeting, and published on the official standard C++ site. You can download a copy of the working draft here.

Among the approved new features of this minor standard update are quite a few standard library additions (such as the file system library and the very often requested make_unique), variable templates, generic lambdas and “Concepts Lite”.

A common complaint C++ developers used to have is that compilers also do not adapt quickly enough to the new standard. While it is debatable whether two years is too long a time span for integrating a new standard, the amount of changes between C++98 and C++11 was massive, both on language features and standard library. Most compilers cover, in one way or another, the vast majority of the current standard features.

As of version 4.8.1 (which will officially be released in a matter of weeks), GCC will be C++11 feature complete; the Clang team has recently announced (via twitter) full standard compliance (will be part of a release this summer); and finally, Visual C++ continuously gets updated with further support of the current standard.


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