Today we’re starting a new and exciting experiment: 30 c++ tips in 30 days. In the next 30 days, I'll be posting a new C++ tip every day. The tips will cover various aspects of C++ programming: general techniques for becoming a seasoned programmer, code safety, performance and the Standard Library.
The first tip answers one of the most frequent questions I receive: "what is your best tip for becoming an expert C++ programmer?"
The recipe for becoming a top-notch programmer begins with a simple precept:
Know thy Programming Language
The basis for any IT skill is expertise, and expertise is achieved by through and accurate studying of the subject.
Acquiring an expert's knowledge takes time and requires constant updating because C++, as all widely-used programming languages, is changing all the time.
Reading the C++ standard itself is a good starting point although for the majority of users, the terse and technical language in which the C++ standard is written might be too difficult. You can find excellent C++ books that are based on pedantic annotation and interpretation of the latest C++ standard. You can also find excellent books that depict a specific sub-topic of standard C++, e.g., Pete Becker's Standard Library Extensions: A Tutorial and Reference which is dedicated to TR1 exclusively, or if you're looking for an excellent templates tutorial, I can recommend Vandevoorde and Josuttis' C++ Templates: The Complete Guide. You can browse sample chapters from these and other excellent C++ books online and decide which ones are detailed and clear enough. You can also find some free ebooks as well. The bottom line however is this: get to know standard C++ well enough -- that knowledge is a prerequisite for becoming an expert.
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