Home > Store

Applied C++: Practical Techniques for Building Better Software

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Applied C++: Practical Techniques for Building Better Software


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
Not for Sale


  • Copyright 2003
  • Dimensions: 7-3/8" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 352
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-10894-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-10894-4

This book takes C++ a step further from the books that describe specific features of C++. It provides concrete techniques and methods for delivering commercial-quality software; software that must be portable across many platforms, meet performance goals, and be maintainable and understandable both to customers and internal developers alike. The authors include a simple image processing system to demonstrate the techniques of developing robust C++ software; it's a really fun and interesting system for programmers and developers. After reading the book, you will have an image processing framework that is useful for manipulating digital images and a practical toolkit of C++ utilities. This book is unique because it is about software development, not just programming. Sections like Reusable Code and Portability will get the reader thinking about more than trying to come up with the fastest way to code the solution to a problem.


CD Contents

Untitled Document Download the CD-ROM materials for Applied C++: Practical Techniques for Building Better Software


Author's Site

Click for the Author's Web Site related to this title.

Sample Content

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Download Sample Chapter 3 related to this title.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction.

Imaging Basics.

RGB Images.

HSI Images.


2. A Test Application.

Image Class Design.

Thumbnail Class.

Thumbnail Algorithm.


Image Class.

Thumbnail Class.


3. Design Techniques.

Memory Allocation.

Why a Memory Allocation Object Is Needed.

Memory Allocation Object Requirements.

A Primer on Templates.

Notations Used in Class Diagrams.

Memory Allocator Objects Class Hierarchy.


Why Prototyping Works.

Common Fears.

Our Image Framework Prototyping Strategy.

Prototype 1: Simple Image Objects.

Prototype 2: Templated Image Objects.

Prototype 3: Separating Storage from Image Objects.


4. Design Considerations.

Coding Guidelines.

Changes to Existing Software.

Naming Conventions.



Header File Issues.


Reusable Code.

The Economics of Reusability.

Designing in Debugging Support.

Creating a Generalized Debugging Stream.

Creating Sinks.

Connecting a Sink to a Stream.

Controlling Debugging Output.

Accessing Objects Indirectly Through an Object Registry.


5. System Considerations.

Multithreaded and Multiprocess Designs.


Thread Synchronization.


Exception Handling.

Designing Your Own Exception Framework.

Avoiding Exception Abuse.

Using Assertions.

Compile-Time Versus Run-Time Issues.

Compiler Issues.

Run-Time Issues.

Template Specialization.

Coding for Internationalization.


A Simple Resource Manager for Strings.

Saving and Restoring Strings from Files.

An Alternate Approach to Handling Strings.



6. Implementation Considerations.

Finalizing the Image Components.

Image Coordinates.

Image Storage.

Pixel Types.

Finalizing the Image Class.

Image Object.

Adding Global Image Functions.

Copying an Image.

Processing Single Source Images.

Processing Two Source Images.

Processing Images with Neighborhood Operators.

Generating Thumbnails.

Finalizing Interfaces to Third-Party Software.

File Delegates.

Image Delegates.


7. Testing and Performance.

Unit Tests.

Using the Unit Test Framework.

Design of the Unit Test Framework.

Extending the Unit Test Framework.

Performance Tuning.

General Guidelines.

Thirteen Ways to Improve Performance.

Image-Specific Improvements.

A Note About Timing Your Code.


8. Advanced Topics.

Memory Issues.

Copy on Write.

Caching Issues.

Language Construct Issues.

Explicit Keyword Usage.

Const Usage.

Pass by Reference Usage.

Extending the Framework.

Adding Image Processing Functions.

Enhancing Digital Photographs.


A. Useful Online Resources.



B. CD-ROM Information.





DebugView Utility.

Intel C++ Compiler.


Intel Integrated Performance Primitives (IPP).




Index. 0321108949T04142003


This book is about applying C++ to solve the problems inherent in building commercial software. Those of you who have worked on engineering teams building complex software will know exactly what we mean by calling it commercial software.

Commercial software is delivered to customers (either internal or external) who will rely on the interface you provide. It may be in an embedded system or it may be a software library or application for standard platforms. No matter where it ultimately runs, the software must be released at a particular time with all of the features it needs to be successful in the market. It is software that is built by one group of engineers and potentially extended and maintained by other engineers. These engineers who take over maintaining the software may not have been part of the original team and they may have to add new features or try to fix a problem while visiting a customer's site.

Getting a large group of engineers to build a complex piece of software and deliver it on time with full functionality is one of software engineering's biggest challenges. An even bigger challenge is building that same software in such a way that it can be handed off to others to extend and maintain. The C++ techniques and practical tips we have compiled into this book have been used repeatedly to accomplish just this. In many cases, we draw a distinction between the ideal solution and the practical solution. We try to provide discussions of the trade-offs so that you can make informed decisions, and we tell you what our criteria are when selecting one method over another. We leave it to you to determine what works best in your application. Our goal is to share practical techniques that we have found made our commercial software efforts much more successful than they otherwise would have been. We hope you will find them useful.

For those of you who prefer to learn by looking at the code, you will find plenty of examples. We illustrate all of these techniques by using a concrete example that runs throughout the book. Because it was our experiences with imaging software that prompted us to write this book, we use an example from the image processing domain, although the C++ techniques are applicable to any domain.

We start with a simple, although inadequate, application that generates thumbnail images. We use this application in our prototyping phases to experiment with different C++ design and implementation techniques. The application is simple to understand and the results of applying various C++ techniques are immediately obvious, making it a nice candidate for prototyping. This simple thumbnail generator application also has many of the same inherent problems that our final image framework will have to address. It is:

  • Memory intensive. Working with images requires efficient use of memory as images can get quite large and unwieldy. Managing memory becomes critical to the overall performance of the application.
  • Performance intensive. While generating thumbnails is a straightforward image processing technique, others that we introduce later in the book (such as edge sharpening and noise reduction) require thoughtful designs to make them usable. It's great to have cool image functions to manipulate your digital images, but they are useless if they take a really long time to run.

Upon completion, you will have an image processing framework that is immediately useful for manipulating your digital images and a practical toolkit of C++ utilities. The framework will provide efficient image storage and memory usage, some routines for manipulating your digital images (like edge sharpening, image resizing, noise reduction, edge detection, image subtraction, and more), interfaces to third-party software, and many performance optimizations. It will be a useful piece of software that has practical design and implementation features so that it could be used, if you wanted, as the basis of a commercial software product.

The complete source code for both the thumbnail generator application, the prototypes, and the final image framework can be found on the included CD. Any updates to the software can be found at the web site: http://www.appliedcpp.com.

Intended Audience

This book expects you to be familiar with C++ so that when we apply various constructs from the language, you have either seen or used them before. We also hope that you have built applications either for personal or commercial use and are familiar with what the Standard Template Library (STL) can provide. We hope to engage you in detailed discussions of the advantages and disadvantages of certain C++ constructs. And finally, we hope you really like to look at actual code examples, because the book is filled with them.

We do not attempt to provide a reference for the C++ language, although we do provide, as a refresher, primers and reviews of those topics that have exacting syntax or are not used as frequently. For the basics of the C++ language, we refer you to The C++ Programming Language Stroustrup97 For in depth discussions on certain C++ constructs, such as reference counting, we refer you to Effective C++, Second Edition Meyers97. For information on the Standard Template Library, we refer you to Effective STL Meyers01. For information on using C++ Templates, we refer you to C++ Templates: A Complete Guide Vandevoorde02.

As for our chosen application area of digital imaging, we don't expect you to have any experience with writing software that manipulates images. We provide some basic background on imaging that you can review; if you are familiar with imaging then you can skip that section. Any time we talk about a particular operation that we apply to an image, we take the time to give a simple explanation as well as some before and after pictures before proceeding to the code example. If you want an in depth, mathematical discussion of image processing operations, we refer you to Digital Image Processing Pratt78.

How To Use This Book

The book is intended to be read sequentially, since there is a concrete example introduced in Chapter 2 and used to evolve the final design of the image framework presented in Chapter 5. Throughout the book, we highlight the C++ techniques we are exploring in each chapter through heading titles and through summary boxes that appear on the first page of each chapter.

The book is organized as follows:

Chapter 1, Introduction, provides an overview of what we set out to accomplish by writing this book, and our background and biases as they apply to the C++ techniques we recommend. We also provide a background section on digital imaging that is optional. If you have experience working with imaging applications, you may want to skip the final section of this chapter.

Chapter 2, A Test Application, introduces our simple, inadequate application that we use as a test bed for prototyping C++ techniques. We deliberately create this strikingly simple application because it effectively demonstrates the trade-offs of various design and implementation decisions.

Chapter 3, Design Techniques, begins our discussion of C++ design. Again, we use lots of code examples to demonstrate design strategies. We also provide a primer on templates as a refresher since they are used so heavily within the book. Finally, we prototype various aspects of the design and build general utilities needed to support the design.

Chapter 4, Design Considerations, explores guidelines and additional strategies you may want to include in your designs. We offer you a practical set of coding guidelines, reusability strategies, and a simple, but effective, debugging strategy.

Chapter 5, System Considerations, explores system level design issues, like multi-threaded and multi-process designs, exception handling (including a framework for handling exceptions that we provide), compile time and run time issues, template specialization, and internationalization concerns.

Chapter 6, Implementation Considerations, takes all of the C++ techniques we have explored and finalizes the design and implementation of all pieces in the image framework. In addition, this chapter introduces the global image processing functions, like edge sharpening and noise reduction, and provides a visual overview of these techniques as well as providing the C++ implementations. We also provide a high-level interface for third-party software, such as file formats and libraries. Specifically, we introduce you to the Intel Performance Primitives (IPP) library and show you how to use IPP for high-speed imaging applications.

Chapter 7, Testing and Performance Considerations, provides a reasonable strategy for integrating unit tests into your software development cycle, including a full unit test framework and a discussion of how you can extend it to meet your particular needs. We also focus on performance, giving specific techniques that you can use to immediately improve the run-time performance of your application.

Chapter 8, Advanced Topics, explores those issues that we felt warranted more detailed discussions, such as copy on write, caching, explicit keyword usage, const, and pass by reference. In addition, we've added a section on extending the image framework to serve as a guide to taking the existing framework and adding your own processing functions. We've highlighted some routines that work particularly well for enhancing your digital photographs.

Appendix A, Useful Online Resources, provides links to those software tools and resources that we felt might be helpful.

Appendix B, CD-ROM Information, outlines the contents of the CD-ROM included with this book. There is a great deal of code presented in this book. All of the source code for our test application, prototypes, and image framework is included on the CD. In addition, we provide all of the unit tests, unit test framework, and makefiles necessary to run the software on a variety of platforms. We also include the evaluation version of the Intel Performance Primitives (IPP) library for you to explore.

Conventions We Use

We use a small number of conventions in the book as follows:

  • The "X" symbol indicates a coding practice that is not recommended. The indicated code may be syntactically correct, but it may be inefficient or unsafe or have other problems that the corresponding text discusses.
  • The compass symbol indicates a tip that we are providing. Tips can be either things to do or things not to do; they are highlighted because we feel that they represent important information.
  • In the interest of brevity, the code comments ("//comments") that we include in the book do not include the full comments that are present in the source code. The CD contains the complete source code, which is fully commented.
--Philip Romanik
--Amy Muntz



Download the Index file related to this title.


Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020