Is C++ Still Relevant in 2022?

C++ has been one of the most popular languages in the past few decades. However, many people are becoming doubtful of whether it can keep up with modern development trends.

The question that comes up is: Is C++ relevant in 2022?

In this article, we'll try to give you an answer by providing more details about this programming language, its use, and its pros and cons. Most importantly, we'll show you why C++ is still relevant in 2022.

What is C++?

C++, or "C with Classes," is a general-purpose programming language established by Bjarne Stroustrup as an extension of the C language. It represents a cross-platform programming language for developing high-performance applications.

Simula, widely regarded as the first object-oriented programming language, served as a major inspiration for developing C++. While programming for his Ph.D. thesis, Stroustrup considered Simula to be a convenient language to work with, but it was too sluggish for practical usage.

As a result, he wanted to add similar capabilities to C, resulting in a language that was both fast and high-level for the time. The first commercial use of C++ started in 1985 and has since been through several modifications to keep up with development trends. Especially, with the introduction of modern C++ (version C++11), the language celebrates a revolution in terms of functionalities, safety and ease of use. The international C++ committee (which agrees upon new language features) releases a new language standard every 3 years. The most recent one is C++20 and the upcoming will be C++23.

Where Is C++ Used?

C++ has found many real-world applications:

  • Gaming: C++ is quite efficient. It allows easy resource manipulation and procedural programming over CPU-intensive routines, necessary for the complexity of games.
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) applications: Applications like Photoshop and other Adobe products, Microsoft Office, Autocad, and others are written in C++.
  • Operating Systems: C++ provides a large set of system-level functions that aid in the development of low-level programs. Parts of the Apple OS and most of Microsoft Windows were written in C++.
  • Browsers: Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are also written in C++.
  • Embedded systems: C++ is used to construct many embedded systems that require the code to be closer to the hardware, such as smartwatches, medical devices systems, and so on. This also means that C++ is suitable for Internet of Things (IoT) systems.
  • AR/VR: Large volumes of data must be handled by AR/VR apps, which must alter continually based on input from camera sensors and human interactions. C++ is an excellent choice for handling all of this data and producing an immersive experience.

Advantages of C++

  • Close to hardware: It is well suited to embedded devices with limited computational resources.
    Abstraction: Although it is possible to work directly on the hardware, C++ still allows to build higher levels of abstraction, such that implementation details of the hardware, operating system etc. can be encpsulated.
  • Rich library: Numerous built-in functions in the C++ Standard Template Library (STL) make creating code easier. The extensive library support allows developers to make use of built-in containers, hashmaps, heaps, and other features to create more efficient programs.
  • Scalable: C++ may be used to create resource-intensive applications, as the programs can be both low-scale and high-scale.
  • Big community: C++ is used by a large number of developers who improve it and create open-source libraries. You may rely on the work that these people have already done when utilizing the language.
  • High-performance: C++ is one of the most efficient and reliable programming languages available, only competed by a few others in this sense.

Disadvantages of C++

  • High complexity: Because C++ is more closely related to C than other high-level languages, the code is quite complex. As a result, orienting developers in bigger projects might be difficult. Furthermore, writing applications usually requires longer development cycles than with python, java or C# for instance.
  • Security challenges: The inclusion of pointers, global variables, and similar is causing some security-related challenges. This indicates that by employing an improper type in a section of the memory, it is possible to undermine the entire system.
  • Less adaptable: C++ is quite stringent when it comes to syntax, and even the tiniest inaccuracy may result in a cascade of problems. C++ takes significantly longer to master than any other programming language. It is challenging to produce understandable C++ code, which makes the language less user-friendly and adaptable for the user. This also results in slower development times.

Why Is C++ Still Relevant Today?

C++ is still in great demand in 2022 due to its exceptional dependability, performance, and scalability. Video game development is one of the most notable uses of C++. Unity Engine, PhyreEngine, and Unreal are all C++-based engines used by several prominent video game companies.

One of the primary reasons for the relevance of C++ is its energy efficiency. According to a paper titled "Energy Efficiency Across Programming Languages" published by six Portuguese researchers, C++ is the third most energy-efficient programming language. The only languages that consume less energy than C++ are C and Rust.

In this category, Ruby, Python, and Perl all come in last. What is more, Data Engineer Naser Tamimi ran an experiment where he discovered that when running the same algorithm, C++ is faster than Python with a significant difference.

The TIOBE Index also confirms the relevance of C++. In the time of writing, C++ is the fourth most popular programming language, following Python, C, and Java at the top of the list.

Is C++ Going Away?

C++ is still significant because many programs still have processing performance bottlenecks, and those issues aren't going away anytime soon. Because the language has been there for nearly 40 years, open-source libraries and frameworks have already handled the majority of software challenges.

Existing systems written in C++ need to be maintained. Since a lot of infrastructure software ranging from cars, airplanes to wind turbines, telecom to the underlying systems of Facebook and Google (the Google Search engine is written in C++), the software will most likley not be replaced anytime soon.

Although, developing smartphones and web apps catches the attention younger programmers starting their careers.

But let’s not forget new and exciting technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Major frameworks in this area such as PyTorch and TensorFlow are mainly written in C++.

So, the answer is no. C++ isn't going away any time soon. C++ is now one of the most widely used computer languages, with a wide range of applications. Python, Java, and web programming are all intriguing career paths, but C++ programmers are often overlooked and mistakenly believed to be dead.

If parts of services like Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, MySQL, and Bloomberg are built in C++, it has to be a really beneficial language.

In our next article we will demonstrate hands-on C++, how we at Consulteer work together with our customers to solve problems using it.

Human. Technology. Together.

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