My Thoughts on Sutter’s “C++ and Beyond 2011”

Around a month ago, Herb Sutter gave a talk on why C++ is once more gaining relevance in the world of programming, and how after a decade of neglect and abandonment, it is set to pave the way into the future. I downloaded it a while ago and finally had a chance to watch it last night; the talk itself is most-excellent and is around 40 minutes long, you can stream it online or download it in a higher-resolution format on Channel 9. Or click below to watch:

As someone that’s been using both C/C++ and .NET extensively over the past years, I found there was one very important point that Sutter glanced on, danced around, and did everything short of actually naming in his talk and it’s that if you’re doing anything remotely intricate or complicated, leaky abstractions in managed languages will bite you in the ass, and end up lowering your productivity, some times (and if what you’re working on is truly complicated, often times) to a point where you’d have been more productive using C or C++ in the first place.

The concept of leaky abstractions isn’t anything new and I’m hardly the first to point out how it can turn a knight in shining armor into a harbinger of doom and destruction. It’s the number one problem fundamentally present in almost any framework, but even more so in managed languages where the framework is all you have, and you’re not allowed to side-step it and build your own foundations to work with (p/invoke and interop aside). But lately it’s becoming more and more of a problem as the “push” for innovation that Sutter speaks of has become a fundamental requirement in just about all corners of the industry.

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