Chapter 3. Moving to Modern C++

When it comes to big-name features, C++11 and C++14 have a lot to boast of. auto, smart pointers, move semantics, lambdas, concurrency—each is so important, I devote a chapter to it. It’s essential to master those features, but becoming an effective modern C++ programmer requires a series of smaller steps, too. Each step answers specific questions that arise during the journey from C++98 to modern C++. When should you use braces instead of parentheses for object creation? Why are alias declarations better than typedefs? How does constexpr differ from const? What’s the relationship between const member functions and thread safety? The list goes on and on. And one by one, this chapter provides the answers.

Item 7: Distinguish between () and {} when creating objects.

Depending on your perspective, syntax choices for object initialization in C++11 embody either an embarrassment of riches or a confusing mess. As a general rule, initialization values may be specified with parentheses, an equals sign, or braces:

int x(0);             // initializer is in parentheses

int y = 0;            // initializer follows "="

int z{ 0 };           // initializer is in braces

In many cases, it’s also possible to use an equals sign and braces together:

int z = { 0 };        // initializer uses "=" and braces

For the remainder of this Item, I’ll generally ignore the equals-sign-plus-braces syntax, because C++ usually treats it the same as the braces-only version.

The “confusing mess” lobby points out that ...

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