Chapter 15Overview of the C++ Standard Library

  • The coding principles used throughout the standard library
  • The kind of functionality the standard library provides

Please note that all the code examples for this chapter are available as a part of this chapter’s code download on the book’s website at on the Download Code tab.

The most important library that you will use as a C++ programmer is the C++ standard library. As its name implies, this library is part of the C++ standard, so any standards-conforming compiler should include it. The standard library is not monolithic: It includes several disparate components, some of which you have been using already. You may even have assumed they were part of the core language. All standard library classes and functions are declared in the std namespace.

The heart of the C++ standard library is its generic containers and algorithms. This subset of the library is often called the Standard Template Library, or STL for short, because of its abundant use of templates. The power of the STL is that it provides generic containers and generic algorithms in such a way that most of the algorithms work on most of the containers, no matter what type of data the containers store. Performance is a very important part of the STL. The goal is to make the STL containers and algorithms as fast as or faster than hand-written code.

The C++ standard library also includes ...

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