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The C++ Standard Library: A Tutorial and Reference, Second Edition by Nicolai M. Josuttis

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Chapter 6. The Standard Template Library

The heart of the C++ standard library — the part that influenced its overall architecture — is the standard template library (STL). The STL is a generic library that provides solutions to managing collections of data with modern and efficient algorithms. It allows programmers to benefit from innovations in the area of data structures and algorithms without needing to learn how they work.

From the programmer’s point of view, the STL provides a bunch of collection classes that meet various needs, together with several algorithms that operate on them. All components of the STL are templates, so they can be used for arbitrary element types. But the STL does even more: It provides a framework for supplying ...

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