[wingide-users] Re: wingide-users Digest, Vol 31, Issue 13

gary.h.merrill at gsk.com gary.h.merrill at gsk.com
Mon Nov 20 18:11:03 MST 2006


Although not obviously appropriate for this list, I must second Russell 
Warren's rejoinder concerning C vs. C++.  Although I sat for a time on the 
ANSI C standards committee and sent a delegate working for me to the ANSI 
C++ committee, and implemented a significant portion of the front end of a 
C++ compiler, I would not myself use C++ except under severe duress.  The 
two languages are, in fact and in use, quite different languages and there 
are in fact incompatibilities between the two.  I do not believe it is 
true that (to be standard conforming) a C++ compiler must understand K&R C 
(or any other C), though most do as a matter of marketability.  And not 
all C++ compilers are standard-conforming (e.g. GNU, at least the last 
time I looked), though any decent C compiler should be ANSI conformant.

There are some significant advantages to programming in C as opposd to 
C++.  And there are some undeniable advantages to programming in in C++ 
over C.  But there are dangers as well.   However, I must be honest in 
saying that if I were not to use C, then I should much prefer C# over C++ 
for a variety of reasons -- based largely on language design and 
implementation issues.  Indeed, C# has become our language of choice for 
"polished" systems that we want to deploy -- while we still employ Python 
for prototyping and more restricted purposes.  But I fully expect this to 
start a flame war.  However, in flaming, please at least be aware that I 
was a C (and C++) commercial compiler developer (Bell Labs, Lattice C, 
SASC and SAS/C++) for about 15 years, including multiple host/target cross 
compilers on or to a hughe variety of *NIX systems, mainframe systems, and 
PCs.

That said, what I currently use for C (on the odd occasion when I need to 
use it) is Visual Studio.  Do I like it?  Not particularly.   I find it's 
user interface and features not only to be too Microsoft-centric but too 
Microsoft developer-centric.  It simply conforms too much to what the 
Microsoft developers think should be the "best" windows layout and 
approach to code development, and they seem to be quite obstinate about 
listening to alternative points of view.  Still, it's what we have (we 
have a subscription to MSDN) and when last I tried to use Borland it 
simply didn't compare in terms of debugger features.  I guess there's just 
not much of a commercial market any more for C/C++ development 
environments.

Now if I had to BUY Visual Studio myself, I think I'd look for something 
else :-).  On UNIX I always used DDD, but alas, it ports not to Windoze.

------------------------------
Gary H. Merrill, Principal Scientist
Analysis Applications, Research, and Technologies
GlaxoSmithKline Research and Development
Research Triangle Park, NC
919.483.8456
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