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How to study the C++ standard? (forward references in "3. Basic")

 
 
Boris Duček
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      05-02-2009
Hi,

I decided to read C++ standard to finally know the language well.

However when I started to read chapter 3., I found that there are a
lot of forward references in that chapter that make studying it
basically impossible. I feel like it's made for those who already know
the referenced definitions well, not for those who would like to study
the standard (from cover to cover, like I want), which is what I am
used to e.g. from math (and other) textbooks.

Do you suggest that I skip (or rush through) this chapter on the first
reading, or anything else?

Thanks,
Boris
 
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Alf P. Steinbach
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      05-02-2009
* Boris Dušek:
> Hi,
>
> I decided to read C++ standard to finally know the language well.
>
> However when I started to read chapter 3., I found that there are a
> lot of forward references in that chapter that make studying it
> basically impossible. I feel like it's made for those who already know
> the referenced definitions well, not for those who would like to study
> the standard (from cover to cover, like I want), which is what I am
> used to e.g. from math (and other) textbooks.
>
> Do you suggest that I skip (or rush through) this chapter on the first
> reading, or anything else?


Uhm, you have set yourself an impossible goal.

There are perhaps three persons in the world who have relatively complete
knowledge of the C++98 standard (not to mention C++0x!).

As Schroedinger (or whoever it was) is reported to have said when someone
mentioned that only three people in the world really understood general
relativity: "Three? Who's the third?"

But section 3 about "basic concepts" isn't that bad, really.

Just go very lightly over §3.4 (about name lookup).

The C++ standard simply isn't made for reading. C++ is a language that one
learns in layers: first a very broad picture, then the next layer filling in
some details and adding some exceptions to what one first learned, then third
layer doing the same but even more, and so on. The discussions in this group
illustrate that for any apparently most simple feature there is an almost
infinite amount of details and consequences to consider if one delves into it.


Cheers & hth.,

- Alf

--
Due to hosting requirements I need visits to <url: http://alfps.izfree.com/>.
No ads, and there is some C++ stuff! Just going there is good. Linking
to it is even better! Thanks in advance!
 
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Bo Persson
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      05-02-2009
Boris Dusek wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I decided to read C++ standard to finally know the language well.
>
> However when I started to read chapter 3., I found that there are a
> lot of forward references in that chapter that make studying it
> basically impossible. I feel like it's made for those who already
> know the referenced definitions well, not for those who would like
> to study the standard (from cover to cover, like I want), which is
> what I am used to e.g. from math (and other) textbooks.
>
> Do you suggest that I skip (or rush through) this chapter on the
> first reading, or anything else?


I think you might want to rush through all chapters once.

The language isn't built up like math, so you will not always get one
level built up from what you know before.

One example where this is hard, from section 3:

"Every name that denotes a label is introduced
either by a goto statement (6.6.4)
or a labeled-statement (6.1)."

Now, when you present the labeled-statement in 6.1, how do you
describe its use without mentioning the (then unknown) goto statement?

Likewise, a truly horrible statement like:

"An entity is a value, object, variable, reference, function,
enumerator, type, class member, template, template
specialization, namespace, parameter pack, concept,
or concept map."

could go either into chapter 3, like here, or would have to wait until
the final chapter of the standard. If it did, you would have to read
the entire book before realizing that these things have something in
common - that they are all entities.




No one will grasp the entire standard in one reading - perhaps not
completely with any number of readings.


Bo Persson


 
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Juha Nieminen
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      05-02-2009
Boris DuĆĄek wrote:
> However when I started to read chapter 3., I found that there are a
> lot of forward references in that chapter that make studying it
> basically impossible. I feel like it's made for those who already know
> the referenced definitions well, not for those who would like to study
> the standard (from cover to cover, like I want), which is what I am
> used to e.g. from math (and other) textbooks.


I don't think the standard is even intended to be a textbook for
teaching the language.
 
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