Welcome to C++! This first chapter will provide you with some basic foundational material you will need to progress through the rest of the book. In this chapter you will be introduced to the history of C++, the basics of the language, and how to use variables and write expressions in C++. These fundamental concepts are the essential building blocks that you will use to create C++ programs throughout the rest of this book.
C++, as the name implies, is essentially based on the C programming language. Therefore, it seems prudent to begin with a brief history of C. The C programming language was devised in the early 1970s at Bell Laboratories by Dennis Ritchie. It was designed as a system implementation language for the Unix operating system. The history of C and Unix are closely intertwined. For this reason a lot of Unix programming is done with C. To some extent, C was originally based on the typeless language BCPL, however it grew well beyond that.
The C++ programming language was invented by Bjarne Stroustroup. Work on what would become C++ began in 1979. The initial version was called “C with Classes.” That name did not work out well, and was replaced with C++. The first version of C++ was used internally in AT&T in August 1983. The first commercial implementation was released in 1985. The C++ language standards are now handled by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the International Standards Organization (ISO). This is why you often hear pure C++ referred to as ANSI Standard C++, or ISO Standard C++.
Pure C++ is mentioned because there are a lot of extensions that are specific to a particular compiler or operating system. A few of these are covered in this book, but are identified as being nonstandard.