Preface

imageThis is the third edition of C++: The Complete Reference. In the years that have transpired
since the second edition, C++ has undergone many changes. Perhaps the most important
is that it is now a standardized language. In November of 1997, the ANSI/ISO
committee charged with the task of standardizing C++, passed out of committee an
International Standard for C++. This event marked the end of a very long, and at
times contentious, process. As a member of the ANSI/ISO C++ committee, I watched

the progress of the emerging standard, following each debate and argument. Near the
end, there was a world-wide, daily dialogue, conducted via e-mail, in which the pros
and cons of this or that issue were put forth, and finally resolved. While the process
was longer and more exhausting than anyone at first envisioned, the result was worth
the trouble. We now have a standard for what is, without question, the most important
programming language in the world.
During standardization, several new features were added to C++. Some are
relatively small. Others, like the STL (Standard Template Library) have ramifications
that will affect the course of programming for years to come. The net effect of the
additions was that the scope and range of the language were greatly expanded. For
example, because of the addition of the numerics library, C++ can be more conveniently
used for numeric processing. Of course, the information contained in this edition

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