C++ for real now!

Published 2010-01-08 on Farid Zakaria's Blog

Another work term another technology.

This term I have the fun interesting experience of getting to program in C++. The project I am helping contribute to is not your average run of the mill C++ project. I am contributing to a code base close to 1 million SLOC.

Having very limited (frankly none) experience with projects this big, I was a bit frightened of exploring the Solution explorer within Microsoft Visual Studio and finding files. However help was on the way, in the form of advice from our lead programmer. He advised me on getting Workspace Whiz!, a Visual studio Add-in.

Workspace Whiz!

Workspace Whiz is a powerful add-in for Visual Studio .NET 2002/2003/2005/2008 and Visual C++ 6 designed to improve developer productivity by making available such features as:

  1. Incremental searching of files throughout the workspace, global include/source directories, or user specified directories.
  2. Incremental tag searches either by identifier name or a parent class or namespace.
  3. Switching between the declaration and definition of functions.
    Tag completion at the press of a key while typing.
    Powerful code templates.

Quick key-bindings to immediately love:

  • ALT+SHIFT+O - This brings up a search box where you can search using RegEx for any file within the solution
  • ALT+O - switching between .cpp and header files in a sinch!

Aside from that, I thought I was a good C++ programmer. However I was quickly humbled and learnt that no C++ programming I had done in school even remotely comes close to level of complexity that I am currently sifting through.

For instance I barely even use macros when I program in C++ and barely pay attention to memory usage and optimization, three things which I am quickly getting a crash course into.

There is a high learning curve but hopefully I will prevail.