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C / C++

Updated: 2022-02-08

C vs C++

C and C++ are related but 2 different languages.

Read more: C vs C++

Style Guide

Google C++ Style Guide: https://google.github.io/styleguide/cppguide.html

Compilers and Build tools

  • Compilers: Clang (preferred) and GCC
  • Build tools: no standard, CMake is probably the most popular; Gradle also supports C++; Google open sourced Bazel.

File Extensions

  • header files: .h, .hpp
  • source files: .c, .cpp, .cc

It does not matter which file extension to use.


If a source file c.cc includes a header b.h, which includes a.h, c.cc can use all symbols declared in a.h

Standard Template Library (STL) vs Standard Library

The original STL was developed separately, and was proposed to be included in C++ standard. Only part of it actually went into the standard, some parts were rejected while others were redesigned. That is why wikipedia says it "influenced many parts of the C++ Standard Library". You will not find the term "STL" in the standard, instead usually STL refers to container library, iterator library and algorithm


  • VS Code (free, code editor)
  • CLion (not free, full featured IDE)
  • Xcode (on macOS)

Where is C / C++ being used

  • OS: Linux is implemented in C (but NOT C++)
  • other languages: CPython is written in C; OpenJDK is using C++
  • Web Browser: V8, the JS engine is in C++, used by node and Chrome
  • graphics and games: Vulkan, which replaces OpenGL, is written in C; Unreal Engine is written in C++; Unity's runtime is in C++ (though programmers write C# on top of Unity)
  • servers: many companies, including Google and Facebook, use C++ extensively to build their servers.
  • databases: the most popular databases are often using C/C++: MySQL, Postgres, Redis, MongoDB