What Are the Uses of C++?

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When we think of C++, we tend to think of fast-running applications and uses spanning from the simple to the complex.  

And no wonder. C++ is one of the oldest languages in programming, so our gadgets today — whether they’re laptops or game consoles or smartphones — have some of their features written in C++. But what can C++ specifically create? And more importantly, what kind of applications can your business build using its framework? 

In this article, we talk about the top uses of C++ and its corresponding advantages for each type of application. But before that, let’s take a look at what C++ is.

What Is C++?

C++ was conceptualized and created by the computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup. His goal was to create a C-based language that supports object-oriented programming (OOP). According to C++’s website, Stroustrup envisioned an object-oriented C when he worked with Simula, the earliest kind of OOP. What developers appreciate about object-oriented languages is their organized and compartmentalized approach. Simply put, it’s easier to maintain code with a language using this paradigm. 

However, Simula was too slow for Stroustrup’s taste, prompting him to turn to C’s framework instead. The only drawback with C was even though it was fast, it was also redundant and cluttered. So Stroustrup decided to integrate Simula’s clean and organized OOP approach into C as C was closer to assembly language and, therefore, faster. According to Stroustrup in his book The C++ Programming Language, combining C’s syntax and Simula’s OOP paradigm would result in a language that allows developers to “specify actions to be executed” and gives them concepts “close to the problem to be solved.” And that was how C++ was born.

But with a spate of new, high-level languages such as Python, C++ has somewhat become a mid-level programming language that can be difficult to control or continuously update. According to one of NarraSoft’s C++ experts, C++ applications mainly have a “need for high-performing code [with] low-level control.” This means it’s ideal for software with “heavy computation” and “low-level manipulation,” he noted. So what exactly is this programming language good for? We asked our developer what the top uses of C++ are, and the following were his answers.

Image credits to Canva

Common Uses of C++ 

Video Games

Speed is C++’s greatest strength. As computers can easily read its syntax through compilers, C++ can create high-performing applications. This means you get applications that run fast, perform numerous tasks without significantly slowing down, and manage a huge amount of data at any given time. What does this mean for video games? 

For one thing, players can enjoy better-performing games with smoother controls and quick response times. And for another, players can experience finely detailed graphics with their accompanying fluid movement. With C++ as a game’s main rendering language, you can expect its low-level features to translate pretty well on the screen. Take, for example, Epic Games’ Unreal game engine. It’s hailed as one of the best game engines for triple-A titles because of its impeccable rendering of hyper realistic physics and graphics. Its primary programming language? C++. 

Learn more about C++ game engines on our blog post 2020’s Popular C++ Game Engines Engines for 3D Game!

Desktop Applications

C++ is a compiled language, which means your computer or “machine” can quickly turn your C++ code into an application through a translator known in programming as a compiler. Because C++ is an old language, many of our computers today can access this compiler, translating C++ syntax into machine code or code our computers actually understand. It’s basically C with an OOP paradigm! And C is a “high-level” programming language closest to the universal language of our devices.

Moreover, a framework called Qt was developed in the ‘90s to enable cross-platform development on the desktop with C++. It supports major platforms including, Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android. This makes C++ suitable for desktop applications. With this language as the main framework of your desktop app, users can access the app’s environment without laggy features or any difficulty. Your desktop apps, which are also close to your device’s hardware, will run fast and easily follow your commands, making C++ a competent tool for this type of software.

Custom Game Servers

If you’ve played multiplayer games, you will know sometimes games limit the number of players inhabiting an area at a certain time. The more players there are in an area, the slower the game gets and the more difficult it would be for a server to follow what’s going on. This server has to accommodate a ton of data every time a new game starts. It should process information from both the users and game developers, all simultaneously occurring within a window of time.

Since C++ is fast, is closer to machine language, and is able to process data faster than many languages, it’s one of the best languages with which to code game servers. As our C++ developer said, this language is ideal for developing digital projects with heavy computation, and what are game servers but a host to enormous amounts of data that need computing.

Image credits to Canva

Other Uses of C++

Aside from the apps above, C++ is also used for the following:

  • Operating systems
  • Browsers 
  • Device drivers

Operating systems and browsers have a common need for speed, which is something C++ provides. But aside from speed, they also require portability across systems to reach as many users as possible. Portability “is a measure of how easily an application can be transferred from one computer environment to another,” according to Techopedia. 

As we mentioned earlier, C++, being close to machine code, allows software to be accessed on other platforms, especially with the framework Qt. These two factors alone — speed and portability — demonstrate why one of the uses of C++ is developing something as huge as an operating system or a browser. In effect, C++ boosts operating systems’ and browsers’ loading times, significantly minimizing the time it takes to render images and other visual data.

The same goes for device drivers. Device drivers are programs that control different hardware on your computer (e.g., your printer). It makes sense to use C++ in this regard — it’s close to your hardware and relatively easier to use compared to C and assembly languages.

However, it’s important to note developers must take extra care when developing applications and software with C++. While it is considered a high-level programming language relative to assembly languages, C++ remains to be one of the oldest. 

This means Stroustrup developed it in reaction to extremely difficult languages to learn, ones closer to machine code and ones many developers don’t use nowadays. Maintaining and updating C++ code is a challenging task. So if you’re thinking of outsourcing C++ developers, you must ensure these developers know the language inside out.

In Summary

C++ is a programming language built for speed. It helps software render visual data quickly and reduce loading times significantly.  

The ideal types of applications you can use C++ for are those with a “need for high-performing code [with] low-level control,” NarraSoft’s expert developer said. 

The top apps developers can use C++ for are:

  • Video games
  • Desktop applications
  • Custom game servers

Other uses of C++ are:

  • Operating systems
  • Browsers
  • Device drivers

NarraSoft’s outsourcing services range from C++ development to general game development. You can also expect services involving AR art development, VR art development, 3D art creation, software development, and so many more. 

Partner with us today for top-notch software, games, and digital art. Go ahead and leave us a message using our contact form or chat box, or send us an email at sales@narrasoft.com.

Other sources: cplusplus.com | gnu.org | The C++ Programming Language | Techopedia

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.