Building Classes in C++   «Prev  Next»
Lesson 2 C++ Course Prerequisites
Objective Prerequisites for taking the course Building Classes in C++

Prerequisites for Building Classes in C++

Before attempting to build classes in C++, it is essential for programmers to have a solid understanding of various aspects of the language, as well as the object-oriented programming (OOP) paradigm. This understanding will ensure they can effectively leverage the power of C++ classes and navigate the complexities of the language. Here are the critical prerequisites:
  1. Basics of C++ Programming: A fundamental understanding of C++ is essential before diving into object-oriented programming. This includes syntax, data types, variables, control structures (such as loops and conditional statements), functions, and pointers.
  2. OOP Principles: C++ is a multiparadigm language with a strong emphasis on object-oriented programming. Understanding OOP principles is crucial for effectively using classes. Key principles include:
    1. Encapsulation: This is the practice of keeping data (attributes) and methods (functions) that manipulate the data within the same unit, the class. Encapsulation enhances code maintainability and data integrity.
    2. Inheritance: This refers to the ability of a new class (derived class) to inherit properties and methods from an existing class (base class). Inheritance promotes code reuse and a logical class structure.
    3. Polymorphism: This is the ability of an object to take many forms. With polymorphism, a single function or operator can behave differently based on its input, which can be beneficial for code modularity and readability.
    4. Abstraction: Abstraction means showing essential features and hiding unnecessary information. It simplifies complex systems by breaking them down into manageable pieces and ensures that each object can only interact with others through methods that are defined in the object's class.
  3. Understanding Constructors and Destructors: Constructors and destructors are special member functions of a class that are responsible for initializing and cleaning up objects, respectively. Understanding how they work, and when they are called, is crucial for managing resources and avoiding memory leaks.
  4. Memory Management: C++ allows for manual memory management, which can lead to increased performance but also to pitfalls like memory leaks or segmentation faults. Understanding how dynamic memory allocation works, when to use it, and how to avoid common issues is essential.
  5. Exception Handling: Exception handling in C++ is done using the try, catch, and throw keywords. Exceptions are used to handle unexpected or exceptional conditions that can occur within a program. It's important to understand how to throw and catch exceptions, as well as how unhandled exceptions can lead to program termination.
  6. Understanding Access Modifiers: Classes in C++ can have members (both data and functions) marked as private, public, or protected. Understanding these access modifiers is crucial for encapsulation and designing the interface that the class provides to other code.
  7. Basic Template Knowledge: Templates are a powerful feature of C++, allowing for generic programming and code reuse. A basic understanding of how to define and use class templates can be helpful when building classes in C++.
  8. Remember that proficiency in these areas will not only help you build effective classes in C++, but also write more robust, maintainable, and efficient code. Developing these skills and understandings may require substantial practice and study, but the rewards in terms of your programming capabilities will be considerable.
Make sure you have the background and equipment required for this course.
Building Classes in C++ is intended for experienced C programmers who are already comfortable with the basic difference between C and C++ syntax and who are comfortable working with the struct construct to build ADTs.

Understand C Data Structures as a stepping stone to C++

A struct in the C programming language is a complex data type declaration that defines a physically grouped list of variables to be placed under one name in a block of memory, allowing different variables to be accessed by means of a single pointer, or the struct declared name which returns the same address. The struct can contain many other complex and simple data types in an association, and is therefore a natural organizing type for records like mixed data types in lists of directory entries reading a hard drive
  1. file length,
  2. name,
  3. extension,
  4. physical
or other mixed record type.

Platform support

You can use either Windows, Macintosh, or Linux/Unix machines to take this course.
The course is intended to be platform-independent. Please be sure you are aware of platform-dependent issues that may affect your compiler.
In computers, a platform is an underlying computer system on which application programs can run. On personal computers, Windows 10 and the Mac OS X are examples of two different platforms. On enterprise servers or mainframes, IBM OS/390 is an example of a platform.
Mainframe computers are computers used primarily by large organizations for critical applications, bulk data processing such as census, industry and consumer statistics.
The term originally referred to the large cabinets known as main frames that housed the central processing unit and main memory of early computers. Later, the term was used to distinguish high-end commercial machines from less powerful units

C++ Environment

Before we talk about the C++ language, we will briefly discuss the C++ environment and how C++ programs are executed. C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup as an extension to the C programming language by adding object-oriented capabilities. Since its original development, C++ has undergone significant evolution and refinement. In 1998 the definition of the language was standardized. Like its predecessor C, C++ has proven to be a popular language for implementing a variety of applications across different platforms. There are C++ compilers available for most computers. Some of the concepts and features of C++ have been implemented in other languages, including Java. An extensive collection of classes and functions is available to a C++ program. This collection is known as the standard library. We will discuss numerous capabilities provided by this library in this course. Among them are classes and functions to perform input and output and classes that can serve as containers for values.

Include Files

A C++ program is compiled into a form that is directly executed by the computer and this form is called machine language. A C++ program does not have to be compiled all at once. Generally, individual functions, or a set of related functions, or a class definition are placed in separate source files that are compiled individually. For a C++ program to reference a function, class, or variable, the compiler must have seen a declaration of that function, class, or variable. Thus, if you write a function, class, or variable that you want to be referenced by other C++ functions, you need to make a declaration of it available. Instead of rewriting all such declarations in every file that uses those functions, classes, or variables, you would place the declarations in a separate file to be included by any program file that uses them. Such a file is called an include file and the the declarations of classes and functions in the standard library are also placed in include files.