Why Typed C++ Is Different and Why That Matters

There’s much debate around the theme of typing, when it comes to various languages in computer programming. While some languages are classified as typed, there are other similarly common language that are not categorized as typed.

C++ utilizes typing as a powerful way to create code that’s more expressive. There are other languages that are commonly used that aren’t using this coding, while others are seen as even more typed than C++. Generally, there’s a dichotomy between those who have strong typing skills in languages and those who don’t, where neither truly understands the other.

With Typing Comes Protection

One of the main advantages of typing with C++ is that is helps prevent programmers from making a great number of mistakes. Essentially, when these types of mistakes are made, the wrong object is passed in the wrong context. If the programmer states what type is expected within a certain context, it’s ensured, by that compiler, that the type of object is passed in this context.

Because of these easy to foresee errors, strong typing in a language like C++ can easily reduce the amount of test necessary to prevent these errors from happening.  “Less of a margin for error makes creating coding language much less stressful, because you have less potential to send things in a very bad direction if they’re not programmed exactly right,” says tech blogger Sara Cooper of 1Day2Write and NextCourseWork.

Expressiveness is Possible with Typing

Typing allows human developers to see things more clearly within their programs. Code can be complex and overwhelming, so when compilers have the ability to make checks based on this, they can see things more clearly in their programs. Any source file, after all, is just a bunch of 0s and 1’s once it’s broken down to the basics.

Typing makes things easier to understand, and can serve as a way of documenting things. For example, if the function you’re using is taking the object types of FirstName and Last Name, you can return a specific Age. Just from this function, there appears to be a strong intuitive feeling that it was able to somehow retrieve that person’s age.

There’s Got to be Something Wrong with Typing

With so many great things being said about typing, there are bound to be at least a few negative things brought up. So, when asked about the negative aspects of typing, here’s what some programmers have said.

The most prevalent drawback of typed language is that you’re given the illusion of freedom, while actually being constrained by the type system. “While you are freely typing code, you are actually limited to the capabilities of that language. It may not be possible to express everything in the exact way you envisioned,” explains website admin Christopher Estes of BritStudent and WriteMyX.

Of course, there are a number of other drawbacks to typing. Because it’s a strongly typed language, it is inherently developed much slower.

And, regardless of the type of operation you’re trying to complete, this typing language can be helpful in performing all functionalities, regardless of the type.

To Type or Not to Type

If there are both benefits and drawbacks to typing, there has got to be a way to determine when typing would be more beneficial and when it wouldn’t be so.

If there are complex applications involved, such as with large software, typing can offer protection and much needed clarity, even though it may bring with it some hassles.

With smaller, simpler tasks, typing may not be worth the trouble, and a weakly typed language will suffice. Although in theory, this makes sense, when examined in the real world, there are instances, such as with Facebook, where PHP was used rather than typing.

Where C++ Lands in All of This

Amongst languages that are highly useful, C++ falls somewhere in the middle. There are two languages that appear to be even more effective with their type system than C++ is.

  • Haskell: It’s argued that this language is more strongly typed than C++ because includes richer information. A great example of this is how something can be described in several different forms or functions. This makes coding much more versatile and inclusive of variations.
  • Idris: Even more strongly typed than Haskell, this language does actually share many things in common with its syntax, but it’s not limited to the same capabilities. There are broader possibilities for this typed language, which are mind-baffling to many.

When it comes to the differences in typing, there is much debate around the benefits and drawbacks of the C++ typed language. Generally seen as more expressive and better at preventing errors from happening, this typed language is highly ranked as one of the most effective. Examine these differences that naturally occur with C++ in order to determine if this is the language you should be using.

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