November CTP,, Standard C++ Foundations Announced Today

Eric Battalio

November 2, 12:45pm PDT

C++ use and investment continues to grow strongly in all parts of the software industry, and broadly across all major industries. As Herb Sutter said, more than ever “Microsoft is built on C++, and the world runs on C++.” At the same time, programmers now need to be educated that C++ is not the same language it was in the past; with the new C++11 standard that contains major updates, modern C++ code is cleaner and more powerful than ever. As C++’s creator Bjarne Stroustrup notes, “C++11 feels like a new language.”

Today in a “The Future of C++” session at Build, Microsoft  made a number of announcements related to C++ at Microsoft and on all platforms. The session, led by Herb Sutter,  lead Visual C++ language architect at Microsoft and chair of the ISO C++ standards committee detailed the announcements below on behalf of Microsoft and the ISO C++ standards committee.

1. The Visual C++ Compiler November 12 CTP (Community Tech Preview) is a preview update to the Visual C++ 2012 compiler that includes several additional ISO C++11 language features: variadic templates, uniform initialization and initializer_lists, delegating constructors, function template default arguments, explicit conversion operators, and raw string literals. The CTP is available today at Along with the CTP, a new Channel 9 talk went live at showing how to use the new features in the CTP. Sutter also announced that this was only the first batch of additional C++11 features, and that more announcements would be forthcoming in the first half of calendar 2013.

2. On behalf of ISO C++, Sutter also reported that broad industry investment in ISO C++ standards development continues to increase, and that work on ISO C++ is speeding up. ISO Standard C++ defines the C++ language, which enables developers to write portable C++ code that builds and runs efficiently on all major popular hardware and operating systems platforms. Whereas 13 years passed between the first and second C++ standards (C++98 published in 1998, and C++11 published in 2011), the C++ standards committee (ISO WG21) continues to grow, as more companies participate and major companies like Microsoft, Intel, Google, and others send more participants to work on the language standard. As a result, the standards body is now gearing up to deliver more work faster, by publishing smaller and more frequent updates. In just the next 24 months, the committee plans to deliver: a complete new Standard (C++14) with additional language and library features; and three Technical Specifications including extensions for portable efficient access to file systems and networking on all platforms.

3. The new site was launched to act as a vendor neutral “center of gravity” for C++ on all compilers and platforms. Until now, the C++ community has always been based on a loose collection of resources, without an easy way for developers to find and share content. Microsoft, with the help of its partners and other standards committee members, has created the new site to provide a single central place for C++ developers on all platforms and compilers to learn and use modern C++; to easily find and be notified of all new high-quality modern articles, books, talks, videos, and events; and to learn what the standards body is doing and contribute, by increasing its transparency and lowering barriers to participation. The site has been contributed to the community to be run by the new Standard C++ Foundation (see next) and will continue to be developed with additional announcements in the new year.

4. Finally, the Standard C++ Foundation was announced by its founding members: Microsoft, Google, Intel, HP, IBM, Texas A&M University, Pearson Education, Dinkumware, Plum Hall, OpenMP, HSA Foundation, Bloomberg, DRW Trading Group, Symbio, and Vollmann Engineering. The Foundation runs the site, and is being organized as a U.S. 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association with the charter “to promote the understanding and use of Standard C++ on all compilers and platforms.” As stated in its Articles, the Foundation is “organized exclusively for the improvement of business conditions for C++ software developers,” including to provide infrastructure and services to support the C++ standards committee and community.

This is the first time such an organization has existed to promote and coordinate C++ work since AT&T relinquished ownership of C++ when submitting it for ISO standardization in 1989. The Foundation is an independent organization that is not controlled by any member company, but is controlled solely by its board of directors. The founding Directors are:

Chandler Carruth (Google, manager for the Clang compiler at Google and ISO C++ participant)

Beman Dawes (Boost founder, long-time chair of the ISO C++ library subgroup)

Stefanus Du Toit (Intel, project editor for ISO C++)

Bjarne Stroustrup (Texas A&M, creator of C++ and chair of the ISO C++ evolution subgroup)

Herb Sutter (Microsoft, Visual C++ language architect and chair of the ISO C++ committee)

Michael Wong (IBM, head of delegation for Canada to ISO C++, and CEO of OpenMP)

These announcements mark another milestone in the continuing surge of interest and investment in C++ at Microsoft and throughout the industry, and Microsoft together with the many other current and upcoming members of the Foundation are thrilled to be able to share in contributing further to the C++ community and the further development and promotion of Standard C++.


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