Home Programming Modern C++ Programming Cookbook - Second Edition

Modern C++ Programming Cookbook - Second Edition

By Marius Bancila
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  1. Free Chapter
    Working with Numbers and Strings
About this book
C++ has come a long way to be one of the most widely used general-purpose languages that is fast, efficient, and high-performance at its core. The updated second edition of Modern C++ Programming Cookbook addresses the latest features of C++20, such as modules, concepts, coroutines, and the many additions to the standard library, including ranges and text formatting. The book is organized in the form of practical recipes covering a wide range of problems faced by modern developers. The book also delves into the details of all the core concepts in modern C++ programming, such as functions and classes, iterators and algorithms, streams and the file system, threading and concurrency, smart pointers and move semantics, and many others. It goes into the performance aspects of programming in depth, teaching developers how to write fast and lean code with the help of best practices. Furthermore, the book explores useful patterns and delves into the implementation of many idioms, including pimpl, named parameter, and attorney-client, teaching techniques such as avoiding repetition with the factory pattern. There is also a chapter dedicated to unit testing, where you are introduced to three of the most widely used libraries for C++: Boost.Test, Google Test, and Catch2. By the end of the book, you will be able to effectively leverage the features and techniques of C++11/14/17/20 programming to enhance the performance, scalability, and efficiency of your applications.
Publication date:
September 2020
Publisher
Packt
Pages
750
ISBN
9781800208988

 

Working with Numbers and Strings

Numbers and strings are the fundamental types of any programming language; all other types are based on or composed of these ones. Developers are confronted all the time with tasks such as converting between numbers and strings, parsing and formatting strings, and generating random numbers. This chapter is focused on providing useful recipes for these common tasks using modern C++ language and library features.

The recipes included in this chapter are as follows:

  • Converting between numeric and string types
  • Limits and other properties of numeric types
  • Generating pseudo-random numbers
  • Initializing all the bits of the internal state of a pseudo-random number generator
  • Creating cooked user-defined literals
  • Creating raw, user-defined literals
  • Using raw string literals to avoid escaping characters
  • Creating a library of string helpers
  • Verifying the format of a string using regular...
 

Converting between numeric and string types

Converting between number and string types is a ubiquitous operation. Prior to C++11, there was little support for converting numbers to strings and back, so developers had to resort mostly to type-unsafe functions, and they usually wrote their own utility functions in order to avoid writing the same code over and over again. With C++11, the standard library provides utility functions for converting between numbers and strings. In this recipe, you will learn how to convert between numbers and strings and the other way around using modern C++ standard functions.

Getting ready

All the utility functions mentioned in this recipe are available in the <string> header.

How to do it...

Use the following standard conversion functions when you need to convert between numbers and strings:

  • To convert from an integer or floating-point type to a string type, use std::to_string() or std::to_wstring(), as shown in the...
 

Limits and other properties of numeric types

Sometimes, it is necessary to know and use the minimum and maximum values that can be represented with a numeric type, such as char, int, or double. Many developers use standard C macros for this, such as CHAR_MIN/CHAR_MAX, INT_MIN/INT_MAX, and DBL_MIN/DBL_MAX. C++ provides a class template called numeric_limits with specializations for every numeric type that enables you to query the minimum and maximum value of a type. However, numeric_limits is not limited to that functionality, and offers additional constants for type property querying, such as whether a type is signed or not, how many bits it needs for representing its values, whether it can represent infinity for floating-point types, and many others. Prior to C++11, the use of numeric_limits<T> was limited because it could not be used in places where constants were needed (examples include the size of arrays and switch cases). Due to that, developers preferred to...

 

Generating pseudo-random numbers

Generating random numbers is necessary for a large variety of applications, from games to cryptography, from sampling to forecasting. However, the term random numbers is not actually correct, as the generation of numbers through mathematical formulas is deterministic and does not produce true random numbers, but numbers that look random and are called pseudo-random. True randomness can only be achieved through hardware devices, based on physical processes, and even that can be challenged as we may consider even the universe to be actually deterministic. Modern C++ provides support for generating pseudo-random numbers through a pseudo-random number library containing number generators and distributions. Theoretically, it can also produce true random numbers, but in practice, those could actually be only pseudo-random.

Getting ready

In this recipe, we'll discuss the standard support for generating pseudo-random numbers. Understanding...

 

Initializing all bits of internal state of a pseudo-random number generator

In the previous recipe, we looked at the pseudo-random number library, along with its components, and how it can be used to produce numbers in different statistical distributions. One important factor that was overlooked in that recipe is the proper initialization of the pseudo-random number generators.

With careful analysis (that is beyond the purpose of this recipe or this book), it can be shown that the Mersenne twister engine has a bias toward producing some values repeatedly and omitting others, thus generating numbers not in a uniform distribution, but rather in a binomial or Poisson distribution. In this recipe, you will learn how to initialize a generator in order to produce pseudo-random numbers with a true uniform distribution.

Getting ready

You should read the previous recipe, Generating pseudo-random numbers, to get an overview of what the pseudo-random number library offers...

 

Creating cooked user-defined literals

Literals are constants of built-in types (numerical, Boolean, character, character string, and pointer) that cannot be altered in a program. The language defines a series of prefixes and suffixes to specify literals (and the prefix/suffix is actually part of the literal). C++11 allows us to create user-defined literals by defining functions called literal operators, which introduce suffixes for specifying literals. These work only with numerical character and character string types.

This opens the possibility of defining both standard literals in future versions and allows developers to create their own literals. In this recipe, we will learn how to create our own cooked literals.

Getting ready

User-defined literals can have two forms: raw and cooked. Raw literals are not processed by the compiler, whereas cooked literals are values processed by the compiler (examples can include handling escape sequences in a character string or...

 

Creating raw user-defined literals

In the previous recipe, we looked at the way C++11 allows library implementers and developers to create user-defined literals and the user-defined literals available in the C++14 standard. However, user-defined literals have two forms: a cooked form, where the literal value is processed by the compiler before being supplied to the literal operator, and a raw form, in which the literal is not processed by the compiler before being supplied to the literal operator. The latter is only available for integral and floating-point types. Raw literals are useful for altering the compiler's normal behavior. For instance, a sequence such as 3.1415926 is interpreted by the compiler as a floating-point value, but with the use of a raw user-defined literal, it could be interpreted as a user-defined decimal value. In this recipe, we will look at creating raw user-defined literals.

Getting ready

Before continuing with this recipe, it is strongly recommended...

 

Using raw string literals to avoid escaping characters

Strings may contain special characters, such as non-printable characters (newline, horizontal and vertical tab, and so on), string and character delimiters (double and single quotes), or arbitrary octal, hexadecimal, or Unicode values. These special characters are introduced with an escape sequence that starts with a backslash, followed by either the character (examples include ' and "), its designated letter (examples include n for a new line, t for a horizontal tab), or its value (examples include octal 050, hexadecimal XF7, or Unicode U16F0). As a result, the backslash character itself has to be escaped with another backslash character. This leads to more complicated literal strings that can be hard to read.

To avoid escaping characters, C++11 introduced raw string literals that do not process escape sequences. In this recipe, you will learn how to use the various forms of raw string literals.

Getting...

 

Creating a library of string helpers

The string types from the standard library are a general-purpose implementation that lacks many helpful methods, such as changing the case, trimming, splitting, and others that may address different developer needs. Third-party libraries that provide rich sets of string functionalities exist. However, in this recipe, we will look at implementing several simple, yet helpful, methods you may often need in practice. The purpose is rather to see how string methods and standard general algorithms can be used for manipulating strings, but also to have a reference to reusable code that can be used in your applications.

In this recipe, we will implement a small library of string utilities that will provide functions for the following:

  • Changing a string into lowercase or uppercase
  • Reversing a string
  • Trimming white spaces from the beginning and/or the end of the string
  • Trimming a specific set of characters from the beginning...
 

Verifying the format of a string using regular expressions

Regular expressions are a language intended for performing pattern matching and replacements in texts. C++11 provides support for regular expressions within the standard library through a set of classes, algorithms, and iterators available in the header <regex>. In this recipe, we will learn how regular expressions can be used to verify that a string matches a pattern (examples can include verifying an email or IP address formats).

Getting ready

Throughout this recipe, we will explain, whenever necessary, the details of the regular expressions that we use. However, you should have at least some basic knowledge of regular expressions in order to use the C++ standard library for regular expressions. A description of regular expressions syntax and standards is beyond the purpose of this book; if you are not familiar with regular expressions, it is recommended that you read more about them before continuing...

 

Parsing the content of a string using regular expressions

In the previous recipe, we looked at how to use std::regex_match() to verify that the content of a string matches a particular format. The library provides another algorithm called std::regex_search() that matches a regular expression against any part of a string, and not only the entire string, as regex_match() does. This function, however, does not allow us to search through all the occurrences of a regular expression in an input string. For this purpose, we need to use one of the iterator classes available in the library.

In this recipe, you will learn how to parse the content of a string using regular expressions. For this purpose, we will consider the problem of parsing a text file containing name-value pairs. Each such pair is defined on a different line and has the format name = value, but lines starting with a # represent comments and must be ignored. The following is an example:

#remove # to uncomment...
 

Replacing the content of a string using regular expressions

In the previous two recipes, we looked at how to match a regular expression on a string or a part of a string and iterate through matches and submatches. The regular expression library also supports text replacement based on regular expressions. In this recipe, we will learn how to use std::regex_replace() to perform such text transformations.

Getting ready

For general information about regular expressions support in C++11, refer to the Verifying the format of a string using regular expressions recipe, earlier in this chapter.

How to do it...

In order to perform text transformations using regular expressions, you should perform the following:

  • Include <regex> and <string> and the namespace std::string_literals for C++14 standard user-defined literals for strings:
    #include <regex>
    #include <string>
    using namespace std::string_literals;
    
  • Use the std...
 

Using string_view instead of constant string references

When working with strings, temporary objects are created all the time, even if you might not be really aware of it. Many times, these temporary objects are irrelevant and only serve the purpose of copying data from one place to another (for example, from a function to its caller). This represents a performance issue because they require memory allocation and data copying, which should be avoided. For this purpose, the C++17 standard provides a new string class template called std::basic_string_view that represents a non-owning constant reference to a string (that is, a sequence of characters). In this recipe, you will learn when and how you should use this class.

Getting ready

The string_view class is available in the namespace std in the string_view header.

How to do it...

You should use std::string_view to pass a parameter to a function (or return a value from a function), instead of std::string const...

 

Formatting text with std::format

The C++ language has two ways of formatting text: the printf family of functions and the I/O streams library. The printf functions are inherited from C and provide a separation of the formatting text and the arguments. The streams library provides safety and extensibility and is usually recommended over printf functions, but is, in general, slower. The C++20 standard proposes a new formatting library alternative for output formatting, which is similar in form to printf but safe and extensible and is intended to complement the existing streams library. In this recipe, we will learn how to use the new functionalities instead of the printf functions or the streams library.

Getting ready

The new formatting library is available in the header <format>. You must include this header for the following samples to work.

How to do it...

The std::format() function formats its arguments according to the provided formatting string. You can use...

 

Using std::format with user-defined types

The C++20 formatting library is a modern alternative to using printf-like functions or the I/O streams library, which it actually complements. Although the standard provides default formatting for basic types, such as integral and floating-point types, bool, character types, strings, and chrono types, the user can create custom specialization for user-defined types. In this recipe, we will learn how to do that.

Getting ready

You should read the previous recipe, Formatting text with std::format, to familiarize yourself with the formatting library.

In the examples that we'll be showing here, we will use the following class:

struct employee
{
   int         id;
   std::string firstName;
   std::string lastName;
};

In the next section, we'll introduce the necessary steps to implement to enable text formatting using std::format() for user-defined types.

How to do it...

To enable formatting using the new...

About the Author
  • Marius Bancila

    Marius Bancila is a software engineer with two decades of experience in developing solutions for line of business applications and more. He is the author of Modern C++ Programming Cookbook and The Modern C++ Challenge. He works as a software architect and is focused on Microsoft technologies, mainly developing desktop applications with C++ and C#. He is passionate about sharing his technical expertise with others and, for that reason, he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for C++ and later developer technologies since 2006. Marius lives in Romania and is active in various online communities.

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Latest Reviews (6 reviews total)
Just has been started reading, but love author's style and coding samples.
A very useful book which is easy to follow
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