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A Brief History of C++

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Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, at Bell Labs
Bjarne Stroustrup
C++ was written by  Bjarne Stroustrup  at Bell Labs during 1983-1985. C++ is an extension of C.  Prior to 1983, Bjarne Stroustrup added features to C and formed what he called "C with Classes". He had combined the Simula's use of classes and object-oriented features with the power and efficiency of C. The term C++ was first used in 1983.

C++ was developed significantly after its first release.1 In particular, "ARM C++" added exceptions and templates, and ISO C++ added RTTI, namespaces, and a standard library.1

C++ was designed for the UNIX system environment. With C++ programmers could improve the quality of code they produced and reusable code was easier to write.

Bjarne Stroustrup had studied in the doctoral program at the Computing Laboratory at Cambridge University prior to joining Bell Labs. Now, Bell Labs no longer has that name since part of Bell Labs became AT&T Labs.  The other half became Lucent Bell labs.

Prior to C++, C was a programming language developed at Bell Labs circa 1969-1973. The UNIX operating system was also being developed at Bell Labs at the same time. C was originally developed for and implemented on the UNIX operating system, on a PDP-11 computer by Dennis Ritchie. He extended the B language by adding types in 1971. He called this NB for New B. Ritchie credited some of his inspiration from theAlgol68 language. Ritchie restructured the language and rewrote the compiler and gave his new language the name "C"  in 1972. 90% of UNIX was then written in C. The committee that wrote the 1989 ANSI Standard for C had started work on the C Standard project in 1983 after having been established by ANSI in that year. There were quite a number of versions of C at that time and a new Standard was necessary.

C is portable, not tied to any particular hardware or operating system. C combines the elements of high-level languages with the functionality of assembly language and has occasionally been referred to as a middle-level computer language. C makes it easy to adapt software for one type of computer to another.

C was a direct descendant of the language B. The language B was developed by Ken Thompson in 1970 for the new UNIX OS. B was a descendant of the language BCPL designed by Martin Richards, a Cambridge University student visiting MIT.1

History of C
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1. Information provided by Bjarne Stroustrup to Cheryl Gribble for hitmill.com on June 26, 2000.

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