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What is C++?

C++ is a multiparadigm programming language known for its performance, popularity, and difficulty. Bjarne Stroustrup developed the language in 1979 as an extension of the already famous programming language C. Therefore, C++ should be seen as a superset to C, not an entirely new creation. The letter thing is noticeable, especially when using packages - many data structures and functions are inherited from C.

C++ can be written purely object-oriented but also using the functional or imperative paradigm.

Until this day, tons of software is written in C++. This is especially the case when there is a need for performance, which is the reason C++ is used in operating systems, servers, and extensive algorithm implementations.

Hello world in C++

#include <iostream>

int main() {
std::cout << "Hello World!";
return 0;

Create a new file on your machine, called main.cpp and paste the code above into it. Depending on your operating system, there might be compiler for C++ built into it.

When working on Windows, I highly recommend using Visual Studio to get started. On MacOS, install a compiler like clang in the terminal, or get started using XCode, which can compile
C/C++ too.

On the structure of C++

As you can see, our code contains a main function and includes a package.

The package is built into C++, called "iostream" and holds functions for inputting and outputting data. Addressing data from a package can be done using the :: operators. Therefore, the function cout from the standard library is called std::cout. Alternatively, one can use a global namespace instead of explicitly addressing each function's origin.

using namespace std; 

int main() {
cout << "Hello World!";
return 0;

Each C++ "project" needs a main function, and only one is allowed. This function is executed automatically, and there is something special about it: Compared to all other possible functions in C++, the main function is allowed to not return anything. Therefore, the return 0; in our Hello World example is quite optional.

Author's Notes

Hard to write simple things with it, easy to blow of your feet while trying.


The incredible video series by The Cherno on YouTube.

Additional Ressources