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C++ for embedded - your input needed

Colin Walls

Colin Walls

Posted Apr 28, 2014

A frequent topic for discussion, I have found, both here and elsewhere, is programming languages for embedded development. Every developer has their favorite and has clear ideas on what is going to happen in the future. Market research also indicates certain trends, but, curiously, many of those trends have fallen victim to the innate conservatism of embedded developers. There is a strong “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” culture and I am not about to try to change that.

Currently, C is the dominant programming language for embedded. Market research has frequently told us that C++ usage will steadily increase and overtake C sometime soon. I have seen such surveys for about 20 years now and it does not seem to be happening …

Despite many people believing that C++ is a “better” language than C, its take-up has been sluggish. I am interested in this phenomenon and, although I do not think it is an ideal solution for everyone, I believe that C++ has something to offer many embedded software development teams.

In about a month’s time, I will be presenting a series of online classes on C++ for embedded – you can read full details and sign up here. I am currently developing the materials for the classes and that is where your input would be valuable. Consider these questions:

  • If you are using C++, what caused you to make that choice of language? Was the transition hard?
  • If you are not using C++, why not?
  • What C+ features do you think are particularly useful for embedded developers?
  • Are there any aspects of C++ that you regard as problematic/dangerous?
  • Have you found any novel ways to apply the capabilities of C++ to an embedded application?

If you have useful/interesting answers to any of these questions, I would love to hear from you – by comment or email. I think that real-world user input would add value to the class and thank you in advance for your help.

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About Colin Walls Follow on Twitter

Colin WallsI have over thirty years experience in the electronics industry, largely dedicated to embedded software. A frequent presenter at conferences and seminars and author of numerous technical articles and two books on embedded software, I am a member of the marketing team of the Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division, and am based in the UK. Away from work, I have a wide range of interests including photography and trying to point my two daughters in the right direction in life. Learn more about Colin, including his go-to karaoke song and the best parts of being British: Visit The Colin Walls Blog

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Comments 3

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Colin, please feel free to browse the talks I did at the 2012 Embedded Masterclass. They might trigger some thoughts to add to the collection you undoubtedly have already!

Peter Bushell
4:30 PM Apr 28, 2014

Thanks Peter. I'll certainly take a look.

Colin Walls
7:46 AM Apr 29, 2014

I have read through the materials Peter. Thanks for the pointer. You and I are very well aligned in just about every detail as well as overall philosophy. I particularly agree with your views on dynamic memory [I have slides that say a lot of the same things] and EHS [ditto].

Colin Walls
10:54 AM Apr 29, 2014

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