Splitting C++ Hairs

    February 16, 2006

There seems to be a C++ schism going right now as the Ecma consortium works out standards for the widespread programming language. The specification will bind C++ to the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI). This presents a problem for some because it ties the language a little too closely to .NET.

The basis of the controversy comes from the fact that .NET Framework is an integral part of the CLI standard. As ZDNet pointed out, it also paved the way for Microsoft to say that .NET was standards-compliant. They also pointed out one of the major strengths of .NET is the ability to write in a variety of languages. This isn’t a bad thing.

But, ZDNet continues, the CLI really needs support from a “neutral motherload language” like C++. This would allow CLI to gain some clout and really move to the next level. This is the reason Ecma is tying C++ to CLI.

This got the UK interested in the matter and they have problems with the International Organization of Standards-level because the C++ being bound to the CLI is actually different enough from the regular C++ that someone couldn’t really understand the period.

In all honesty, this isn’t surprising. ZDNet questions the authority more than once and based on this decision, they make an interesting argument as to why Ecma even has any authority to do such things. Assuming the UK charges were true, then there needs to be a bit of an overhaul on things. C++ remains an established and highly used language and the affects of changing it could be dramatic.

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John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.