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#pragma safety(on)

March 22, 2008

I was a bit surprised to learn how much effort language designers are putting into building safe subsets, to prevent users from committing such unspeakable atrocities like buffer overruns, and dereferencing invalid pointers. One would expect that in AD 2008 buffer overruns are old RedHat.

Similarly surprising, a vast majority of C++ developers (and ex C++ developers that defected to C#) consider C++ to be an unsafe language.

Not being a very productive bug writer myself (on a good week I may turn about five) I may not be qualified to speak. It has been a long time since I overran a memory buffer. Mostly, my bugs are in the multi-threaded area these days (when they are not logical errors, but let's not talk about that).

Since switching from the old C habits to the C++ style of using STL containers and smart pointers (yey boost::shared_ptr) my buffer overruns have decreased to zero Kelvin.

Speaking of shared_ptr, (in either its boost or TR1 incarnation) I saw a very good presentation at the Northwest C++ Users Group on Wednesday: Stephan T Lavavej did an impressive tour of shared_ptr, useful both to beginners as to the more seasoned developers.

And I expect to see my bug rate decrease in the multi-threaded area as soon as I make the transition from hand-crafted thread synchronization to using Thread Building Blocks.

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