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Hands-On System Programming with C++

Book notes - Hands-On System Programming with C++ by Dr. Rian Quinn.


Table of Contents - Highlights

Getting Started with System Programming

Benefits of using C++ for system programming:

  • Type safety
  • Objects
  • Templates
  • Functional programming
  • Error handling
  • APIs and C++ containers

The C standard language

The C standard is a huge standard that is managed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO): ISO/IEC 9899:TC3.


Standard C not only defines a syntax, the environment, and how programs are linked, it also provides a set of libraries including:

  • errno.h: working with errors
  • inttypes.h: type information
  • limits.h: limits of each type
  • setjump.h: APIs for C-style exception handling
  • signal.h: APIs for handling signals sent from the system to your program,
  • stdbool.h: type information
  • stddef.h: type information
  • stdint.h: type information
  • stdio.h: working with input and output
  • stdlib.h: various utilities, including dynamic memory allocation APIs
  • time.h: working with clocks

The C++ standard

Like the C standard, the C++ standard is huge and is managed by the ISO: Working Draft, Standard for Programming Language C++.

The POSIX standard

The POSIX standard defines all of the functionality a POSIX-compliant operating system must implement: 1003.1-2017 - IEEE Standard for Information Technology–Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX(R)) Base Specifications, Issue 7

Some key things it defines:

  • Memory management
  • Filesystems
  • Sockets
  • Threading

Under the hood, most of the system-level APIs that C and C++ provide actually execute POSIX functions; libc is generally considered to be a subset of the greater POSIX standard.

System Types for C and C++

Exploring C and C++ default types

  • char, wchar_t
  • short int, int, long int
  • float, double, long double
  • bool (C++ only)

C++, RAII, and the GSL Refresher

  • A brief overview of C++17
  • Resource Acquisition Is Initialization (RAII)
  • The Guideline Support Library (GSL)

Programming Linux/Unix Systems

  • The Linux ABI
  • The Unix filesystem
  • Unix processes
  • Unix signals

Learning to Program Console Input/Output

  • Learning about stream-based IO
  • Beginning with user-defined types
  • Learning about manipulators
  • Recreating the echo program
  • Understanding the Serial Echo server example

A Comprehensive Look at Memory Management

  • Learning about the new and delete functions
  • Understanding smart pointers and ownership
  • Learning about mapping and permissions
  • Learning importance of memory fragmentation

Learning to Program File Input/Output

  • Opening a file
  • Reading and writing to a file
  • Understanding file utilities
  • Understanding the logger example
  • Learning about the tail file example
  • Comparing C++ versus mmap benchmark

A Hands-On Approach to Allocators

  • Introducing the C++ allocators
  • Studying an example of stateless, cache–aligned allocator
  • Studying an example of a stateful, memory–pool allocator

Programming POSIX Sockets Using C++

  • Beginning with POSIX sockets
  • Beginning with APIs
  • Studying an example on the UDP echo server
  • Studying an example on the TCP echo server
  • Exploring an example on TCP Logger
  • Trying out an example for processing packets
  • Processing an example of processing JSON

Time Interfaces in Unix

  • Learning about POSIX time.h APIs
  • Exploring C++ Chrono APIs
  • Studying an example on the read system clock
  • Studying an example on high-resolution timer

Learning to Program POSIX and C++ Threads

  • Understanding POSIX threads
  • Exploring C++ threads
  • Studying an example on parallel computation
  • Studying an example on benchmarking with threads
  • Studying an example on thread logging

Error – Handling with Exceptions

  • Error handling POSIX-style
  • Learning about set jump exceptions
  • Understanding exception support in C++

Getting the Example Source

git clone example_source

Credits and References

About LCK#157 C++book
Project Source on GitHub Return to the Project Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LittleCodingKata GitHub repository.

LittleCodingKata is my collection of programming exercises, research and code toys broadly spanning things that relate to programming and software development (languages, frameworks and tools).

These range from the trivial to the complex and serious. Many are inspired by existing work and I'll note credits and references where applicable. The focus is quite scattered, as I variously work on things new and important in the moment, or go back to revisit things from the past.

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