The C++ Standard Library today is much, much more than the classical containers and algorithms of the STL (Standard Template Library). Ever since C++11, it now also offers:

  • smart pointers
  • utilities for function-style programming
  • utilities for template metaprogramming
  • hash maps
  • a regular expression library
  • a stream-based I/O library
  • extensive localization facilities
  • concurrency primitives such as threads, mutexes, atomic variables, and facilities for asynchronous programming

Needless to say, it is hard to know and remember all the possibilities, details, and intricacies of this vast and growing library. This is why our handy reference guide is indispensable to any C++ programmer: whether it serves as a crash course or a quick memory aid, its condensed, well-structured summary of the full C++ Standard Library will bring you one step closer to mastering modern C++.

Why This Book...

...aren't there many other similar books already?

As far as we know: no.

  1. Most other Standard Library books are hopelessly out of date and incomplete. They cover little more than the STL containers and algorithms, as they have not been updated with the many essential classes and functions added by C++11 and beyond. C++ Standard Library Quick Reference covers the full scope of the C++14 and C11 Standard Libraries!
  2. Other books are often very long and expensive. In our Quick Reference there are no page-long, repetitive examples; obscure, rarely used features; or bloated, lengthy explanations that could be summarized in just a few bullets. Instead, this book strives to be exactly that: a summary. Everything you need to know and watch out for in practice is outlined in a compact, to-the-point style, interspersed with practical tips and short, well-chosen, clarifying examples.

...aren't there online reference guides already?

True: there are some excellent online reference sites out there. However: our book perfectly complements these. Websites are not suited at all for back-to-back reading. Our readers, on the other hand, tell us that the C++ Standard Library Quick Reference is ideal reading material for instance on the train to work. And that from reading the book, they have discovered library features they did not know existed, learned about new techniques and tricks, warned about common mistakes and pitfals, or have had their memories refreshed on details they had forgotten about.

Who Should Read This Book?

The book is targeted at C++ programmers, regardless of their proficiency with the language or the Standard Library. Note that it does not explain the C++ language or syntax, so basic C++ knowledge or at least some programming experience is required. If you are new to C++ though, its tutorial aspects will quickly bring you up to speed with the C++ Standard Library. But even the most experienced C++ programmer will learn a thing or two from the book and find it an indispensable reference and memory aid.

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What You Will Learn

The following list describes the major topics discussed in this book.

Modern C++

Everything C++11 and C++14 have added to the Standard Library to facilitate writing efficient, portable, bug-free programs.


Which containers to use to efficiently store and retrieve your data.


The nearly 100 different algorithms the Standard Library has to offer to effectively inspect and manipulate data.

Lambda Expressions

How lambda expressions allow for elegant use of algorithms.


Everything from working with the standard string classes to searching for patterns using regular expressions.


How to write applications that work correctly with any foreign regional setting.


What functionality the library provides for file and stream-based I/O.

Smart Pointers

What smart pointers are and how to use them to prevent memory leaks.


How to write safe and efficient concurrent and asynchronous programs using the C++11 threading libraries.

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About The Authors

Peter Van Weert

Peter Van Weert

Peter Van Weert is a Belgian software engineer whose main interest and expertise are programming languages, algorithms, and data structures.

He received his master’s of science in computer science summa cum laude with congratulations of the Board of Examiners from the University of Leuven. In 2010, he completed his PhD thesis on the design and efficient compilation of rule-based programming languages at the research group for declarative programming languages and artificial intelligence of the same university. During his doctoral studies, he was a teaching assistant for object-oriented programming (Java), software analysis and design, and declarative programming.

After graduating, Peter joined Nikon Metrology to work on large-scale, industrial application software in the area of 3D laser scanning and point cloud inspection. At Nikon, he has mastered C++ and refactoring and debugging of very large code bases and has gained further proficiency in all aspects of the software development process, including the analysis of functional and technical requirements, and agile and scrum-based project and team management.

In his spare time, he has co-authored two award-winning Windows 8 apps, and he is a regular speaker at and board member of the Belgian C++ Users Group.

Marc Gregoire

Marc Gregoire

Marc Gregoire is a software engineer from Belgium. He graduated from the University of Leuven, Belgium, with a degree in “Burgerlijk ingenieur in de computer wetenschappen” (equivalent to a master’s of science in engineering in computer science). The year after, he received the cum laude degree of master’s in artificial intelligence at the same university. After his studies, Marc started working for a software consultancy company called Ordina Belgium. As a consultant, he worked for Siemens and Nokia Siemens Networks on critical 2G and 3G software running on Solaris for telecom operators. This required working in international teams stretching from South America and USA to EMEA and Asia. Now, Marc is working for Nikon Metrology on industrial 3D laser scanning software.

His main expertise is C/C++, specifically Microsoft VC++ and the MFC framework. He has experience in developing C++ programs running 24/7 on Windows and Linux platforms: for example, KNX/EIB home automation software. In addition to C/C++, Marc also likes C# and uses PHP for creating web pages.

Since April 2007, he has received the yearly Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award for his Visual C++ expertise.

Marc is the founder of the Belgian C++ Users Group (, author of Professional C++, and a member on the CodeGuru forum (as Marc G). He maintains a blog at

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