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  • 10 Tips for Writing Clean and Efficient C++ Code

    May 09, 2023
    Ahmad bin Abdullah
    Ahmad bin Abdullah
    United Arab Emirates
    Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah is a computer scientist and software engineer with more than ten years of experience. He is an expert in C++ development and optimization. Feel free to reach out to him for quick assistance.

    C++ is a study of a strong programming language that is utilized in a wide range of applications, including operating systems and video games. Writing efficient and tidy code in C++, on the other hand, can be difficult, especially for novices. In this blog post, we will go through ten suggestions for writing clean and efficient C++ code which will help you in your C++ assignment.

    Tip 1: Use the Correct Data Types

    Selecting the correct data type is critical for writing efficient and error-free C++ code. Using the incorrect data type can result in slower code that consumes more memory and is more prone to mistakes. There are various factors to examine to guarantee that you are utilizing the correct data types in your code:

    1. Size and Range: Selecting a data type with the appropriate size and range for the data at hand can be crucial for both performance and correctness. For example, if you are working with integers that will never be negative, using an unsigned integer data type may be more efficient because it reduces the overhead of checking for negative values.
    2. Accuracy: When working with floating-point data, it is critical to select a data type that delivers the proper level of accuracy for your requirements. If you're doing financial calculations, for example, you might need to utilize a decimal floating-point type like decimal64 or decimal128.
    3. Performance: Because different data types have varied performance characteristics, selecting the correct data type might be crucial for obtaining optimal performance. When working with huge arrays of data, for example, you may need to use data types optimized for vectorized operations, such as the SSE or AVX data types.
    4. Compatibility: When working with C++ libraries or APIs, it is critical to choose data types that are consistent with the interfaces. When working with a library that expects a specific data type, for example, using an alternative data type can result in errors or unexpected behavior.

    It can be useful to use typedefs or type aliases to define unique data types that are tailored to your needs to help guarantee that you are using the correct data types in your code. This can improve the readability and maintainability of your code while also lowering the risk of errors caused by erroneous data types.

    Tip 2: use the const keyword

    In C++, the const keyword is used to declare a constant variable. When possible, use const in your code to improve readability and maintainability. It also assists the compiler in optimizing your code by allowing it to make assumptions about the constant's value. For example, if a variable is never updated, it should be declared const.

    Tip 3: Instead of using pointers, use references

    In C++, references are used instead of pointers. They have a clearer syntax and can assist in avoiding frequent pointer-related mistakes like null pointer dereferences. Using references instead of pointers might also help your code to be more readable.

    Tip 4: Avoid Using Global Variables

    In C++, global variables can generate several issues, including namespace pollution, non-locality, and potential race situations in multi-threaded systems. When possible, avoid using global variables in favor of local variables or passing variables as function parameters.

    Tip 5: Use Smart Pointers rather than Raw Pointers

    Raw pointers in C++ can cause some issues, including memory leaks, dangling pointers, and double frees. By automatically managing the memory of dynamically allocated objects, smart pointers, rather than raw pointers, can help avoid these concerns. In C++, there are three types of smart pointers: unique_ptr, shared_ptr, and weak_ptr.

    Tip 6: Make use of the Standard Library

    The C++ Standard Library contains a large number of data structures and algorithms that can help you simplify and increase the efficiency of your programs. Instead of creating your own linked list, you can utilize the std::list container. Similarly, you can utilize the std::sort function instead of implementing your sorting method.

    Tip 7: Use macros sparingly

    Macros in C++ are a powerful tool, but they can also generate namespace pollution and unexpected behavior due to operator precedence. You should avoid using macros wherever possible and instead use const variables or inline functions.

    Tip 8: Avoid Making Extra Copies

    Copying objects in C++ can be time-consuming and memory-intensive. When an object is copied, a new instance of the object is generated, together with all of its member variables. This can be especially costly if the object is large or the copy operation is frequently performed.

    Numerous strategies can be utilized to avoid unwanted copies:

    1. Use const references instead of copies: When handing objects to functions, use const references rather than copies. A const reference is a reference to an object that cannot be changed, implying that the function can access the object without making a copy.
    2. Make use of move semantics: Objects can be moved from one location to another using move semantics without being copied. When passing objects between functions or returning objects from functions, this can be useful. Move constructors and move assignment operators are used to implement move semantics.
    3. Make use of copy-on-write: Copy-on-write is a technique that only copies an item when it is modified. When working with huge items that are regularly accessed but rarely modified, this can be handy. Copy-on-write is accomplished by constructing a reference-counted object that distributes data among several instances. When you change an object, a new copy is made and the reference count is updated.

    In addition to these strategies, when working with containers such as std::vector and std::string, it is critical to avoid unnecessary copies. Copying these containers can be costly, especially if they contain a huge quantity of data. When adding elements to a vector, use emplace_back instead of push_back, and when passing strings to functions, use string_view instead of std::string.

    Finally, minimizing needless copies is critical for developing efficient C++ code. You can reduce the number of copies made and increase code performance by using const references, move semantics, copy-on-write, and other approaches.

    Tip 9: Use RAII for Resource Management.

    RAII (Resource Acquisition Is Initialization) is a C++ programming approach that manages resources such as memory and file handles using object lifetimes. You can avoid common resource management issues like memory leaks and resource leaks by using RAII. Instead of manually maintaining the memory of a dynamically allocated object, for example, you may use a smart pointer that automatically deallocates the memory when the object is no longer needed.

    An Overview of RAII

    The core notion behind RAII is that when an object is formed, it receives a resource, which is immediately released when the object is destroyed. This can be used to ensure that resources like memory, file handles, and network connections are maintained properly and relinquished when no longer required.

    RAII is built with classes, constructors, and destructors. When a class is created, its constructor is invoked, which may then be used to obtain the resource. When a class is destroyed, its destructor is invoked, which can be utilized to free a resource. The programmer does not have to worry about manually acquiring and releasing resources, which can be error-prone and lead to memory leaks and other issues when using RAII.

    The Advantages of Using RAII for Resource Management

    Using RAII for resource management in C++ has various advantages:

    1. Simplicity: RAII simplifies resource management by automating resource acquisition and release. This can make code easier to read and understand while also lowering the risk of resource management issues.
    2. Safety: By guaranteeing that resources are correctly maintained and released, RAII can increase the safety of C++ programming. This can aid in the prevention of memory leaks, file handle leaks, and other resource-related issues.
    3. Efficiency: Because it reduces the overhead of resource management code, RAII can be more efficient than manual resource management. This could result in faster and more efficient code.
    4. Robustness: RAII can improve the robustness of C++ programs by ensuring that resources are always handled effectively, even in the face of exceptions or other wrong situations. Over time, this can make code more dependable and easier to maintain.

    The use of RAII for resource management in C++ has various advantages, including simplicity, safety, efficiency, and resilience. RAII can make C++ code more dependable, easier to maintain, and less prone to defects and other issues by automatically handling resource acquisition and release.

    Tip 10: Adhere to Good Naming Conventions

    Good naming conventions can significantly improve your code's readability and maintainability. You should give your variables, functions, and classes descriptive and meaningful names. You should also use a consistent naming scheme, such as CamelCase or snake_case. You should also avoid utilizing single-letter variable names or abbreviations that are not generally known.

    Choosing meaningful names for variables, functions, and classes is a key component of effective naming standards. When naming variables, use words that appropriately reflect what the variable represents. For example, if you have a variable that records the height of a rectangle, you should name it "rectangle height" rather than "height." Likewise, when naming functions, use a name that accurately conveys what the function does. For example, if you have a function that calculates the area of a rectangle, you should call it "calculateRectangleArea" rather than "calculateArea."

    A consistent name style is another crucial feature of effective naming conventions. In C++, numerous name conventions are routinely used, including CamelCase and snake_case. CamelCase is a name convention in which the first letter of each word is capitalized, except the first, which is lowercase. "calculateRectangleArea" is an example. Snake_case is a naming convention that uses underscores to divide words. "calculate_rectangle_area" is an example. Whatever naming convention you choose, make sure to stick to it throughout your code.

    In addition to having meaningful and consistent names, avoid using acronyms or single-letter variable names, which can make your code less readable and difficult to understand. While abbreviations may save a few keystrokes, they can make your code less clear to someone unfamiliar with the domain or problem at hand. Similarly, single-letter variable names might be perplexing, making it difficult to determine what a variable represents.

    Finally, choose names that are not already in use in the C++ language or any libraries that you are using. Choosing a name that is incompatible with an existing name may result in errors or unexpected behavior. To avoid this, ensure that your names are unique in the C++ standard library and any additional libraries you use.

    It is critical to use excellent naming conventions while building clean and efficient C++ code. You may make your code more readable, clear, and maintainable by using meaningful and consistent names, eliminating abbreviations and single-letter variable names, and checking for conflicts with existing names.


    C++ code must be clean and efficient, which necessitates careful consideration of data types, memory management, and programming strategies. You may improve the readability, maintainability, and performance of your C++ code by following the ten guidelines presented in this blog post. Always use the correct data types, use const whenever possible, use references instead of pointers, avoid global variables, use smart pointers, use the Standard Library, avoid unnecessary copies, use RAII for resource management, and use good naming conventions.

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