Stroustrup: It's a bit early to say. We [the committee] have started to consider proposals for new language features and new standard library components, but nothing has been cast in stone. We need to develop a consensus. We aim for a new standard in five years. That limits how ambitious we can be. If I had to guess, I'd look to improved support for lightweight concurrency, more libraries (something like boost::filesystem), and several minor features. There are study groups for concurrency, modularity, filesystem, and networking.
InfoWorld: How does C++ compare to languages like Java, C#, or the dynamic scripting languages that are proliferating lately?
Stroustrup: I can't do a detailed comparison, but C++ is more flexible (for good and bad) and tends to perform significantly better, assuming competent developers in all languages compared. The other languages tend to have massive standard libraries. For C++, the standard library is relatively small, and a developer is faced with the problem of choosing among a host of commercial and open source libraries when going beyond that.
InfoWorld: At Microsoft's GoingNative 2012 conference recently, you emphasized native programming, saying, "Something has to talk to hardware," and not everything can be a virtual machine. When should a developer opt for native programming, and when should a developer opt for a virtual machine-based language?
Stroustrup: Actually, it was Microsoft that emphasized "native" programming and chose the title, but that's the kind of implementation techniques I've relied on for decades. C++ has significant strengths compared to "virtual machine-based languages" when it comes to building infrastructure. In other words, where performance, reliability, resources, and complexity need to be tightly controlled.
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