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Effective STL: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of the Standard Template Library *****

Effective STL: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of the Standard Template Library By Scott Meyers
Published June 2001
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50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Use of the Standard Template Library

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A C++ programmer is only as good as his ability to use the libraries available to him. An effective understanding of the STL, which this book will quite adroitly give you, is essential.
Effective STL is a great book. It’s a worthy successor to Scott Meyers’ other two must-have books, Effective C++ and More Effective C++. In fact, this book should have been called Even More Effective C++.

The format’s no different from the previous two books. There are 50 very specific tips on STL usage, ranging from the trivial (call empty() instead of size() to check for an empty container) to the obscure (Understand how to use a reverse_iterator’s base iterator).

The best tip in the book is the discussion on judicious use of STL algorithms. STL consists of over a hundred algorithms covering just about every possible need you’ll have. In most cases, you can greatly improve your code by preferring STL’s built-in algorithms to your own, but there are some situations where using the built-in stuff can just render your code unmaintainable.

My only complaint is that I feel a bit ripped off by the last two items. Item 49 discusses STL error messages, but not in enough depth to be useful. Item 50 is a set of reviews of STL-related websites. It appears that the author ran out of gas just before item 50 and decided to “promote” a couple of the appendices to items.

I guess I’ll have to dock the book 1/25 of a star, but that still rounds up to five stars. This is a book that you’ll want to have if you plan to use STL. End of story.
I would go so far to say that this book is a must read for any serious C++ programmer.