Understanding C++/Glossary

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an interface made by a system or library to provide access to features and services
the process of compiling source code files into executable files
an area of RAM used to temporarily store data. This reduces the time taken to access the data.
a file which can be read as by a computer, containing instructions to be executed
A method of forcing any data in the cache to be written to the output device.
a portion of code which performs a specific task and is relatively independent of the remaining code. Also known as subroutine although this is less often used in C++
a file which is included into the program, usually for the purposes of reusing the code in other files. Headers typically contain functions.
an integrated development environment, may include a text editor, compiler and debugger or other variations.
informally, a "whole number". An integer is any positive natural number (1, 2, 3...), any negative natural number (-1, -2, -3...) or zero (0).
runtime error
an error that occurs upon execution of a program i.e. infinite loop.
syntax error
an error which causes the compiler to fail while creating an executable. The error must be fixed for the code to be compiled successfully.
a variable assigns a particular instance of an object type a name or label by which the instance can be referred to. Typically a variable is bound to a particular address in computer memory that is automatically assigned to at runtime, with a fixed number of bytes determined by the size of the object type of a variable and any operations performed on the variable effects one or more values stored in that particular memory location.
Some simple variables include
  • int - this creates a variable that is an integer (32 bits)
  • long - this too creates an integer variable, but it supports 64 bits
  • short - this again creates an integer, but it only supports 16 bits
  • float - this creates a variable that supports decimals
  • double - this creates a variable that supports MORE decimals
  • bool - this creates a boolean variable, that can only be true or false (1 bit)
  • char - this allows one character to be entered (i.e. "W") (7 or 8 bit)