Creating a full-fledged interactive application or program using a high-level programming language could be daunting if you write the code from scratch. Using a library, however, could make this task easier.
Every high-level programming language allows a developer to leverage the code of another developer. This feature helps a programming language community to grow when more and more developers come together and share their code.
C++ is one of the oldest programming languages. Right now, it is not that popular as it was during its golden days and yet, it still has a huge loyal community across the globe. There are many popular applications such as Google Chromium and Mozilla Firefox which are built on C++.
Building a high-quality application, as stated earlier, using the standard code is very difficult, even for professional developers. That’s why developers use libraries that ease as well as hasten the process of application development.
Here, in this article, we have mentioned 10 of the most popular C++ libraries that you can explore if you are done with the standard C++ library. But before we begin, let’s first get a quick overview of a code library.
What is a (Code) Library?
A library is a collection of pre-written code, which includes pre-written classes, functions, methods, etc. We can use libraries in our program to enhance the program functionality without jotting down all the code from scratch.
10 Top C++ Libraries
- Active Template Library
- Poco C++
If you want to create a high-quality desktop application then you probably need Boost. It is a well-maintained, cross-platform collection of stable libraries that work smoothly with the standard C++ library. It contains many packages with pre-written code that cover a broad spectrum of applications and functionalities.
Boost contains many libraries that provide direct support for linear algebra, pseudorandom number generation, multithreading, image processing, regular expressions, and unit testing in C++.
It’s not like Boost is only for advanced C++ users. Even the intermediate developers can explore this library for fulfilling general-purpose library – like the smart pointer library – uses.
QT is one of the best choices for developers wanting to build graphical programs that could run on Windows, Linux, and macOS. Built in C++, it is, actually, an open-source widget toolkit. Apart from desktop platforms, QT applications can also run on Android or embedded systems with little to no changes.
If you are not into graphical applications and, instead, like the terminal and console interfaces even then QT can also be of immense use. With it, developers can conveniently build non-GUI programs such as command-line tools and consoles for servers.
Math- and stats-loving developers who enjoy implementing these concepts in real life using programming can leverage GSL or GNU Scientific Library for the same purpose. GSL is a free-to-use numerical library, which provides excellent support for programming in C++, as well as in C.
GSL covers a wide range of mathematical routines, such as complex numbers, roots of polynomial, matrix, vectors, and calculus. It is intended for ordinary scientific users. Anyone who knows some C or C++ core programming will be able to start using the library straight-away.
ATL a.k.a. Active Template Library is an open-source C++ template-based library that is designed to simplify the programming of Component Object Model (COM) objects. It provides support for various COM features, like tock implementations, dual interfaces, standard COM enumerator interfaces, connection points, tear-off interfaces, and ActiveX controls.
ATL is developed by Microsoft, and it is specially designed for COM objects. Before ATL, Microsoft developers used Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) for that but it would include large binary files with DLLs support.
Asio is that part of the Boost library, which is used for network and low-level I/O programming. It gives support for concurrency that helps a C++ developer to work consistently with the asynchronous I/O model.
Asio has been used in many live projects which include apps and games for mobile devices, dynamic and interactive websites, and real-time transaction systems for banks.
Eigen is a very powerful and free-to-use C++ template library for accomplishing math and scientific projects. It includes routines like linear algebra, matrices, vectors, numerical solvers, and related algorithms.
Eigen provides support for arbitrary matrix dimensions, numeric types – including the std::complex – and integers. It has good C++ compiler support as we can run our test suite against many compilers to guarantee reliability and work around any compilation bugs. Eigen is also standard C++98 and maintains very reasonable compilation times.
Dlib is for those who want to extend their C++ skills with machine learning algorithms and complex software. It is a modern and freely-available C++ library that can be used for real-world ML and complex algorithms.
The Dlib library covers a wide range of applications which includes domains like robotics, embedded devices, mobile phones, and large high-performance computing environments.
The C++ library comes with extensive, well-explained documentation that helps you get acquainted with its built-in features. As an added benefit, the documentation also features sample programs.
OpenCV is a well-known C++ library. There are, in fact, many high-level programming languages, such as Java and Python that also provide support for the OpenCV library. It is a very powerful and open-source library that supports deep learning frameworks to the likes of TensorFlow, Torch, and PyTorch.
OpenCV stands for Open Source Computer Vision. Although mostly used for ML and deep learning, there aren’t many C++ developers who use OpenCV, regardless of the fact that it is natively written in C++.
It comes with many features that include 2,500 optimized algorithms for face recognition, object detection, object classification, 3D model extraction, image search, and much more.
9. POCO C++
POCO (POrtable COmponent) C++ helps developers to build network-based web apps for desktop, mobile, and embedded systems. It is an ideal library for developers who want to create a web application using C++.
With the help of POCO C++, you can build automation systems, industrial automation, IoT platforms, air traffic management systems, enterprise IT application and infrastructure management software, security and network analytics, automotive infotainment, and telematics applications.
POCO C++ is a modern library that is useful for creating HTTP RESTful APIs for the cloud backend and server that talk to SQL databases, MongoDB or Redis.
C++ has a GUI-based and open-source framework JUCE that can be used for the development of desktop and mobile applications. GUI provides the best way to write C++ source code that can be compiled and run identically on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
JUCE framework gives its users direct support for user-interface elements, graphics, and audio in addition to XML and JSON parsing, networking, cryptography, and multi-threading. An integrated interpreter that mimics ECMAScript’s syntax and various other commonly-used features are also available.
That sums up the list of top 10 C++ libraries, which you can explore if you are done with the standard C++ programming. All the libraries mentioned above are open-source so that you can download them directly from their official websites. Else, you can also use a C++ package manager, which could download the same for you.
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