Modernize Legacy C++ Code with CppDepend - A Comprehensive Guide

Modernize your C++ code

C++11/C++14/C++17 includes several additions to the core language and extends the C++ standard library. Some of these new features are very easy to use and bring a big added value to your C++ projects.

It's interesting to detect automatically places where we can use some C++11 new features. For such needs clang-modernize is a standalone tool used to automatically convert C++ code, written against old standards, to use features of the newest C++ standard where appropriate.

The CppDepend windows version integrates now the clang-modernize tool to detect the places where the following features could be used:

  • Override: Detect places where you can add the override specifier to member functions that override a virtual function in a base class and that don’t already have the specifier
  • Loop Convert: Detect loops like for(…; …; …) to replace them with the new range-based loops in C++11 and give you the new range loop expression to use.
  • Pass-By-Value: Detect const-ref parameters that would benefit from using the pass-by-value idiom.
  • auto_ptr: Detect the uses of the deprecated std::auto_ptr to replace by std::unique_ptr.
  • auto specifier: Detect places where to use the auto type specifier in variable declarations.
  • nullptr: Detect null literals to be replaced by nullptr where applicable.
  • std::bind: The check finds uses of std::bind and replaces simple uses with lambdas. Lambdas will use value-capture where required.
  • Deprecated headers: Some headers from C library were deprecated in C++ and are no longer welcome in C++ codebases. Some have no effect in C++. For more details refer to the C++ 14 Standard [depr.c.headers] section.
  • std::shared_ptr: This check finds the creation of std::shared_ptr objects by explicitly calling the constructor and a new expression, and replaces it with a call to std::make_shared.
  • std::unique_ptr: This check finds the creation of std::unique_ptr objects by explicitly calling the constructor and a new expression, and replaces it with a call to std::make_unique, introduced in C++14.
  • raw string literals: This check selectively replaces string literals containing escaped characters with raw string literals.

How do I enable this feature?

This feature is not enabled by default, and you can enable it from "Project properties"=> Plugins=>Enable Clang-Tidy Analysis. However, it will take more time to analyse your code base and it's recommended to disable it as soon as you no longer need its results.

modernization configuration in cppdepend

Once the analysis is complete, you'll be able to locate the CQLinq queries related to C++11 recommendations within the "Modernize C++ Code" category:

modernization queries in cppdepend

For every query, you can identify areas where your code could be modernized. By double-clicking on each result, you'll be navigated directly to the relevant section in your source code where potential enhancements can be implemented.

modernization sample in cppdepend

CppDepend offers a wide range of features. It is often described as a Swiss Army Knife for C and C++ developers.

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