Resource Management in the Windows API - The use of constructor/destructor pairs for resource management is the most important feature that distinguishes C++ from its predecessor.
It's fair to say the use of constructor/destructor pairs for resource management is one of the most fundamental aspects of C++. I might even go out on a limb and say it's the most important feature that distinguishes C++ from its predecessor, and even younger languages such as Java and C#. This ability to manage resources reliably and predictably is what makes it practical to write large programs in C++ that are both correct and efficient. In this column, I'll explore a few options for managing resources in the Windows API and describe some of the pros and cons of each.
The Windows API exposes numerous resources that clearly represent objects of some kind but are only indirectly accessible via C-style functions or COM-style interfaces. In my MSDN Magazine July 2011 column, I walked through the implementation of the unique_handle class template. I wrote this class shortly after the release of Visual Studio 2010, which provided support for move semantics. Since then I've used it extensively to manage resources in the Windows API. If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to read that column before reading further here.
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