STL Containers & Data Structures in C++

STL Containers & Data Structures in C++

STL stands for Standard Template Library. If you've used C++ even in small projects, you've likely already used STL - which is a great thing! Using STL in C++ makes your code more expressive, simple, and easy to understand. This post will give you an overview of how STL works, some examples, and the basic knowledge you need to get started!

What is STL?

STL stands for Standard Template Library. If you've used C++ even in small projects, you've likely already used STL - which is a great thing! Using STL in C++ makes your code more expressive, simple, and easy to understand. This post will give you an overview of how STL works, some examples, and the basic knowledge you need to get started!

STL Components

Loosely speaking, the first components you'd typically understand and use of STL are Containers & Algorithms. Then there's also Iterators & Functors, but you should try to take them on one by one, in that order perhaps. This blog will expand a bit on STL Containers.

Containers

Suppose you are at your favorite cinema hall and it's the launch of a big movie. Since it's the launch, there are likely many people waiting in line to buy their tickets. Naturally, you join the queue at the back and wait for your turn. In the computing world, we have a queue too! This is a popular data structure. If you've had a Data Structures class before, you are most likely familiar with some other data structures as well. These are often used, so the STL provides a great implementation of all these data structures, otherwise known as containers.

Take arrays, for example. Arrays are elements with the same type, stored in contiguous blocks of memory. In C++, you can use arrays as you would in C, like this:

std::string students[10];
students[0] = "Adam";

c++ stl

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