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The DEC C++ Class Library is a set of headers and other files implementing a collection of C++ classes. In the library, these classes are arranged in functionally related groups called packages.

For help on the C++ Standard Library, type

help cxxlstd


Developers of multithreaded applications should note that:

o Internal class library data is thread safe; multiple threads can access the DEC C++ Class Library simultaneously without compromising the integrity of the internal data.

o The predefined stream objects, cerr, cin, clog, and cout are thread safe. However, you need to provide synchronization around sequences of operations on these objects. See also: help on Predefined_stream_objects_synchronization.

o User-defined objects are not thread safe; users must provide synchronization for such objects if they are shared between threads. For more information, see help on the Mutex_package.

o The ios class member function sync_with_stdio() is not thread safe; if your application calls this function, the call must come before any threads that use the predefined stream objects: cerr, cin, clog, or cout.

o Generation of error messages within the Vector Package is not thread safe; the package uses static data members to handle the current error message and there is no synchronization between threads. Compaq recommends that you define a single Mutex object to synchronize all use of the Vector Package.

o The Task Package is not thread safe; only one task can execute at a time.


The complex package provides ways to perform arithmetic operations, such as initialization, assignment, input, and output, on complex values (that is, numbers with a real part and an imaginary part). Additionally, this package supports operations that are unique to complex values, such as principal argument operations, conjugate operations, and conversions to and from polar coordinates.

With the c_exception class and its c_exception function, the complex package also provides a mechanism for reporting and handling complex arithmetic errors.


#include <complex.hxx>

Additional Information on:

  • Global_Declarations
  • complex
  • c_exception

  • generic_package

    The generic package provides ways to simulate parameterized types by allowing the instantiation of class declarations using the macro facilities of the DEC C++ preprocessor. You can use the generic package to construct container classes. The actual types of the data members are passed at compile time as parameters to the class when you use the class name.


    #include <generic.hxx>

    To declare a generic type:

    1. Define a name for the class and specify the number of type parameters:

    o To specify one type parameter, use the name2 macro

    o To specify two type parameters, use the name3 macro

    For example:

    #define myclass(mytype) name2(myType, myClass)

    2. Define the class body as a macro. For example:

    #define myclass declare(myParam) class {...} #define myclass implement(myParam) ...

    3. Declare the actual class (any valid C++ type). For example:

    declare(myClass, T)

    By substituting one or another class, you can declare multiple instances of the generic class template with various component types. For example, depending on the type parameter you use, you can declare such types as list of int, list of strings, or list of lists.


    Classes in the iostream package provide methods to handle input and output streams, including the reading and writing of built-in data types. You can also extend certain methods described here to handle class types.

    This package includes, among others, the ios and streambuf classes, and the subclasses derived from these base classes.

    The istream (input stream) class supports input operations(extractions); the ostream (output stream) class supports output operations (insertions). The iostream class derives from both istream and ostream, and supports both extractions and insertions.

    The following stream objects are predefined:

    cin An istream_withassign object linked to standard input

    cout An istream_withassign object linked to standard output

    cerr An ostream_withassign object linked to standard error that supports unbuffered output

    clog An ostream_withassign object linked to standard error that supports buffered output

    To generate output, you apply the insertion operator (<<) to cout. For example:

    cout << "Hello\n";

    Providing input is similar to generating output except that you apply the extraction operator (>>) to cin. For example:

    int eye, jay; cin >> eye >> jay;

    If you include these fragments of code in a program, your system expects users to type in two integer values (for eye and jay) from a terminal. The iostream package supplies predefined extraction and insertion operators for all built-in data types, including char*.

    The iostream package also supports file manipulation. To connect a specific file to your program, instantiate one of the following class types:

    ifstream For file input ofstream For file output fstream For both input and output

    To format within character arrays, the iostream package includes the following associated class types:

    istrstream For fetching characters from an array ostrstream For storing characters into an array strstream For both fetching and storing characters into an array

    Additional Information on:

  • Parameterized_manipulators
  • filebuf
  • fstream
  • ifstream
  • ios
  • iostream
  • iostream_withassign
  • istream
  • istream_withassign
  • istrstream
  • ofstream
  • ostream
  • ostream_withassign
  • ostrstream
  • stdiobuf
  • stdiostream
  • streambuf
  • strstream
  • strstreambuf
  • Manipulators
  • Predefined_stream_objects_synchronization
  • User-defined_stream_objects_synchronization

  • messages_package

    The Messages package provides a way to retrieve messages stored in a file separate from your program. It consists of a single class, Messages. Objects of this class retrieve the text of messages for a given message set number.

    A message set number is an OpenVMS message identification code, including a facility code (bits 16 through 27) and a facility-specific bit (bit 15); all other bits should be 0. To process the message file, use the OpenVMS Message Utility (see the OpenVMS Message Utility Manual for details). Link the resulting object code into one of the following:

    Your program A shareable image that your program is linked against A shareable image that is then specified with the set message command


    #include <messages.hxx>


    The Mutex package provides a way to synchronize access to user-defined objects. It consists of a single class, Mutex, that manages the creation, locking and unlocking of Mutex objects.

    Construction of a Mutex object creates a recursive mutex that users can lock and unlock using the appropriate member functions or parameterized manipulators. A recursive mutex is a mutex that can be locked many times by the same thread without causing the thread to enter a deadlock state. To completely unlock this kind of mutex, the thread must unlock the mutex the same number of times that the thread locked the mutex.

    Note that user-defined objects are not automatically thread safe. Users must supply synchronization for such objects if they are shared between threads.


    #include <mutex.hxx>


    The Objection package provides a way to implement simple error handling in DEC C++. You can use this package to catch run-time errors encountered when using classes, and to change or restore actions associated with such errors.


    #include <objection.hxx>


    The Stopwatch package provides ways to measure intervals of program execution time. The package consists of a single class, Stopwatch. Typically, you use this class during the performance-tuning phase of program development.

    Objects of the Stopwatch class measure program execution time and return the result in floating-point seconds. The class includes the start, stop, and reset functions familiar to users of a mechanical stopwatch.

    You can time the entire program or select certain portions of the program to time; for example, a specified loop or program module. You can create a different Stopwatch object for each independent program activity, and name each according to the activity you intend to measure.


    #include <stopwatch.hxx>


    The String package consists of the single class, String, which provides ways to assign, concatenate, and compare character strings. This class also provides methods for substring creation and for vector access to a character string.

    For some applications, services provided by the String class are like those provided by the traditional C string library (strcpy, strcmp, and so forth), but are more efficient and convenient in the context of C++. Overloaded operators provide ways to assign, concatenate, and compare strings. New operators provide simple notations for substring creation and vector access into the string.

    All comparisons are lexicographic with the ordering dependent on the character set in which the string is encoded.

    An index value of 0 indicates the first character in a String object.


    #include <string.hxx>


    The task package provides coroutine support. A coroutine, or task, is a subroutine that can suspend execution to allow other tasks to run. Static data is shared among all tasks; automatic and register data is allocated separately for each task. Only one task can execute at a time, even on a multiprocessor system.

    Programming with tasks can be particularly appropriate for simulations, real-time process control, or other applications that can be reasonably represented as sets of concurrent activities.

    This package includes the object and randint classes, and the subclasses derived from these classes plus the histogram class.

    Also, note the following:

    o The sched class is intended for use only as a base class.

    o The task package makes use of other libraries.

    o The task package is not thread safe. You cannot create tasks simultaneously from different threads.


    #include <task.hxx>

    Additional Information on:

  • Global_Declarations
  • erand
  • histogram
  • Interrupt_handler
  • object
  • qhead
  • qtail
  • randint
  • sched
  • task
  • timer
  • urand

  • vector_package

    The vector package provides ways to define vectors or stacks of objects of any type by using the macro expansion capability of the DEC C++ preprocessor. When used with pointers, the vector package becomes a versatile tool for constructing programs to solve complicated mathematical problems.


    #include <vector.hxx>

    To declare a generic vector:

    1. Include the vector.hxx header in your program and declare the vector class as follows:

    declare(vector, TYPE)

    TYPE may be any other valid C++ type name. Make sure you define the declare macro in every file that references this new vector data type.

    2. Expand the implementation of all function bodies as follows:

    implement(vector, TYPE)

    This implement macro must appear once in a program.

    3. Declare objects of type vector, TYPE, and use the index operator to reference these objects. The following is an example of declaration and referencing:

    class MyType {//...//}; declare(vector,MyType); implement(vector,MyType); vector(MyType) vec1(100), vec2(5); MyType x,y; //... if(vec2[4] == y vec1[98]) = x;

    The TYPE parameter must be an identifier. If it is not a class name, a fundamental type, or a type name, use a typedef to create a name for the type. For example:

    typedef char * PCHAR; declare (stack,PCHAR); stack(PCHAR) ptrstack; char *p = "Text"; ptrstack.push(p);

    Additional Information on:

  • stack(TYPE)
  • vector(TYPE)

  • Customer_feedback

    Customers with support contracts should seek support for problems through local customer support centers.

    Customers who do not have support contracts are encouraged to mail problem reports to

    Although these reports will certainly be used as a source of input for fixing problems for new releases, we cannot give the reports individual attention. We can take remedial action only on a best-effort basis.

    If you have questions, suggestions, or comments, please send mail to

    When reporting problems to Compaq, please provide the following information:

    o Name and version of compiler (from a listing file) o Name and version of operating system o Smallest possible complete source and commands needed to reproduce the problem o An example of the incorrect results and the desired results

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