The original title of C++ was “C with classes“. While he was a graduate student, Stroustrup was frustrated that available languages offered him either fast performance or high-level features for program organization, but not both. This inspired him to write his own programming language.
He set out to create a programming language that compiles to lean, efficient code, but also provides high-level abstractions to better manage large development projects. The language was later named “C++”, a tongue-in-cheek reference to ++, an operator in C that increments a value by one.
Since then, C++ has become one of the most widely-used languages in the world, especially in projects where performance comes at a premium. C++ continues to be updated and maintained; the current version is C++ 11, released in 2011.
The syntax of C++ is largely inherited from C. It adds object-oriented features to its predecessor, such as classes, abstraction, encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. It also provides functionality for function and operator overloading, generic programming facilities (such as the ability to create templates), and exception handling. C++ also features and a robust standard library (STL) of useful data structures, algorithms, and input/output facilities.