How to export from Anobii and import to Goodreads

Updated post here:

Book: The Mythical Man-Month

A staggering 35 years after it was first published The Mythical Man-Month: Essays in Software Engineering by Frederick R. Brooks Jr. remains the most important book a software engineer should read. I had been putting off reading the book for many years and finally gave in since it was one of the texts for the Software Engineering course I am teaching at university. My full review of the book can be found here.

Notes from Effective STL

I recently read Effective STL by Scott Meyers. My review of the book can be found here. Below are my notes from the book.

  • One guideline that is missing in the book: Do not extend the STL containers. It is possible, but brings about nothing but misery.
  • Item 1: Choose your containers with care

    The standard sequence containers are: vector, list, deque, string
    The standard associative containers are: set, multiset, map, multimap

    string is typedef of basic_string<char>
    wstring is typedef of basic_string<wchar_t>

    Scott does not mention this, but I find this useful because when you get compilation errors on string, they will mention basic_string<> and not string.

  • Item 2: Beware of the illusion of container-independent code

    This item mentions the most important trick to cut the verbosity of STL: Typedef everything possible.

    For example:

    class Foo;
    typedef std::vector<Foo> FooVec;
    typedef FooVec::iterator FooVecIter;
  • Item 4: Call empty() instead of checking size() against zero

    empty() is a constant time operation on all containers. size() can sometimes be a linear time operation on certain containers, like std::list.
  • Item 5: Prefer range member functions to their single element counterparts

    Instead of doing:

    for (int i = 0; i < MAX; ++i)

    Try this:

    std::copy( arr, arr, std::back_inserter(vec) );

    For an example usage of std::back_inserter see this post.

  • Item 9: Choose carefully among erasing options

    To me, this is STL’s biggest gotcha! std::remove() does not remove elements from the container.

    Use the erase-remove idiom to achieve actual removal:

    fooVec.erase( std::remove(), fooVec.end() );
  • Item 14: Use reserve to avoid unnecessary reallocations
  • Item 16: Know how to pass vector and string data to legacy APIs

    if ( !fooVec.empty() )  // This is important!
        someCFunctionCall( &v[0], v.size() );
  • Item 18: Avoid using vector<bool>

    It is a pseudo-container with a compressed representation of bools. Avoid using std::vector<bool>, use std::deque<bool> instead. It offers everything that the former does.
  • Item 21: Always have comparison functions return false for equal values
  • Item 23: Consider replacing associative containers with sorted vectors

    If the container is used in a phased manner, first phase only for insertions and the second phase only for lookups, then a sequence container might offer better performance than an associative container.
  • Item 27: Use distance and advance to convert a container’s const_iterator to iterator

    STLContainer v;
    STLContainer::const_iterator ci = SomeFunction();
    STLContainer::iterator i( v.begin() );
    std::advance( i, std::distance<STLContainer::const_iterator>( i, ci ));
  • Item 28: Understand how to use a reverse_iterator’s base iterator

    The base() iterator of a reverse_iterator points 1 element in front of the reverse_iterator position. Use with care.
  • Item 29: Consider istreambuf_iterator for character-by-character input

    Useful for unformatted input from files:

    // Read file to string
    std::ifstream iFile("haha.txt");
    std::string fileData( std::istreambuf_iterator<char>( iFile ) ), std::istreambuf_iterator<char>() );
  • Item 30: Make sure destination ranges are big enough

    This usually leads to bugs. Instead, whenever possible use one of the inserters: std::inserter, std::back_inserter or std::front_inserter.

    For an example usage of std::back_inserter see this post.
  • Item 31: Know your sorting options

    Ordered by performance, best to worst:
  • Item 34: Note which algorithms expect sorted ranges

    These are:
  • Item 37: Use accumulate or for_each to summarize ranges
  • Item 39: Make predicates pure functions

    Predicate is a function that returns bool.
    Pure function is a function whose return value depends only on its input parameters. It does not have any side effects.
  • Item 40: Make functor classes adaptable

    Inherit functors from std::unary_function or std::binary_function so that the necessary types are defined nicely for you.

    Defining functors as classes or structs is purely a matter of style. STL uses structs. Some may find it better since there is no need to declare it as public.
  • Item 43: Prefer algorithm calls to hand written loops
  • Item 44: Prefer member functions to algorithms with the same names
  • Item 45: Distinguish among count, find, binary_search, lower_bound, upper_bound and equal_range
  • Item 46: Consider function objects instead of functions as algorithm parameters

    Passing functors is actually faster than passing pointer to a function! 🙂