To use C++ to its full potential, we must use the multitude of utilities it provides.

As C++11 has a lot of libraries, it is often not so easy to find the convenient one for each use case.

Utilities are libraries which have a general focus and therefore can be applied in many contexts.

Calculating the Minimum and Maximum

Examples of utilities are functions to calculate the minimum or maximum of values or functions to swap or move values.

Functional Programming

Other utilities are std::function and std::bind. With std::bind you can easily create new functions from existing ones. In order to bind them to a variable and invoke them later, you have std::function.


With std::pair and it’s generalization std::tuple you can create heterogeneous pairs and tuples of arbitrary length.

Reference Wrappers

The reference wrappers std::ref and std::cref are pretty handy. One can use them to create a reference wrapper for a variable, which for std::cref is const.

Smart Pointers

Of course, the highlights of the utilities are the smart pointers. They allow explicit automatic memory management in C++. You can model the concept of explicit ownership with std::unique_ptr and model shared ownership with std::shared_ptr. std::shared_ptr uses reference counting for taking care of its resource. The third one, std::weak_ptr, helps to break the cyclic dependencies among std::shared_ptrs, the classic problem of reference counting.

Type Traits

The type traits library is used to check, compare and manipulate type information at compile time.


The time library is an important addition of the new multithreading capabilities of C++. But it is also quite handy to make performance measurements.

Values of Datatypes

With std::any, std::optional, and std::variant, we get with C++17 three special datatypes that can have any, an optional value, or a variant of values respectively.

Now, let’s talk about the components of the C++ Standard Library.

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