Can C++ Be Used for Web Development?

C++ is a common programming language with many different uses, and software developers worldwide have built fantastic inventions using it. But can it be used for web development, or is it strictly a software language?

C++ can be used for web development, but C++ programs take up more memory than other programs and so they aren’t ideal for small-scale webpages and applications. C++ is better used for low-level software infrastructure, like the Internet of Things or database interfaces like MySQL.

Read on to learn more about what makes C++ an okay language for web development. You will also learn how to build a website with C++, the ideal uses of C++, and what languages you should focus on learning if you want to become a web developer.

Can You Build Websites With C++?

C++ is what’s known as a back-end language, meaning that it’s used on a server to communicate with databases. Most websites involve at least one back-end language, but C++ is not a common one. 

C++ is an older, more complex language than most languages used for web development, and most web developers find that other languages offer more flexibility and ease of use than C++.

Most often, C++ is used in conjunction with another language that is more accessible and can interpret the C++ in different browsers and environments. This is not necessary in every case but can increase the capabilities of C++.

If you’re just starting to learn to program, C++ might make sense to learn, but not if you’re looking to be a web developer. C++ is a better choice for future software developers rather than for people who want to build websites. 

Can You Use C++ in HTML?

You can use C++ to output HTML elements, but you can’t insert C++ directly into an HTML file unless you have a compiler or interpreter installed that’s written in JavaScript.

An example is JSCPP, an open-source package based on Node.js. To use it, you can clone the JSCPP git repository found here and then use the node package manager to install the package.

Alternatively, you can download or include the minified JavaScript file available in the repository. This will allow you to use C++ as a scripting language inside your HTML files.

Unlike C++, PHP is a very popular backend language used to build websites. But should you learn it before you master HTML? Find out more in this article.

Can You Embed a C++ App in a Web Page?

In most cases, C++ applications need to be downloaded and run on the client’s machine, not delivered via a browser. However, there are exceptions to the rule when you involve JavaScript that can interpret and present the C++ application in a way that the browser will understand. 

Several browsers also come with special add-ons for reading C++ applications, like Native Client for Chrome or ActiveX for Internet Explorer. 

Video: Should You Learn C++ in 2021

How To Build a Website With C++

To build a website with C++, you’ll need an appropriate hosting environment and possibly a JavaScript interpreter, depending on whether you want to integrate your C++ into an HTML file. 

Follow these steps to build your own website using C++:

Choose a Host

First, find a hosting service where your website can live, whether that be a dedicated server or a shared hosting service like cPanel or an Amazon EC2 instance. These will give you some room on a remote server to hold your site, and most are compatible with C++. 

If you’re unsure, however, look for CGI compatibility. CGI stands for Common Gateway Interface, and it is a protocol that allows applications to interact with both servers and clients. 

With CGI compatibility, you can simply write .cpp files and compile them into .cgi files, which the browser interprets. However, this does mean that you’ll be relying on C++ to render all of your HTML. You can also write HTML on its own and integrate C++.

Create the HTML Structure

You can create the HTML structure of your web pages directly in C++, or you can do so by installing a JavaScript interpreter that parses C++ code within an HTML file. In either case, creating a content structure for your website is an important first step towards making your website, no matter what the site’s end goal is. 

Include a CSS File

Including a CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) file in your project will allow you to apply design to your content structure in the form of color, positioning, and visual effects. You can link a CSS file with a link tag directly in your HTML, whether you’re rendering the HTML within a .cgi file or elsewhere.

Include a JavaScript File

You can use JavaScript for front and back end needs, and it’s highly useful if you want your webpage to be interactive. JavaScript allows you to manipulate the HTML elements and styling on the screen as a user interacts with it, and it allows you to speak directly with the server.

JavaScript interpreters also allow you to use C++ right in your HTML file by giving the browser a means for understanding the C++ script. This means that you can integrate data from the server more easily and use it to conditionally render elements on the webpage.

Connect to a Database

C++ is compatible with SQL, and together you can use these languages to integrate data into your webpage. You can allow users to interact more fully with your site by giving them the options to send, update, delete, and receive data from a database, processed through C++ at the server level. 

Why Is C++ Bad for Web Development?

Besides being more complex to learn and use than most programming languages, C++ also takes up more system memory. This is partly because C++ does not have any data filtering tools to clear digital information that’s taking up space, unlike many programming languages.

If you use a CGI interface for your C++, this also means slower processing times. That said, C++ runs so quickly that this added processing time does not outweigh its benefits in most cases. 

Overall, C++ is best used in environments where low-level processing at the machine level is paramount, like in the case of robotics or smart devices. C++ can adjust the hardware itself, which means regulating the energy being used and adapting. Using C++ just for web development fails to use the best of what C++ has to offer.

Another flaw of C++ is that it’s possible to point to data in the same place from multiple starting points, creating ways for the code to malfunction. You’ll also need to control the allocation of memory manually rather than relying on an automated system. This is because of the amount of space that C++ takes up and because of the way that it runs.

Just like C++, Swift is also not the first choice for web development. In this article I let you know what Swift is great at and how you can use it for web development if you wish.

Top Uses of C++

C++ is best used for software and applications that rely on secure, complex infrastructure, like browsers and operating systems. Other common uses of C++ are in gaming and animation, where C++ can control the hardware itself to provide optimal use of resources.

Video: Create a snake game using C++

Web Browsers

C++ is used by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari, both in retrieving data from remote servers and in the client-side rendering of web pages. Browsers that use C++ tend to be faster and have fewer delays than those that do not. C++ is the industry standard.

Operating Systems

Operating systems like macOS, Windows, and iOS are based on C++. This is because C++ offers an energy-efficient way to manage a machine’s output, with easy coordination between the state of the hardware and the actions of the software. C++ also allows developers to code fine details of performance into devices. 

Gaming

C++ has been used to create games, including World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, StarCraft, and the gaming consoles Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. It works well when you need to access many resources or very large resources on the fly.

If you are a web developer looking to become a game developer, then I have a perfect detailed article for you.

Animation

Animation software is based on C++, which allows you to render models and simulations graphically and create motion graphics, virtual reality (VR) experiences, and mobile sensor applications. C++ is used in the creation of many visual effects for animated entertainment. 

Embedded Systems

Embedded systems in the Internet of Things (IoT) devices also use C++ as their main operating language. This includes everything from smartwatches to smart TVs, medical devices, and appliances. C++ allows programmers to create energy-efficient code, which is very important when programming a device with limited power capacity. 

Database Software

C++ is a great language for making databases more accessible. For example, MySQL is based in C++; this software allows developers to interact directly with SQL databases through a user-friendly interface. C++ makes sense to use when you’re handling large amounts of data at a low level.

Audio and Video Media Access

C++ is commonly used in software that relies on access to audio and visual media files. One example is the Winamp Media player, software that allows the user to browse, listen to, and share audio and video files and access radio stations available on the Internet.

Scanning

C++ is also used to create applications that scan visual information and create PDFs or other documentation. This includes camera scanners and film scanners, most often used to archive or exchange information. C++ makes it easy to translate input into the hardware into digital media.

Medicine

C++ is used in many medical applications, including MRI scanning machines and CAM systems that are used in hospitals, as well as in government buildings. When the performance and precision of the machine matters most, C++ is the best language to use. 

Compilers

Compilers that translate other languages are often written in C++. This includes compilers for C#, Java, and other languages. C++ is the backbone of many of these different languages, a common ancestor that you can go back to interpret languages on many different platforms.

What Languages Should I Learn To Be a Web Developer?

If you’re looking to work in web development, you’ll want to learn a range of front and back-end languages. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are essentials for front-end web development, while back-end web development requires knowledge of one of several back-end languages, like PHP, Java, or Python. JavaScript is versatile in that you can use it in the front and back end.

Did you know that 94% of websites are using JavaScript? So if you want to be a web developer, this is a must to know language. But how much do you need to know it to get a job? Not that much actually. Find out exactly what you need to know in this article.

The best front-end languages to use in web development are:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript (including JavaScript libraries and frameworks such as React and Angular)

The best back-end languages to use in web development are:

  • PHP
  • SQL
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Python

There are a few of other skills that are good to have if you want to become a web developer. In this article, I talk about whether you need to know photoshop or not.

Learning Web Development Languages

As a general rule, the more widely used a programming language is, the easier it is to learn it. This is because widely used languages like C++ have a strong community of programmers sharing tutorials, guides, and open source projects. 

If you’re teaching yourself to code in a new language on your own, you’ll find that online resources will likely be enough to help you along as you build your first project. However, suppose you want to work professionally as a web developer and master a new language beyond an introductory level. In that case, you might find that a professional degree is in order.

Bootcamps offer short but intensive learning experiences to cover the basics of front and back-end web development. In contrast, a computer science degree will be a long and thorough route to accumulating understanding and skills. 

C++ is among the most difficult coding languages to learn, so it’s not the best choice for an introduction to web development. However, if you already know how to use C++, rest assured that there is a way to translate your coding skills to web development and that it’ll be easier for you to learn a new language after having mastered one object-oriented language.

Final Thoughts

You can use C++ for web development, but it operates at its best in software-heavy environments, where the program needs to interact directly with hardware at a low level. For example, embedded systems like smart TVs rely heavily on C++. Operating systems and browsers are also ideal uses for C++.