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The purpose of articles

I have a few thoughts about the direction of some articles on this page

Lets aim to keep all articles on the point of "how do i solve a real-world problem" rather than "how do i use feature X of the language". This is for a variety of reasons:

  • C++ reference sites which describe language syntax are everywhere. This site is never going to rival MSDN no matter how hard we try, so lets not bother trying :-)
  • Examples describing language syntax or library generally need a wordy explanation to be useful/meaningful
  • the questions which are frequently asked on forums are rarely of the form "how do i use <some language feature>" (OK, that's actually not true, but such questions rightly get answered with "RTFM" or "STFW").
  • Ensuring each example serves a clear, distinctive purpose - So, "Tabular text output" would be a better context than "<iomanip> example usage".
  • Addressing a familiar concrete problem is often better to help novices connect the dots as they build up their repertoire of problem solving techniques.
  • Articles which talk about a single language feature are often contrived using "weird" techniques to solve problems in a way which makes no sense; such articles do more harm than good, since readers will always expect to see the right way to solve a problem. There are already too many pages on the internet which encourage bad habits, so lets avoid that trap.
Absolutely - I completely agree! I have indeed (oops!) planted many of these "example of a language feature" seed examples. We should definitely go through them and change them to describe how to solve a problem. I am out of town for a few weeks, but when I get back I'll look through them (if you all haven't already!).
Keep the suggestions rolling! Daviddoria 23:16, 1 July 2010 (UTC)