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I am a software developer with more than 15 years C++ experience and over 25 years experience developing a wide variety of applications for Windows NT/2000/XP, UNIX, Linux and other platforms. I can help with basic to advanced C++, C (although I do not write just-C much if at all these days so maybe ask in the C section about purely C matters), software development and many platform specific and system development problems.

Experience in the area

My career started in the mid 1980s working as a batch process operator for the now defunct Inner London Education Authority, working on Prime mini computers. I then moved into the role of Programmer / Analyst, also on the Primes, then into technical support and finally into the micro computing section, using a variety of 16 and 8 bit machines. Following the demise of the ILEA I worked for a small company, now gone, called Hodos. I worked on a part task train simulator using C and the Intel DVI (Digital Video Interactive) - the hardware based predecessor to Indeo. Other projects included a CGI based train simulator (different goals to the first), and various other projects in C and Visual Basic (er, version 1 that is). When Hodos went into receivership I went freelance and finally managed to start working in C++. I initially had contracts working on train simulators (surprise) and multimedia - I worked on many of the Dorling Kindersley CD-ROM titles and wrote the screensaver games for the Wallace and Gromit Cracking Animator CD. My more recent contracts have been more traditionally IT based, working predominately in C++ on MS Windows NT, 2000. XP, Linux and UN*X. These projects have had wide ranging additional skill sets including system analysis and design, databases and SQL in various guises, C#, client server and remoting, cross porting applications between platforms and various client development processes. I have an interest in the development of the C++ core language and libraries and try to keep up with at least some of the papers on the ISO C++ Standard Committee site at


What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I hope to grow my (UK) company - Dibase Limited - and to produce software products of my own, rather than always working on the assignments of clients.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

The Standard C++ Foundation is an organization supporting the C++ software developer community. Its web site ( is a useful place for standard and modern C++ information including a getting started section. The ACCU ( is an organisation for programmers who care about professionalism in programming and raising the standard of programming.

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Recent Answers from Ralph McArdell

2015-10-27 C++ Password & ID:

I presume this is a practice exercise of some kind - for coursework maybe - as no one in their right minds should be storing passwords in plain text -- or hard coding them as plain text in code for that

2015-10-13 reading buffer:

Sorry Andres but I am unclear what it is you are trying to do.    What do you mean you need to convert the values in the file to 'text'?  What do you mean by 4 byte and 2 byte blocks? Do you mean they

2015-04-05 Doubt regarding Vectors in C++:

Did you read my instructions to questioners?    If so did you see the part about posting code in questions:        "5/ POSTING CODE IN QUESTIONS:       I will reject questions requiring me to wade through

2015-04-04 Doubt regarding Vectors in C++:

Your question provides little specific detail so I shall state my assumptions:    1/ You are using a compiler with a good quality C++ standard library.  2/ By "vectors" you mean specialisations of the

2014-11-25 Memory layout for class instance.:

When I create a new class instance, how much memory is allocated for it?  ------------------------------------------------------------------------  The size of a class instance depends on the class definition


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