What You Need to Know about the AWS C++ SDK

For those developers who won’t leave home without C++, Amazon has some good news for you: version 1.0 of the AWS SDK for C++ has recently been released for use in production projects.

AWS developed the initial experimental version of the C++ SDK for AWS back in the fall of 2015. A developer preview version came online in March of this year, and today marks the moment when the SDK crossed the finish line and reached its production-ready 1.0 status.

AWS C++ SDK Changes for Version 1.0

In Jeff Barr’s announcement post, you can find out all about the changes and updates the AWS team have made to this newly-minted SDK. These changes include the following:

  • Semantic versioning
  • Transfer Manager
  • Updated build process
  • Simplified configuration
  • Platform-agnostic symmetric cryptography support
  • NuGet availability
  • A variety of bug fixes and improvements to the build process

Why You Might Choose the AWS C++ SDK for Your Project

Amazon, in its initial 2015 announcement for the experimental C++ SDK, highlighted game developers as their target demographic for the new language support. In a VentureBeat article from September 2015, an AWS engineer publicly stated that “This SDK has been specifically designed with game developers in mind, but we have also worked hard to maintain an interface that will work for systems engineering tasks, as well as other projects that simply need the efficiency of native code.”

It would seem, then, that there are two primary markets that might be particularly interested in this new SDK:

  1. Game developers who rely on C++ as the lingua franca for various 3D rendering engines, audio systems, networking libraries, and so on.
  2. Development teams who need the efficiency and raw power that can only come from a language that’s “closer to the metal” than interpreted languages such as Python.

The AWS C++ SDK Development Environment

You’ll have your choice of Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux when it comes to the operating system. IDEs such as Visual Studio are available for Windows-based C++ development.
The AWS C++ SDK team have purposely designed it to interface effectively with CMake – you can find out more about that in their article.

The exact minimum requirements necessary to drive the C++ SDK on your machine are listed on the SDK’s GitHub page:

  • Visual Studio 2013 or later
    • Visual Studio 2013 does not provide default move constructors and operators.
    • Later versions of Visual Studio provide a standards-compliant compiler.
  • OR GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 4.9 or later
  • OR Clang 3.3 or later
  • 4GB of RAM
    • 4GB of RAM is required to build some of the larger clients. The SDK build may fail on EC2 instance types t2.micro, t2.small and other small instance types due to insufficient memory.

 Should Newbie Developers Power their AWS Infrastructure with C++?

The answer in this case is probably a solid “no.” If you’re new to cloud development in general, you may be better served by exploring AWS from the comfort of a “friendlier” language such as Python or PHP.
On the other hand, if you’re dead-set on pursuing a career that will require the use of a lower level language like C++, then you may want to consider taking advantage of this new SDK.

A Comprehensive List of AWS C++ SDK Resources

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the most helpful AWS C++ SDK resources online today. If you see anything that should be added, be sure to leave us a comment below!

Where to Find Examples of the AWS C++ SDK in Action

If you’d like to see some more examples of the AWS C++ SDK in the wild, you may have a difficult time finding them. As the production-ready version of the SDK begins to mature, there will be some great opportunities to see the new SDK in action. Stay tuned!

What Do You Think?

Do you plan to make use of the AWS C++ SDK in your own projects? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and let us know what you’re up to!

For more information about getting started with the AWS SDK, you can also check out our AWS Certified Developer – Associate learning path.


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