C++ Standardization Committees
C++ has been undergoing standardisation since late 1989. Building on the Annotated Reference Manual and the ISO C Standard the committee have formalised templates and exception handling and added many other language and library features. More information on these changes can be found on the C++ - Beyond the ARM pages which refer to ISO/IEC 14882:1998 C++.

The draft standard went through two public reviews and the Final Draft International Standard was submitted early in 1998. This was accepted and the International Standard was published in the middle of 1998. The UK's main C++ information site has been maintained by Steve Rumsby but the content was moved to Cygnus's ISO C++ site in the USA which is no longer online. I don't know where the information went after that. However, WG21 has a good website that explains what the ISO committee is up to these days.

There are several levels of committee involved. Because this is an International Standard, the controlling organisation is ISO. Their working group is operating jointly with the ANSI working group (unlike when C was standardised: ANSI produced a standard and ISO ratified it). Up until 1998, we held three joint meetings a year. From the Defect Report process onwards to date, the committee is meeting twice a year, in April and October, and co-locates with the C Standard working groups for one of those meetings.


The International Organization for Standardization. The ISO C++ working group is WG21 - see the WG21 open standards website. There's a whole bunch of other working groups - in particular, WG14 is the ISO working group currently revising the C Standard.

Participating countries send delegations to WG21 meetings to vote on behalf of their national standards body (see below). Typically, we get half a dozen or so delegations at each meeting with Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, UK and USA being regulars.


The American National Standards Institute. Each country has its own national standards body and America's C++ working group, J16, is the largest contributor to the C++ Standard in terms of members.

J16 has a couple of hundred members - it costs $600 a year to join - and about 50 members turn up at each meeting. All the big compiler vendors have been represented over the years. There's a broad mix of other companies too, from one man consultancies (like me) to multi-nationals.


The British Standards Institute. This is the UK's national standards body. The C++ working group is IST/5/-/21 and we used to meet six or seven times a year in the BSI's headquarters in Chiswick, London. Last I checked most of the business was being conducted by email, meeting only if necessary to take a specific vote on something. You could ask to join the BSI panel by sending mail to Lois Goldthwaite, who was the convenor last time I checked.