The gen on the BSI C++ Committee

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What's this BSI C++ Committee, then?

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Formal structure

The BSI C++ Committee, formally designated IST 5/-/21, is the committee that determines the British Standards Institution's position on ISO standard ISO/IEC 14882 (Programming languages — C++) and any other standards relating to the C++ programming language that may arise from time to time. The formal designation denotes the fact that the BSI C++ Committee has a parent committee within the BSI organizational structure, which is the BSI Programming Languages Committee, designated IST 5, whose main responsibility is administration of the committees that it is the parent of.

This is how standards work is structured at the BSI. BSI provides infrastructure in terms of administration and support facilities, and the actual grunt work of looking at the standards is done by committees such as the BSI C++ Committee, whose convenor is a member of the parent committee. The BSI C++ Committee is sometimes referred to as the BSI Programming Languages' committee's panel of C++ experts, the BSI C++ Panel, and that is a rough description of its rôle.

It's also how standards work is structured in the national standards bodies of some other countries. In the United State, for example, standards work on ISO/IEC 14882 is similarly done by a committee (of the American National Standards Institution, a.k.a. ANSI) designated X3J16, which is a sub-committee of ANSI committee X3.

Both ANSI and BSI — as well as other national bodies such as Standards Australia (SA), Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), and JISC — vote, as national bodies, at meetings of the ISO Working Group that is responsible for ISO/IEC 14882. This ISO Working Group is formally designated JTC1/SC22/WG21, which is usually abbreviated to WG21. Its name shows that ISO, too, comprises a system of hierarchical committees. Working Group 21 reports to its parent committee, SC22, when there is a Draft International Standard ready to proceed to International Standard status.

The ISO Working Group 21 meetings are held several times per year (usually co-located with meetings of ANSI X3J16). The BSI C++ Committee designates one of its number, formally known as the Head of (the BSI) Delegation and informally known as the "Principal U.K. Envoy" (Yes, "PUKE". Really.), as the BSI's representative at ISO WG21 meetings; although sometimes other BSI C++ Committee members attend as well.

The BSI C++ Committee itself physically meets several times a year, at times that are roughly determined by the ISO WG21 meeting schedule. The BSI C++ Committee usually meets once before every ISO WG21 meeting, to discuss the BSI's position to take to the meeting; once after every meeting, to discuss the meeting's outcome; and occasionally at other times, as and when the need arises.

Meetings are usually held at dedicated meeting facilities provided by the BSI, at its offices in Chiswick, London. However, on occasion, in order to provide accessibility to as many people in the U.K. as possible, the BSI C++ Committee has met in Oxford, in Gaydon, and as an informal "after hours" session at several ACCU conferences.


In addition to physically meeting several times per year, the BSI C++ Committee does work through a variety of Internet fora. The BSI supplies an "eCommittee" electronic forum to IST 5/-/21. However, this remains largely unused in favour of Internet fora that the BSI C++ Committee had set up for itself years before the BSI thought of this. These include a (committee members only) discussion forum on Yahoo Groups, a tracking system for the BSI items to be submitted to ISO WG21, and a wiki.


Membership of the BSI C++ Committee is voluntary and gratis. One is neither paid nor charged for being a member. Anyone in the U.K. interested in C++ standardization is welcome to attend, and should contact the BSI C++ Committee's convenor for details.

Here is a fairly random selection, intended to be representative not exhaustive, of some past and present members of the BSI C++ Committee:

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