C++ Notes: Idiom: Separate User Interface from Logic

User interface I/O (eg, cin or cout) should be restricted to only a few functions which are specifically designed for that purpose. For small programs it may be restricted to the main() function. There may be utility functions which are used primarily for I/O.

Debugging code is allowed. While you are debugging a program, it may be useful to put output statements at various points to monitor the execution.


One test to apply to your program is whether the essential logic or model of your program could be attached to a GUI (Graphical User Interface) just as easily as to the CLI (Command Line Interface). A yes answer goes a long way toward a well organized program.

If the answer is no, perhaps the program can be improved. If "the medium is the message", or in other words, the program is about creating an interface experience, then there may be no way separte the presentation from the logic.

Handling deep errors - exceptions

When an error is discovered many function calls deep in a program, an effective way to produce an error message without I/O is by throwing an exception. Don't print an error message; always imagine that the program might have a GUI interface and there is no console window for the user.