Is there a decent wait function in C++?


One of the first things I learned in C++ was that

#include <iostream>
int main()
    std::cout<<"Hello, World!\n";
    return 0;

would simply appear and disappear extremely quickly without pause. To prevent this, I had to go to notepad, and save




This got tedious when I needed to create a bunch of small test programs, and eventually I simply put while(true); at the end on most of my test programs, just so I could see the results. Is there a better wait function I can use?

4/2/2016 2:41:43 PM

Accepted Answer

you can require the user to hit enter before closing the program... something like this works.

#include <iostream>
int main()
  std::cout << "Hello, World\n";
  return 0;

The cin reads in user input, and the .ignore() function of cin tells the program to just ignore the input. The program will continue once the user hits enter.


8/27/2013 6:28:54 PM

Lots of people have suggested POSIX sleep, Windows Sleep, Windows system("pause"), C++ cin.get()… there's even a DOS getch() in there, from roughly the late 1920s.

Please don't do any of these.

None of these solutions would pass code review in my team. That means, if you submitted this code for inclusion in our products, your commit would be blocked and you would be told to go and find another solution. (One might argue that things aren't so serious when you're just a hobbyist playing around, but I propose that developing good habits in your pet projects is what will make you a valued professional in a business organisation, and keep you hired.)

Keeping the console window open so you can read the output of your program is not the responsibility of your program! When you add a wait/sleep/block to the end of your program, you are violating the single responsibility principle, creating a massive abstraction leak, and obliterating the re-usability/chainability of your program. It no longer takes input and gives output — it blocks for transient usage reasons. This is very non-good.

Instead, you should configure your environment to keep the prompt open after your program has finished its work. Your Batch script wrapper is a good approach! I can see how it would be annoying to have to keep manually updating, and you can't invoke it from your IDE. You could make the script take the path to the program to execute as a parameter, and configure your IDE to invoke it instead of your program directly.

An interim, quick-start approach would be to change your IDE's run command from cmd.exe <myprogram> or <myprogram>, to cmd.exe /K <myprogram>. The /K switch to cmd.exe makes the prompt stay open after the program at the given path has terminated. This is going to be slightly more annoying than your Batch script solution, because now you have to type exit or click on the red 'X' when you're done reading your program's output, rather than just smacking the space bar.

I assume usage of an IDE, because otherwise you're already invoking from a command prompt, and this would not be a problem in the first place. Furthermore, I assume the use of Windows (based on detail given in the question), but this answer applies to any platform… which is, incidentally, half the point.

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