D is being designed with lessons learned from practical C++ usage rather than from a theoretical perspective. Even though it uses many C/C++ concepts it also discards some, and as such is not strictly backward compatible with C/C++ source code. It adds to the functionality of C++ by also implementing design by contract, unit testing, true modules, garbage collection, first class arrays, associative arrays, dynamic arrays, array slicing, nested functions, inner classes, closures, anonymous functions, compile time function execution, lazy evaluation and has a reengineered template syntax. D retains C++'s ability to do low-level coding, and adds to it with support for an integrated inline assembler. C++ multiple inheritance is replaced by Java style single inheritance with interfaces and mixins. D's declaration, statement and expression syntax closely matches that of C++.
The inline assembler typifies the differences between D and application languages like Java and C#. An inline assembler lets programmers enter machine-specific assembly code in with standard D code—a technique often used by system programmers to access the low-level features of the processor needed to run programs that interface directly with the underlying hardware, such as operating systems and device drivers.
D has built-in support for documentation comments, but so far only the compiler supplied by Digital Mars implements a documentation generator.
D is still lacking support in many IDEs, which is a potential stumbling block for some users. Editors used include Entice Designer, emacs, vim, SciTE, Smultron, TextMate, Zeus, and Geany among others. Vim supports both syntax highlighting and code completion (through patched ctags). A bundle is available for TextMate, and the Code::Blocks IDE includes partial support for the language. However, standard IDE features such as code completion or refactoring are not yet available, though they do work partially in Code::Blocks (due to D's...