switching variable types in the same code

(Visual C++) if I am writing a database, and I want the user to be able to search based on different fields, is there a way to write the code once with a variable that can change?  For example: I'd like then to be able to search for int ID, char name, or int age - all under the same class.  I have a statement (in a member function) "if(targetID != searchptr -> ID)..... "  I want to be able to use that same statement for the different fields without writing the code 3 different times.  Can I set up a variable that can be set to int ID, char name, etc based on what the user wants and just put that variable in my code?  This question is from someone learning C++, so answers can't be too vague...  
ReidAsked:
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nietodConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Unfortunately, the question is a little vague...  but I think I know what you need.  Answer coming.
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ReidAuthor Commented:
Edited text of question
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nietodCommented:
Now that I think about it.  There are two possible ways to go here.  

One is templates, but I suspect that is not what you really need.   Templates allow you to write algorithms (code) that are independant of data types, then the templates are "expanded" or converted into code for the data types you need.  For example you cou might want to create a max function that returns the maximum of two integers and another that returns the maximum of two doubles.  The two functions have same algorithm, they just work with different types of data.  You can write the function one time as a template and the compiler will create a version for integers and a second one for doubles.

The other option is to place you field types in a class hierarchy.  This is more advanced programming, But I suspect it is what you really need.  You would define an interface in the base class that allows you to compare types.  This is going over your head isn't it?

I'll tell you what, can you try to give me a better idea of what you've got or need?  If you could post some code or e-mail it to me at nietod@theshop.net that would be great.  From there I'll try to give you an idea what direction to go in.
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nietodCommented:
I'm not pesterig you.  I'm just posting this to keep the question active.  Inactive questions are "autograded" after 21 days.  This comment us an "extension".

Hope the studying is going well.  
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ReidAuthor Commented:
Adjusted points to 150
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ReidAuthor Commented:
Thanks!
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