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enum 2 int back 2 enum

Posted on 2002-04-10
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Last Modified: 2010-04-02

Hi Experts,

I have an enum type declared like this:

enum _en_Monts
{
   January = 1,
   February,
   March,
   April,
   May,
   June,
   July,
   August,
   September,
   October,
   November,
   December
};

Then I have this piece of code:

_en_Monts aMonth = June, anotherMonth = August;

long ulMonth = aMonth;

anotherMonth = *(reinterpret_cast<_en_Monts *>(&ulMonth));

MSDN claims that the last sentence is correct but the result is undefined. Is this the real case?

PS: Here is the example from MSDN

// Example of the enum keyword
enum Days               // Declare enum type Days
{
   saturday,            // saturday = 0 by default
   sunday = 0,          // sunday = 0 as well
   monday,              // monday = 1
   tuesday,             // tuesday = 2
   wednesday,           // etc.
   thursday,
   friday
} today;                // Variable today has type Days

int  tuesday;           // Error, redefinition of tuesday

enum Days yesterday;    // Legal in C and C++
Days tomorrow;          // Legal in C++ only

yesterday = monday;

int i = tuesday;        // Legal; i = 2
yesterday = 0;          // Error; no conversion
yesterday = (Days)0;    // Legal, but results undefined

// end of sample

This last line intrigues me. I run my code and it worked, but can I be sure that it always will?

Thanks.
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Question by:Mensana
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Accepted Solution

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Pavlik earned 300 total points
ID: 6934709
According to the standart of C++ every enum has different type. This guarantees that you wont be able to convert Days to Colors for example.
You can promote enum value to the integral type. That's why "int i = tuesday;" works. you should only make sure that you variable of integral type is big enough.
For example:
================================
enum A
{
  A1,
  A2 = 65536
} a;


char c;

a = A2;
c = a;  // here c will be equal to 0 , not 65536
===============================
There is no implicit conversion from integral type to enum type. Otherwise you would be able to do something like this:
========================
Days d;
Colors c;
int i;
c = red;
i = c;
d = i; //at this point d equals tp red which is just meaningless
========================
But you can make explicit conversion like d = (Days)i;
In this case you should yourself make sure that value in i is one of the constants defined in Days. Compiler wont do it for you. That's why you have legal code but undefined result in both cases.
Consider for example how you program will act after assidnment like this:
=====================
Days d;
d = (Days)123456;
====================

Best regards,
Pavlik
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