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a reference to an object ? (C++)

Posted on 2003-10-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-17
To C++ expert :

   Is it legal to have a reference to an object ? The following code won't compile, and I don't understand
why:
---------------------------
class A{
  int i ;
 public:
   A(int x) : i(x){}
} ;

int main()
{
  A &a_ref = new A(1);
  return 0 ;
}
--------------------------------
 it works when I change "A &a_ref" to
 "const A &a_ref". But I don't understand why can't
  we have a reference to an object .... ?
--------------------------------
similarly,

string a("meow") ;
char *c_ptr = a.c_str() ;

doesn't compile either ...... I need to change
"char *c_ptr" to "const *c_ptr" as well ? why is that ??
-----------------
 Thanks a lot !!!
0
Comment
Question by:meow00
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7 Comments
 
LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:marcin1
marcin1 earned 440 total points
ID: 9624503
First example does not work because new operator returns a pointer
to the object, so it should look like this:

A *a_poiner = new A(1);

Now you can access public methods and fields using ->

a_point->i = 5;
(if "i" is public of course)

Or you can dereference the pointer returned by new, using the star

A &a_ref = *(new A(1));

Dereferencing means getting the underlying object from the pointer.

I have no idea why it works when you change "A &a_ref" to
"const A &a_ref", it doesn't work on Borland C++ Builder 6

As for the second part, I don't know which library you use, but
I think the c_str() method of string class returns "const * char",
which is not the same as "char *".

"c_str()" is desinged for reading purposes only, that is why it returns
"const char*" - to prevent from changing the string, what could be
catastrophic in the "string" object.

0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:marcin1
ID: 9624506
I meant :

A *a_point = new A(1);

Sorry
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:meow00
ID: 9624645
Hi,
   I know this is a silly question ... but I really don't understand :
 if "new" operator returns a pointer to an object, why we can
 do :
   A a_obj = new A ;
 does the assignment operator " = " implicit do something there ?
 
 Thanks a lot !!!

meow.....
 
0
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:jcwlc
jcwlc earned 160 total points
ID: 9624763
References were created to make life easier for people who were confused by pointers!

It allows you to use . (DOT) notation instead of -> (POINTER) notation. However, unlike a pointer in C++, you cannot change it's value. Hence, the compiler forces you declare it as constant. You cannot have a reference to a reference, like you can have a pointer to a pointer...

I suggest you stick to one or the other when learning C++... Generally I only use references when passing/returning pointers to objects...

eg:

//returns a copy string object...
CString & func(CString &s)
{
   CString x = new CString(s);
   return x;
}


0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:meow00
ID: 9624822
Sorry .....
but
---------------------------
 string& func(string &s)
{
   string x = new string(s);
   return x;
}
-----------------------
does not compile for me ......
I got error message :
--------------------------
conversion from `string *' to non-scalar type `basic_string<char,strin
g_char_traits<char>,__default_alloc_template<false,0> >' requested
test.C:6: warning: reference to local variable `x' returned
-----------------------------
what does it mean .......
0
 
LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:jcwlc
ID: 9625008
Sorry,

string(s) should be CString(s)

regards,
0
 
LVL 1

Accepted Solution

by:
jcwlc earned 160 total points
ID: 9625317

const CString& func(CString &s)
{
    static CString x;

    x = s;

   return x;
}

CString y("hhh");
CString x = func(y);
0

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