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static class declaration

Posted on 2003-11-14
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Last Modified: 2010-04-01
Suppose we have  class declaration :

class A
{
......................
.....................
private:
           static class A *pA;
};

My question is what is the use of the 'pA' variable and why is it defined static ?

Thanks...........
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Question by:schss
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Expert Comment

by:itsmeandnobodyelse
ID: 9746360
'static' means that his member exists once for all instances of the class, it is therefore a member of the class and not of an instance.

You may use this feature for counters or pointers to another class where only one instance exists, e. g.
static CMyApp* m_pApp;
         
Regards, Alex
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itsmeandnobodyelse earned 125 total points
ID: 9746453
In your code

class A
{
......................
.....................
private:
           static class A *pA;
};

you have a static pointer to a class instance of A. That means that if the pointer is valid, you have one instance of class A that can be accessed by all other instances of class A. For example if you store all instances to a linked list then pA might point to the head of the list, thus giving access to all other instances.

Regards, Alex
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Expert Comment

by:jhshukla
ID: 9767908
>> My question is what is the use of the 'pA' variable and why is it defined static ?

so that it can be accessed even without instantiating an object of class A. of course, to dereference pA you will have to instantiate an object.

One possible use is to make it point to the latest instantiation of A. like:
A::A(){
  pA = this;
}
A::~A(){
  if(this == pA) pA=NULL;
}

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by:tinchos
ID: 10249186
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