Why is this template class changing the output of General and not OldVars?

I am compiling the below code using Microsoft VC++ 6.0. But the setall function below is only changing General::a and not OldVars::a. Why? And what should I do so that I can change both General::a and OldVars::a?

#include <fstream.h>

class d{};
class general {};
class oldvar {};
class newvar {};

template <class T> class test
{
      public:
            static int a;
};

int test<general>::a = 321;
int test<oldvar>::a = 420;
int test<newvar>::a = 123;

typedef test<general> General;
typedef test<oldvar> OldVar;
typedef test<newvar> NewVar;

template <typename T>
void set(int a)
{
      T::a=a;
}

void setall(int x, int y)
{
      set<OldVar>(y);
      set<General>(x);
}

int main(int argc, char* argv[])
{
      cout << "General " << General::a << endl;
      cout << "OldVar " << OldVar::a << endl;
      cout << "NewVar " << NewVar::a << endl << endl;
      setall(5,10);
      cout << "General " << General::a << endl;
      cout << "OldVar " << OldVar::a << endl;
      cout << "NewVar " << NewVar::a << endl;
      return 0;
}
shuklasunilAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

x
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

shuklasunilAuthor Commented:
To add, strangely it looks like "set<OldVar>(y)" doesn’t calls "set<OldVar>(int)" function but calls set<General>(x). Therefore its only changing General::a.
Its still not clear why it behaving this way. I confirmed this by reversing the or of "set" function then it changes OldVar::a. :(
colmccCommented:
Interesting.  I get similar results using Borland.  Except, with Borland it's OldVar, not General, that gets changed.

I've got some idea what is going on.  I think it is to do with template instantiation.  It would appear that because the signature of the set() function does not contain T, only one instantiation is being generated.  All calls of set<Type>(int) are actually calling the same function.

I got the desired results by adding a dummy 2nd parameter -

template <typename T>
void set(int a, T* dummy)
{...}

and calling like this -
set<OldVar>(y, new OldVar);
set<General>(x, new General);

That's hardly ideal though!

It may be possible to force the compiler to generate all the desired functions.  I tried adding the following lines to force explicit instantiation -

template void set<General>(int);
template void set<Oldvar>(int);
template void set<newvar>(int);

but Borland does not seem to support this syntax.  You could try that in MSVC++.  However, it may be that you absolutely must refer to T in the function signature.

Regards,
Colin


shuklasunilAuthor Commented:
But why is it behaving like this. Is this expected/right behavior? If not does it mean there is a flaw in our compilers.
colmccCommented:
I'm not sure.  I think it might be undefined.  I'd be interested to here if the explicit instantiation trick works for you.  The C++ standard seems to imply that it should.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
shuklasunilAuthor Commented:
No it didn't worked. But your work around solved the problem thanks.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Programming

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.