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Home » Tip Bank » C++
Language: C++
Expertise: Beginner
Jan 18, 1999

Octal Numerals

A literal integer preceded by 0 (zero) is an octal numeral. When using octal numbers, you should beware of the following common pitfall:
 
const int warning = 10;
const int error = 100, 

switch (status) {
case 010   // OOPS, decimal value is 8, not 10
   handle_warning ();  // unreachable code!
   break;
case 100:
   handle_error ();
   break;
default:
   break;
}
In this example, the programmer intended to format the case-labels in a uniform, fixed size of thee digits. However, the compiler treated each zero-preceded label as an octal number rather than a decimal one.
Danny Kalev
 
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