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Home » Tip Bank » C++
Language: C++
Expertise: All
Nov 12, 1999

Avoid Returning Containers by Value

While the overhead of returning an ordinary object by value may be acceptable in most cases, returning a container by value is much more expensive in terms of performance. For example:
         
  vector <int> f(int n) 
  {
    vector <int> vi(n);
    return vi; //extremely inefficient 
  }
Remember that when you return an object by value from a function, the object copy-constructs itself on the stack. The process of copy-constructing a container consists of copy-constructing its elements one by one
Danny Kalev
 
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