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Tip of the Day
Language: C++
Expertise: All
Dec 14, 1999

Introducing Pointers to Members

Pointers to members are one of the most intricate syntactic constructs in C++, and yet, they are a very powerful feature too. In future tips, I will discuss pointers to members in further detail and show to define and use them.

Uses of Pointers to Members
Pointers to members enable you to invoke a member function of an object without having to know the name of that function. This is very handy if you're implementing a callback mechanism. Likewise, you can use a pointer to data member to examine and alter the value of a data member without knowing its name. Thus, you can think of pointers to members as the object-oriented equivalents of function pointers and data pointers.

Pointers to Member Functions and Pointers to Data Members
A class can have two general categories of members: function members and data members. Similarly, there are two categories of pointers to members: pointers to member functions, and pointers to data members. The latter are less common because in general, classes do not have public data members. However, when using legacy C code that contains structs or classes that happen to have public data members, pointers to data members are useful.

Danny Kalev
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