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Tip of the Day
Home » Tip Bank » C++
Language: C++
Expertise: All
Feb 20, 1998

Prefer Enums Over #define Macros When You Need a Fixed Set of Values

Instead of using #define macros to create a set of values, as in this (deprecated) example:
 
#define JAN	1
#define FEB	2
//...
#define DEC	12
Enum types are a significantly better choice:
 //file enums.h
enum Months {
	//a list of enumerators: 
	Jan,  	
	Feb,
	//...
	Dec };

enum Days {
	Sun,
	Mon,
	//...
	};
There are several benefits to the use of enums.

1. They are safe, because the compiler checks that an enum is always assigned a valid value (one of the enumerators in the enum's definition and no other). Enum types behave like any other built-in type so you can use them to overload functions:

 
#include 
Danny Kalev
 
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