Writing Generic Code with Templates
WHAT’S IN THIS CHAPTER?
- How to write template classes
- How the compiler processes templates
- How to organize template source code
- How to use non-type template parameters
- How to write templates of individual class methods
- How to write customizations of your class templates for specific types
- How to combine templates and inheritance
- How to write function templates
- How to make template functions friends of template classes
- How to write template aliases
C++ provides language support not only for object-oriented programming, but also for generic programming. As discussed in Chapter 4, the goal of generic programming is to write reusable code. The fundamental tools for generic programming in C++ are templates. Although not strictly an object-oriented feature, templates can be combined with object-oriented programming for powerful results. Many programmers consider templates to be the most difficult part of C++ and, for that reason, tend to avoid them.
This chapter provides the code details for fulfilling the design principle of generality discussed in Chapter 4 and used during the discussion of the standard template library in Chapters 11 through 17.
The next chapter delves into some of the more advanced template features, including:
- The three kinds of template parameters and their subtleties
- Partial specialization
- Function template deduction
- How to exploit template recursion
- Variadic templates
OVERVIEW OF TEMPLATES