Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2008

Function Template Overload Resolution and Specialization Anomaly

I recently realized that function template overloading and function template specialization can interact with each other in complex ways giving rise to quite surprising C++ programs. Consider, template<class T> // (a) a base template void f( T ) { std::cout << "f(T)\n"; } template<> void f<>(int*) { // (b) an explicit specialization std::cout << "f(int *) specilization\n"; } template<class T> // (c) another, overloads (a) void f( T* ) { std::cout << "f(T *)\n"; } int main (void) { int *p = 0; f(p); } Output of the above program is "f(T *)" (i.e. (c) is invoked in main). Now simply swap the order in which (b) and (c) are written. The output of the program changes! This time it invokes (b) giving output as "f(int *) specilization". The reason behind it is that when the integer full specilization (b) of f is defined in the order shown above, it is a full specialization of (a). But (c)