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Showing posts from August, 2009

Modifying temporaries

Temporary objects are created and destroyed all the time in a C++ program. A simple example would be a function that returns by value. A temporary is as good as a const object because it makes little sense (usually) to change a temporary object, which is unnamed and has a very short time span. (Note: A temporary can be bound to a const reference in which case the scope of the temporary is the same as that of the reference.) However, as it turns out, in C++ you can change temporaries ... if they are of class type! You can call non-const member functions on a temporary. This is quite similar to binding a temporary to a non-const reference and changing it. Section 3.10.10 in C++ ISO/IEC 14882:1998 standard clearly mentions this exception. There are at least two practical use of such an exception. One is the " Named Parameter " idiom and the other one is the Move Constructor idiom . In case of the named parameter idiom, the member functions might prefer to return the object by no