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C++ Lecture 6 Object Life-times Creating objects using new Using pointers to objects Aggregation (Containment –UML speak) Other C++ class features.

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Presentation on theme: "C++ Lecture 6 Object Life-times Creating objects using new Using pointers to objects Aggregation (Containment –UML speak) Other C++ class features."— Presentation transcript:

1 C++ Lecture 6 Object Life-times Creating objects using new Using pointers to objects Aggregation (Containment –UML speak) Other C++ class features

2 Object Lifetimes See example of first lamp class where switch and bulb objects are part of the lamp. – The life of the enclosed objects is linked to the lifetime of the enclosing object, namely the lamp. – They are all created together and all destroyed together. – Does this accurately model the real world of lamps

3 Object lifetimes (contd.) See second lamp class – Uses pointers to the bulb and switch – The lamp class is responsible for constructing and destructing the bulb and the switch. – We can changed the parts that make up the lamp (see the change_bulb method) – But should it be the responsibility of a lamp to know how to create and change it own bulb? – Does this model reality?

4 Object lifetimes (contd.) See third lamp class – Uses pointers to the bulb and switch as previous lamp class – The bulb and switch are created independently of the lamp – They have separate lifetimes. – We can change the parts – The lamp class does NOT need to be aware of how to create bulbs and switches – Does this more closely model the real world?

5 Nomenclature Confusion exists over naming between different groups – Programmers, designers etc. – Aggregation is a general term – Aggregating using embedded objects is often called composition Rational Rose implementation of UML – the uses relationship : Class A uses class B This is called an association C++ implementation is by pointers – the has a relationship : Class A has a B This is called aggregation in Rational Rose C++ implementation is by embedding instances I.e class A has an instance of a class B

6 Member instances vs.member pointers to instances Which is better? – In general use class instances as members - restricts flexibility but offers more protection against error because the compiler automatically constructs and destroys class instance members. Copies them on assignment and initialisation. If the member instance is private access is limited to members functions and friend functions – Using member pointers requires more effort on the part of the programmer and fraught with pitfalls You must remember to explicitly construct and destroy the referenced object and initialise the pointer to it.

7 Member instances vs.member pointers to instances As a general rule avoid member pointer variables unless you need to : – use an instance with a different lifetime – share an instance with other objects – take advantage of polymorphism -coming to a lecture near you soon – de-couple specification files Unfortunately these situations frequently occur in real programs

8 The this pointer instances of a class each have their own private data for practical reasons there is only a single copy of the class functions which are shared by all the instances. So how do the member function access the correct object? Answer- using a pointer to the object The pointer is called this and is automatically passed to the function by the compiler. The this pointer is used to access the member data. E.g. this->data_item

9 The this pointer Example CPatient x; x.set_age(arg); //is interpreted by the compiler as set_age(&x,arg); Every member function has a hidden argument void CPatient::setage(CPatient * this, int a) the data of instance x is accessed via the this pointer so when the programmer has written age = a; // the compiler actually uses this->age =a;

10 The this pointer Normally we can ignore the this pointer We can use it if we require access to the invoking instance within a member function. See copy constructor in patient class. *this – de-references the pointer and refer to the actual object. de-referencing the invoking instance is often used to return the invoking instance. (See the functions operator= in patient class)

11 Static data in classes use keyword static in front of declaration – e.g static int serial_number; Static data is instance independent; it exists even if no instances of the class are created. There is only a single copy of the data The data is shared by all instances of the class

12 Static data class CAny { private: static int next_serial_number; etc. The static data can be initialise with a single definition and this is normally placed in the header file after the end of the class definition :- int CAny::next_serial_number = 10000; Note: The keyword static is not repeated. Static data is often used for instance counting, time stamps and sharing of common data.

13 Static Functions Normal member functions (i.e. non static) are always invoked with an instance of the class. To access static data an instance would have to be created. Static functions are instance independent. They are declared in the same way as ordinary member functions but are preceded with the keyword static. Static member functions are not called by using an instance of the class but by using the class name and the scope resolution operator:- CAny::func(args); Static functions are used primarily to access static data They have no this pointer and therefore cannot access non- static data i.e. normal class data members.

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