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+ 11

Forward declarations - differences between functions and classes

Following case: g(); int f() { return g(); } This will work since g has been prototyped, it doesn't need to be defined now. class A; class B { A f() {return A{};} This will not work although A is prototyped - this time, before I define B.f, I need to define A first. Why is this different? Just like f in the former example, method f is not called now; can't it rely on A 'being there when it's needed just like f does in the former example? And doesn't it lead to pain when you have different classes in different files with cpps and hpps separated, and everything relies on the other?

9th May 2019, 4:42 PM
HonFu - avatar
5 Answers
+ 6
I think it's because we're mostly interested in the size of `A` (because behind the scenes we have to allocate/reserve the correct amount of space when handling `A`s), and we can't possibly know that with just a forward declaration. For example: class A; int main() { A a; int b; // Where on the stack is b? }
9th May 2019, 5:46 PM
Schindlabua - avatar
+ 5
Exactly. When dealing with functions on the contrary size is mostly irrelevant, and we care only about the return type (and parameters).
9th May 2019, 6:13 PM
Schindlabua - avatar
+ 4
Is "return A{};" an accepted way of invoking the default constructor of A? So can I assume from the discussion that compilation success depends on knowing the sizes? I.e. forward function declaration succeeds because the size of a function pointer and its return type are known from the prototype, whereas forward class declaration fails compilation if instantion is involved which requires the complete class definition?
10th May 2019, 2:12 AM
Sonic - avatar
Class is user define datatype and it is a collection of data mamber and mamber function Class class name { Data members () ; Mamber function (); } In function we write code and also do some operation Function is use for invoked same data more than one time
17th May 2019, 2:42 AM
Vrushabh Dhande
- 1
10th May 2019, 12:37 PM