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Temporary Variables: Keep Your Values Close, and Your References and Pointers Even Closer


As you know, in programming C++, it is much better to return a reference to an object than it is to return that object by value. As we will see in this article, it is also much better to pass a function parameter by reference than it is to pass it by value. But there are exceptions to this, as Jun Nakamura explains.

Author Info:
By: J. Nakamura
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 11
September 26, 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Temporary Variables: Keep Your Values Close, and Your References and Pointers Even Closer
  2. · To pass or not to pass by value
  3. · Const-Correctness
  4. · Call optimization
  5. · Examining possible dangers
  6. · The cost of implicit conversion

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Temporary Variables: Keep Your Values Close, and Your References and Pointers Even Closer
(Page 1 of 6 )

You will find it a very good practice always to verify your references, sir.

[Martin Routh 1755-1854]

Finding the Closest Enemy

We have been looking at temporary objects and the effect they can have on the performance of an application. As an example I offered a function that can tell the AI of a game which enemy is located closest to the player from a list that was provided as a function argument.

Refer to the previous article for the initial definition of the following function:

Enemy FindClosest(list<Enemy> enemies, Player player);

The conclusion was that it is much better to return a reference to an object than it is to return that object by value. Likewise it is much better to pass a function parameter by reference than it is to pass it by value. We actually have to apply this rule to this function before we can return a reference to an enemy.


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