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Answered 2008-04-29 03:26:06

The C language does not support references, that is, the C++ concept of creating an alias to a variable. You can create pointers and dereference them, or you can use the preprocessor's #define mechanism to use another name for a variable.

Even in C++, however, you cannot create a pointer to a reference. If you try to, you will end up creating a pointer to the original value. This is because all a reference is is an automatically dereferenced pointer - a compiler shortcut, rather than a totally new feature. So the limitation of not being able to point at a reference isn't really too bad.

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pointer: to access data by address reference: there is no reference in C language


The difference that i learnt very recently and the one i remember :-)Reference cannot be changed whereas pointer value can be changed.Actually, const pointer = reference.


A pointer is a reference to some chunk of memory on your computer. To actually get the value out of said chunk of memory, you must dereference it (i.e. *pointer).


In JAVA, all variables are reference variables, and there are no pointer variables. Even though the platform may implement them as pointers, they are not available as such. In C, no variables are reference variables. They are a C++ enhancement. In C++ a reference variable is syntactically the same as a pointer variable, except that the use of the indirection operator (*) is implicit. You do declare reference variables slightly differently than pointer variables but, once you do so, they can be treated as non-pointer variables. Reference variables also cannot be redefined once they have been initialized to point to some object. They are const. Structurally, there is no difference between a pointer variable and a reference variable. They are both still pointers. The compiler just makes it easier to treat reference variables and non-pointer variables the same way.


Example: void foo( MyClass& object ){} // function with call by reference signature MyClass* p = new MyClass(); // instantiate a pointer to MyClass foo( *p ); // call by reference using the pointer


Create a pointer of the type (pointer to struct) and assign the address of an instance of the structure to your pointer: typedef struct x { /* ... */ }; struct x my_structure; struct x* ptr = &my_structure;


An alias is a reference, an alternate name for a variable or constant. You can assign the address of any variable or constant to a reference of the same type. A reference is a bit like a constant pointer to the type but, unlike a pointer, a reference has no address of its own thus you cannot store references. More importantly, references can never be NULL. They are simply an alternative name by which you can refer to an existing variable or constant. When you assign a value to an existing reference to a variable, you are assigning the value to the variable itself. When you pass a reference to a function, you are passing the address of the value being referred to, and that address is assigned to the function's reference argument and is local to the function. This is not unlike passing a pointer, but pointers may be NULL, references are guaranteed to be non-NULL (a NULL reference invalidates your program). Note that C++ references are not the same as C reference variables or constants. In C, a reference variable is simply a non-const pointer, while a reference constant is a constant pointer. Hence pointers can be dereferenced (both in C and C++). But in C++, a reference is neither a variable nor a pointer, but is constant (it always refers to the same object and cannot be reassigned once assigned).


Pointer in C is Memory Reference. It stores memory address of any variable, constant, function or something you later use in your programming. Pointer basically used to ease the referencing of variables and others or in polymorphism and inheritance.


Whenever memory that was in use, and was referred to by a pointer variable, is freed, and the pointer variable is not updated accordingly (setting it to NULL, for example), the pointer variable is considerred to be a dangling pointer reference.


Pointer in C are fun to programming.Pointers in C are variables which doesn't stores the value but points to the address where the value is stored.They are used for reference.


By reference. The name of the string is converted to a pointer (in C/C++) and given to the function as the address of the first element. (In Java, all objects are passed by reference, and there are no pointers.)


A pointer is a variable that can store a reference (a memory address) or can store a NULL value (zero). The only use of any pointer in C++ is whenever you need to refer to memory that, for whatever reason, may not be valid. That is, if there is any possibility that a reference could be NULL, then you must use a pointer, because NULL references are invalid in both C and C++.By way of an example, when you dynamically instantiate a new object at runtime, there is no way to guarantee that a sufficient block of free memory will be available, therefore you cannot reference that memory. For that reason, the new operator returns a pointer, not a reference. This is no different to the way the malloc() function returns a pointer, not a reference, in C.As well as dynamic allocations, pointers can also be used to pass objects to functions. While programmers are encouraged to pass objects by reference rather than by value, it is sometimes desirable to pass a NULL reference. But since references can never be NULL, a NULL pointer must be passed instead.Since pointers are variables they are more flexible than references insofar as once a memory address is assigned to a reference, that reference cannot refer to any other memory address while it remains in scope. But pointers can be assigned to point at any reference, including a NULL reference, at any time.


You access memory with a pointer or a reference to the memory. To allocate memory dynamically, use calloc or malloc (C or C++) or new (C++ only).


The ampersand '&' has many uses in the C++ language:The single ampersand can be used to reference the pointer address of a pointer:int* pointer;int* anpointer;anpointer = &pointer;This example, although perhaps not valid, shows that the anpointer reference is now the same as the reference to the pointer memory address.The single ampersand can also be used to reference an object in a function:void function( int param1, int param2, int &reference );If this function were to be called, and the reference object altered within the function, the actualy object that was passed into the function would be altered.The double ampersand '&&' specifies that the left AND the right concepts must both be true before the whole statement is true. For example:if( conceptA true ){conceptC = true;}


No, call-by-reference can be emulated with pointers.


Double pointers are better known as pointer-to-pointer types. You use pointers to store the memory address of an object but when the object is itself a pointer, you need to use a pointer-to-pointer in instead. Pointer-to-pointer types are typically used when passing pointers into functions. Pointers allow you to pass objects to functions by reference but the pointer itself is passed by value. If you want to pass the pointer by reference, you need to pass a pointer-to-pointer.


A reference variable in C++ is a formal parameter of a function call that automatically dereferences itself, as if it were a pointer, into a reference to the original value in the calling routine. You declare the reference type in the function declaration and prototype, but the compiler automatically adds the reference (&) operator on call, and the dereference (*) operator on use.


Pass by value and pass by reference apply to functions that accept formal arguments. A formal argument may be a value or a reference. The function's caller uses actual arguments and the calling convention determines how an actual argument is assigned to the corresponding formal argument. If the formal argument is a value, then the value of the actual argument is assigned to the formal argument. If the formal argument is a reference, then the address of the actual argument is assigned to the formal argument. The nett effect is that when you pass by reference, both the formal and actual arguments refer to the same object. Whereas when you pass by value, the formal argument is a copy of the actual argument. Some languages, like C, do not support the notion of a reference argument and only use pass by value semantics. However, C does support the notion of a pointer data type which is a variable that can store a memory address. The value of a pointer is therefore a reference and passing a pointer by value is the same as passing by reference. This is because when a pointer value is assigned to another pointer, the address (the value of the pointer) is copied, thus the two pointers refer to the same object. C++ evolved from C and uses the same pass by value semantic by default. However, C++ also has a dedicated reference type that allows native pass by reference semantics. A reference differs from a pointer in that a pointer is a variable and therefore requires memory of its own to store the address it refers to. Thus a pointer has an address and a value, just like any other variable. But a reference does not have its own address because a reference is simply an alias, an alternate name for an object in memory. In other words, the address of a reference is the address of the object it actually refers to, in the same way that Billy could be alternate name for an object named William; they are one and the same object by different names. A pointer is not an alias, it is a completely separate object. Another key difference is that a reference cannot be reassigned, it must be initialised at the point of declaration. In this respect it is similar to the behaviour of constant pointer. Finally, a reference can never refer to a non-existent object, whereas a pointer can. When a pointer is no longer required it must be nullified by assigning it the value zero.


Not to be pedantic, but you cannot call a destructor explicitly. Destructors are implicitly called when an object falls from scope or when you delete a pointer to an object. Any object created dynamically (with the new keyword) must be deleted as soon as you are finished with it, and before the pointer falls from scope. In this sense, you are explicitly calling the object's destructor, however it's really being called implicitly by you deleting the pointer. It's also good practice to explicitly NULL your pointer immediately after deleting the object it pointed to. An object reference is destroyed automatically when the reference falls from scope. If you have a pointer to that reference, do not delete the pointer, but do assign it to NULL as soon as possible to prevent any access to the deleted object. If you do delete a pointer to a reference that's still in scope, you will render the reference NULL and a NULL reference will render your program invalid.


A typedef is a compiler macro. A reference is a pointer, usually implemented with transparent syntax. They have no relationship between each other.


By declaring an integer pointer you are declaring that any non-zero reference stored in the pointer is guaranteed to be an integer reference. In order to guarantee the reference is actually a structure, the pointer must be declared as such, because casting an integer to a structure can never be regarded as being type-safe.


You cannot store references. A reference is nothing more than an alias, an alternate name for an existing variable or constant. References are primarily used when passing variables to functions such that the function can operate upon the variable itself -- known as passing by reference. The function refers to the variable by a different name, an alias, but it is the same variable. By contrast, when passing a variable by value the function uses a copy of that variable, assigning the variable's value to that copy. References are often confused with pointers, primarily because C uses the term to mean a pointer (hence the term, dereferencing). But in C++ a reference is a separate entity altogether. Unlike a reference, a pointer is a variable in its own right, one that can be used to store a memory address. Since a pointer has storage, you can store a pointer in a data file. However, in reality you are only storing the pointer's value -- a memory address -- not an actual pointer. Pointers and references are similar insofar as they can both refer to an object. A pointer does this by storing the memory address of the object, while a reference refers directly to the object itself. Thus if you have a pointer and a reference to the same object, the pointer's value is exactly the same as the address of the reference. Therefore the only way you can store a reference is by storing the object being referred to, not the reference itself.


When an object is passed to a function by pointer, a copy of the pointer's value is passed to the function. Pointers are always passed by value, but because the value is a memory address than can be dereferenced, they enable us to pass objects by reference. In languages such as C which have no concept of references, this was the only way to pass by reference. C++ introduced proper references (aliases for existing objects), thus when we want to pass by reference we can choose to use a pointer or an actual reference. Normally we'd only pass by pointer when passing an optional argument that defaults to NULL when no argument is given. Otherwise we pass by reference because references can never be NULL.


A dangling pointer (we also use the terms stray pointer and wild pointer) is created whenever we call delete on a pointer and then try to use the pointer without reassigning it.We can also create dangling pointers inadvertently by calling a rogue function that returns a pointer to an object that is local to the function we are calling. The object will fall from scope when the function returns so the pointer is left dangling.Note that there is no such thing as a dangling pointer reference. Pointers and references are not the same. A reference is merely an alias to an object -- it consumes no memory beyond the object it refers to. Whereas a pointer is a variable that may contain the address of an object, but it requires additional memory to do so (4 bytes on 32-bit architecture). Pointers may be NULL, references can never be NULL. Pointers to valid objects require indirection, references do not. References are the preferred method of accessing an object's members, not least because they are easier to work with.


We use a pointer to reference a string because a string is an array of characters where every element is a char (or a wchar_t if using UNICODE strings). Passing arrays by value would require the entire array to be copied, but passing a pointer variable to an array only copies the pointer, which is effectively the same as passing the array by reference. #include <iostream> int main() { char * psz = "hello"; // pointer to a null-terminated string. std::cout << psz; // pass the pointer (by value) to the insertion operator. return( 0 ); }



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