Operator Assignment

Operator Assignment-20
Furthermore, the compiler isn't guaranteed to create versions of these classes that do exactly what you want them to do.For copying and assignment, for example, the automatically-generated code will do a shallow memberwise copy.

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This doesn't necessarily mean that the objects are identical: some purely internal data members (such as caches) might not be copied, or data members pointing to other objects might end up pointing to different objects that are themselves semantically equivalent, rather than pointing to the same objects.

The difference between the copy constructor and assignment operator is that the copy constructor is a constructor — a function whose job it is to turn raw storage into an object of a specific class.

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It's a good way to test a programmer's grasp of C syntax and C style, but more importantly, it tests the programmer's knowledge of C memory management and exception handling. We'll go through it all piece by piece and see why this is.

For the impatient among you, let's cut right to the chase: One correct answer to this question would look something like this: Yes, it's a lot of code. The first reaction I usually get from people is something along the lines of "But I never have to write assignment operators." You should.If your class has pointer members, this is practically never what you want, and even when you don't have pointer members, this isn't always the right behavior. Even when the default versions of the special functions do what you want them to, it's still generally a good policy to always spell that out explicitly by writing them yourself.It avoids ambiguity, and it forces you to think more about what's going on inside your class. There are those that simply cannot be overloaded, and then there are those that must be overloaded as member functions of the class; they cannot be nonmember functions. The assignment operator can be defined to assign any type to an object of your user-defined type.But we most often think of this operator as assigning an object of some type to an object of the same type. Copy assignment is very important to define correctly.However, it may not be necessary to define it since once again, the compiler will generate a definition for the (copy) assignment operator.But as it is with the compiler generated copy constructor, it will be a shallow copy: every member of the class is copied from the source to the target without consideration to pointer problems. The copy constructor is creating a new object from raw storage and knows it's writing over garbage.For many classes, the current state of the object doesn't matter and both functions do the same thing.Always give any new class a default constructor, a copy constructor, and an assignment operator.Another misconception I see often is a fuzzy idea of the difference between the copy constructor and the assignment operator.


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