skydoor skydoor - 2 months ago 5
C++ Question

Is array name a constant pointer in C++?

I have a question about the array name a

int a[10]

How is the array name defined in C++? A constant pointer? It is defined like this or just we can look it like this? What operations can be applied on the name?


The C++ standard defines what an array is and its behaviour. Take a look in the index. It's not a pointer, const or otherwise, and it's not anything else, it's an array.

To see a difference:

int a[10];
int *const b = a;

std::cout << sizeof(a); // prints "40" on my machine.
std::cout << sizeof(b); // prints "4" on my machine.

Clearly a and b are not the same type, since they have different sizes.

In most contexts, an array name "decays" to a pointer to its own first element. You can think of this as an automatic conversion. The result is an rvalue, meaning that it's "just" a pointer value, and can't be assigned to, similar to when a function name decays to a function pointer. Doesn't mean it's "const" as such, but it's not assignable.

So an array "is" a pointer much like a function "is" a function pointer, or a long "is" an int. That is to say, it isn't really, but you can use it as one in most contexts thanks to the conversion.