GRB GRB - 3 months ago 7
C++ Question

Why not infer template parameter from constructor?

my question today is pretty simple: why can't the compiler infer template parameters from class constructors, much as it can do from function parameters? For example, why couldn't the following code be valid:

template<typename obj>
class Variable {
obj data;
public: Variable(obj d)
{
data = d;
}
};

int main()
{
int num = 2;
Variable var(num); //would be equivalent to Variable<int> var(num),
return 0; //but actually a compile error
}


As I say, I understand that this isn't valid, so my question is why isn't it? Would allowing this create any major syntactic holes? Is there an instance where one wouldn't want this functionality (where inferring a type would cause issues)? I'm just trying to understand the logic behind allowing template inference for functions, yet not for suitably-constructed classes.

Answer

I think it is not valid because the constructor isn't always the only point of entry of the class (I am talking about copy constructor and operator=). So suppose you are using your class like this :

MyClass m(string s);
MyClass *pm;
*pm = m;

I am not sure if it would be so obvious for the parser to know what template type is the MyClass pm;

Not sure if what I said make sense but feel free to add some comment, that's an interesting question.

C++ 17

It is accepted that C++17 will have type deduction from constructor arguments.

Examples:

std::pair p(2, 4.5);
std::tuple t(4, 3, 2.5);

Accepted paper.

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