Kian Kian - 3 years ago 180
C++ Question

What requirements must std::map key classes meet to be valid keys?

I want to map objects of a given class to objects of another. The class I want to use as key, however, was not written by me and is a simple

struct
with a few values. std::map orders it's contents, and I was wondering how it does it, and if any arbitrary class can be used as a key or if there's a set of requirements (operators and what not) that need to be defined.

If so, I could create a wrapper for the class implementing the operators map uses. I just need to know what I need to implement first, and none of the references for the class I found online specify them.

Answer Source

All that is required of the key is that it be copiable and assignable. The ordering within the map is defined by the third argument to the template (and the argument to the constructor, if used). This defaults to std::less<KeyType>, which defaults to the < operator, but there's no requirement to use the defaults. Just write a comparison operator (preferably as a functional object):

struct CmpMyType
{
    bool operator()( MyType const& lhs, MyType const& rhs ) const
    {
        //  ...
    }
};

Note that it must define a strict ordering, i.e. if CmpMyType()( a, b ) returns true, then CmpMyType()( b, a ) must return false, and if both return false, the elements are considered equal (members of the same equivalence class).

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