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From: Noel Yap (Noel.Yap_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-05-03 20:28:35

Floris van den Berg wrote:
> > Like I said before, references are implicitly dereferenced pointers.
> You are confusing language implementation with language definition.

Implementation aside, do or don't references act like implicitly
derefenced pointers? Perhaps I shouldn't've used a metaphor above.

> The
> definition says a reference is an alias, meaning you don't check the
> existance of the passed object. You don't have to check it because the
> caller takes responsibility that the object in fact exists. There are
> probably tons of ways to abuse references and to break the system, but
> that's with every system. For example you can break use of const just as
> easily via const_cast. That a reference is implemented as a pointer is just
> a side effect that should be ignored for argument's sake.

Yes, a reference is an alias. OTOH, the fact that this is the
definition implies that it will act like an implicitly dereferenced
pointer. I just prefer to think of it the other way around (so there's
less memorization involved) -- if a reference is an implicitly
dereferenced pointer, it must be an alias to an existing object,
regardless of how that object is allocated.


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