Tag Archives: Pointers

Smart pointers vs Raw pointers

In c++ you use pointers very often, and they are the main reason for memory leaks and other problems. They allocate memory and if they are not deleted that is a memory leak. To avoid this problem the Smart pointers are to prefer.

A Smart pointer contains a Raw pointer – pointing to it, and it has the same size -, only the Smart pointer deletes the Raw pointer when it is no longer used. This means that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to delete it yourself.

This is an example from MSDNs website that shows the difference between the different pointer types:

msdnexample

The Smart pointer is then used just as a Raw pointer with the operators -> and *, but it has also got its own member functions which you can reach by using the dot like; smart_pointer.member_function();

This is a very useful pointer and I will absolutely be reading more about this and start to use Smart pointers instead of Raw pointers. But this is as far as I have gotten in researching this topic so far!