Monday, February 27, 2012

3 + N ways to create a shared_ptr

Background -- Like any useful software component, Shared_ptr offers a clean api but has a sophisticated implementation, and many non-trivial interactions when integrated into an application -- Complexity. Many ways to wrap your mind around the complexity. This is one of the best Perspectives.

The various ways to construct a shared_ptr clearly illustrates the fundamental use cases. An experienced user is probably familiar with all these use cases. These use cases are so important that you should be able to explain each constructor. Here's what I remember.

1) pass in a raw ptr -- starting a new club as the first member.
2) copier -- joining an existing club.
3) pass in a weak_ptr
) pass in an auto_ptr

Note the good old auto_ptr is a club of 1. When "joining" a club you must remove the existing "owner".

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