Oscar Franco
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Advanced C++ notes

August 2023

Noteworthy Types

uint8_t = byte = a type of unsigned integer of length 8 bits



printf is legacy C, type unsafe, meaning you should REALLY NOT USE IT. cout seems to be accepted but android logging does not use it.

Screenshot 000064.png

💡 printing a size_t is done via printf(”%zu”, sizeVar)

DEFINE pre-processors

In various C code, I see constants defined like this:

#define T 100

Whereas in C++ examples, it is almost always:

const int T = 100;


Because all macros (which are what #defines define) are in a single namespace and they take effect everywhere. Variables, including const-qualified variables, can be encapsulated in classes and namespaces.

Macros are used in C because in C, a const-qualified variable is not actually a constant, it is just a variable that cannot be modified. A const-qualified variable cannot appear in a constant expression, so it can’t be used as an array size, for example.

In C++, a const-qualified object that is initialized with a constant expression (like const int x = 5 * 2;) is a constant and can be used in a constant expression, so you can and should use them.


After your code is compiled to a static lib (.a on macOS and .so on linux)

One useful tool is nm. Displays the symbol label inside of your so file, which is useful for debugging any missing symbols.

nm -gDC myLibrary.so

-g Displays only global (external) symbols

Each symbol name is preceded by its value, followed by the following description character:

U undefined
A absolute
T text section symbol
D data selection symbol
B bss section symbol
C common symbol
- Debugger symbol entries (only with -a)
S Symbol in a section other than those above(???)
I indirect symbol

If the symbol is local (non-external), the symbol’s type is instead represented by the corresponding lower case letter. A lowercase u in a dynamic shared library indicates an undefined reference to a private external in another module in the same library.

If the symbol is a Objective-C method, the symbol name is ±[Class_name(category_name) method:name:], where + is for class methods, - is for instance methods, and (category_name) is present only when the method is in a category.

Advanced pointers

Unique pointer

Help with memory management. They guarantee they delete their object if they are destructed. They follow “Resource Acquisition Is Initialization” (RAII) rule.

unique_ptr<int> p(new int);
// p <-------->  object

p owns the object and the object has only one owner, p. A unique pointer cannot be copied or passed by value. However, the ownership of its object can be transferred.

auto q = make_unique<int>(); // q created with an int object on the heap
auto p = move(q); // p owns the q's object, q lost it (null pointer).

Here is a more complete example

using namespace std;

struct A{

void PassIn(std::unique_ptr<A> a)
    cout<< "Pointer received."<<'\n';

} // a and its object are deleted.

int main(){
    auto x = make_unique<A>();
    PassIn(move(x)) // Pointer received.
    ; // Deleted.
    if (!x) cout<< "x is empty."; // true: x is empty.
    return 0;

Shared pointer

Multiple instance pointer, once all the shared pointers are destructed then the object gets deleted. Passing by value creates a new shared pointer allocation (e.g. count 2)

Weak pointer

A weak pointer is a smart pointer that does not take ownership of an object but act as an observer. It’s used to observe the object of a shared pointer. It does not participate in reference counting. Weak pointers are mainly used to break circular dependencies.

Type Aliases

On C++ 11, the keyword is using

// C++11
using counter = long;

// C++03 equivalent:
typedef long counter;

Object initialization

There is only one way to initialize class consts or reference members, using the the initialization list syntax. It initializes the variables of an instance before the body of the constructor is called

class Demo
    Demo(int& val) : m_val(val)
    const int& m_val;


You can execute code after an object has been destructured

// dispatch_queue.h
class dispatch_queue {

// Explicit constructor (does not allow for argument implicit conversion)
explicit dispatch_queue(std::string name, size_t thread_cnt = 1);
// Destructor