Re: Differentiating pimpl idiom classes in c++

"Brian Szmyd" <>
Thu, 17 Apr 2008 01:51:57 GMT
On 4/16/2008 9:00:17 AM, Graham Reitz wrote:

What are good strategies for selecting, either at run-time or compile
time, various pimpl'ed implementations? While retaining the ability
to switch implementations without recompiling.

Boost has an example but with only one implementation class: (what
would an example with 2 implementation classes look like?)

The pimpl'ed class cpp file has to include at least one implementation
header file. Is there a method to avoid changing that included header
when switching implementations?

Or, are we using the pimpl idiom incorrectly?


Funny you asked, as I just finished doing exactly this for a project I'm
working on. Here's what I did:

// Factory.h
#include <map>
#include <string>
template <typename T>
class Factory
      typedef std::map<std::string, typename T::constructor_type> Map;

      static Factory<T>* getFactory()
         if ( ! m_instance )
            m_instance = new Factory<T>;
         return m_instance;

      typename T::constructor_type createKind( std::string output_kind )
         typename Map::iterator it;
if if ( ( it = constructorMap.find( output_kind ) ) != constructorMap.end() )
            return (*it).second;
         // Throw something here

void void registerKind( std::string kind, typename T::constructor_type
constructor) {
         constructorMap[kind] = constructor;

      Map constructorMap;
      static Factory<T>* m_instance;

// FooImpl.h
#include <boost/function.hpp>
#include <boost/shared_ptr.hpp>
#include "Factory.h"
typedef typedef boost::function<boost::shared_ptr<FooImpl>()>
constructor_type; static Factory<FooImpl> factory;

// FooImpl.cpp
Factory<FooImpl> FooImpl::factory;

// FooFake.cpp
#include "FooImpl.h"
class FooFake :
    public FooImpl
        struct FooFakeCreator
FooFakeCreator oFakeCreator () {
FooImpl::factory.getFactory()->registerKind("Fake", FooFakeCreator::create );
static static boost::shared_ptr<FooImpl> create () { return
boost::shared_ptr<FooImpl>( new FooFake() ); } }
        static FooFakeCreator m_creator;

FooFake::FooFakeCreator FooFake::m_creator;

You could probably clean this up, but it allows your users to be agnostic to
the different implementations. I didn't include the actual Foo object, that
in my case contains a weak pointer to a FooImpl. My implementation also
requires the caller to FooImpl::factory->createKind(string) to provide the
type, but this could be read in from a config file and you could remove this
requirement. Have some sort of factory registry that createKind would look

This may or may not have a "pattern name", let me know someone if it does.

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