Classes that manage containers

fmatthew5876 <>
Mon, 9 Jul 2012 08:31:15 -0700 (PDT)
Lets say we have something like this:
class A {
    SomeContainer<B> _bcontainer;

We want A to contain the storage for a collection of B's and we want to
allow the user to add/remove and do other operations to B through A.

One option is to add class methods to A to manipulate B such as:
void A::bcontainer_insert(int i, const T& t) { _bcontainer.insert(i, t); }

This is simple and it also allows us to restrict the interface (for
example only provide stack-like push/pop methods even though the
underlying container is an array) to B but it can get unwieldy. In
most cases the names of the methods all have to contain a prefix
or suffix saying they deal with the b container. It gets even more
messy if our A class manages multiple containers of different objects.

Another choice is to just have a method that returns a
reference to the B container.
Container<B>& A::get_b() { return _bcontainer; }
Now all of the b container methods are scoped within the b
container class which seems cleaner. If we want to restrict the
interface we can do it easily using containment.
class BContainer {
    //Restricted inline interface
    Container<B> _base;
class A {
    BContainer& get_b() { return _bcontainer; }
    BContainer _bcontainer;
It is probably a good idea at this point to make sure
copy constructors are disabled on BContainer so
users can't accidentally do this:
A a;
BContainer bc = a.get_b();
bc.insert(int i, something);

What idiom do you all prefer to use in these situations?

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