Re: Reference to void

"Greg Herlihy" <>
30 Oct 2006 13:17:44 -0500
Frederick Gotham wrote:

Greg Herlihy:

A const reference is no misnomer:

    int i;
    const int& iRef = i;

What you have there is a "reference to const" -- a reference cannot be
declared as const.

The following is a "reference to const":

     const int i = 3;
     const int& iRefConst = i;

and differs from the original example significantly: namely iRefConst
has an immutable value whereas iRef does not.

iRef is clearly a "const reference" - and not a "reference to const"
because the object iRef refers to, i, is not const.

int i;

const int* p = &i;

Is "p" not a "pointer to const" because i is non-const? Please.

Does 2/3 equal 3/2 because 2 * 3 equals 3 * 2 ? No, because using
multiplication to demonstrate a point about division is just as
effective as using pointers to prove a point about references.

The qualifier 'const' whether it is applied to a pointer or a reference
variable means that that variable cannot be used to assign a new value
to its object. So a "const reference" is a reference variable that
cannot be assigned a new value (because "const" appeared in its
declaration). A "reference to const" is therefore a particular kind of
const reference - one whose aliased object has also been declared
const. So stated simply: a "reference to const" variable has an
immutable value while a "const reference" variable may or may not have
an immutable value.

The latest draft of the C++ Standard uses "const reference" or
"non-const reference" a combined total of nine times, and "reference to
const" just twice. So there is scant support in the C++ Standard for
the view that "const reference" is some kind of a misnomer.


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