I just wanted to point to something! - Jonathan Müller [ACCU 2018]





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Published on Apr 19, 2018

Every non-trivial programming language needs a way to refer to another object that is stored in a different place. In some programming languages this behavior is the default ­— they have reference semantics.

But this is not the case in C++. In C++ you need a special type to refer to another object: a pointer. I mean a reference …​ or std::reference_wrapper? Or maybe a smart pointer. But probably std::string_view if the object is a string. And sometimes an iterator if you’re pointing to anything in a container. Or maybe something completely different.

Confused? Maybe not. Maybe you are experienced and know what to choose. But did you always choose correctly? This talk will provide comprehensive guidelines.

We’ll answer questions like:

When should I use a reference, when a pointer, when something different?

What the heck is C++17’s std::byte* and when is it useful?

Is there still a need for void*?

In the end you’ll know exactly when to use which pointer-like type and why.

[[XIfYou’reHappyandYouKnowItInsidetheMindofaDeveloper]] == If You’re Happy and You Know It (Inside the Mind of a Developer) === Dom Davis

If there ever were two peoples divided by a common language it’s “IT” and “The Business”; two poorly defined groups of people who spend a lot of time misunderstanding each other and believing that the others simply “don’t get it”, or “don’t have a clue”. While the latter claim is borne out of frustration, there is some weight to the former. In this session we’ll peel back the mind of a developer and show how what seem like simple requests can hide hideous complexity, and be wide open for misinterpretation. Aimed at everyone, including the whole spectrum of “IT” and “The Business”, hopefully we’ll learn to better communicate and avoid the common pitfalls that catch out so many IT projects.


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