Boost C++ Libraries

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Binders

The header functional.hpp provides enhanced versions of both the binder function object adapters from the C++ Standard Library (§20.3.6):

As well as the corresponding helper functions

The key benefit of these adapters over those in the Standard Library is they avoid the problem of references to references.

Usage

Usage is identical to the standard binders. For example,

class Foo {
public:
  void bar(std::ostream &);
  // ...
};
// ...
std::vector<Foo> c;
// ...
std::for_each(c.begin(), c.end(), 
              boost::bind2nd(boost::mem_fun_ref(&Foo::bar), std::cout));

References to References

Consider the usage example above

class Foo {
public:
  void bar(std::ostream &);
  // ...
};
// ...
std::for_each(c.begin(), c.end(), 
              boost::bind2nd(boost::mem_fun_ref(&Foo::bar), std::cout));

If this had been written using std::bind2nd and std::mem_fun_ref, it would be unlikely to compile.

The problem arises because bar takes a reference argument. The Standard defines std::mem_fun_ref such that it creates a function object whose second_argument_type will be std::ostream&.

The call to bind2nd creates a binder2nd which the Standard defines as follows:

template <class Operation>
class binder2nd
    : public unary_function<typename Operation::first_argument_type,
                            typename Operation::result_type> {
...
public:
  binder2nd(const Operation& x,
            const typename Operation::second_argument_type& y);
  ...

Since our operation's second_argument_type is std::ostream&, the type of y in the constructor would be std::ostream&&. Since you cannot have a reference to a reference, at this point we should get a compilation error because references to references are illegal in C++ (but see C++ Standard core language active issues list).

The binders in this library avoid this problem by using the Boost call_traits templates.

Our constructor is declared

binder2nd(const Operation& x,
          typename call_traits<
             typename binary_traits<Operation>::second_argument_type
          >::param_type y)

As a result, y has a type of std::ostream&, and our example compiles.


Copyright © 2000 Cadenza New Zealand Ltd. Permission to copy, use, modify, sell and distribute this document is granted provided this copyright notice appears in all copies. This document is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty, and with no claim as to its suitability for any purpose.

Revised 28 June 2000