The February 2002 change to the Boost smart pointers introduced a number
of changes. Since the previous version of the smart pointers was in use for
a long time, it's useful to have a detailed list of what changed from a library
user's point of view.
Note that for compilers that don't support member templates well enough,
a separate implementation is used that lacks many of the new features and is
more like the old version.
Features Requiring Code Changes to Take Advantage
- The smart pointer class templates now each have their own header file.
For compatibility, the
header now includes the headers for the four classic smart pointer class templates.
- The weak_ptr template was added.
- The new shared_ptr and shared_array relax the requirement that the pointed-to object's
destructor must be visible when instantiating the shared_ptr destructor.
This makes it easier to have shared_ptr members in classes without explicit destructors.
- A custom deallocator can be passed in when creating a shared_ptr or shared_array.
- shared_static_cast and shared_dynamic_cast function templates are
provided which work for shared_ptr and weak_ptr as static_cast and
dynamic_cast do for pointers.
- The self-assignment misfeature has been removed from shared_ptr::reset,
although it is still present in scoped_ptr, and in std::auto_ptr.
Calling reset with a pointer to the object that's already owned by the
shared_ptr results in undefined behavior
(an assertion, or eventually a double-delete if assertions are off).
- The BOOST_SMART_PTR_CONVERSION feature has been removed.
- shared_ptr<void> is now allowed.
Features That Improve Robustness
- The manipulation of use counts is now thread safe on Windows, Linux, and platforms
that support pthreads. See the
file for details
- The new shared_ptr will always delete the object using the pointer it was originally constructed with.
This prevents subtle problems that could happen if the last shared_ptr was a pointer to a sub-object
of a class that did not have a virtual destructor.
- Some bugs in the assignment operator implementations and in reset
have been fixed by using the "copy and swap" idiom.
- Assertions have been added to check preconditions of various functions;
however, since these use the new
header, the assertions are disabled by default.
- The partial specialization of std::less has been replaced by operator<
overloads which accomplish the same thing without relying on undefined behavior.
- The incorrect overload of std::swap has been replaced by boost::swap, which
has many of the same advantages for generic programming but does not violate the C++ standard.
Revised 1 February 2002
Copyright 2002 Darin Adler.
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