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Chapter 1. Boost.Functional/OverloadedFunction 1.0.0

Lorenzo Caminiti

Distributed under the Boost Software License, Version 1.0 (see accompanying file LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at

Table of Contents

Getting Started
Compilers and Platforms
Without Function Types

This library allows to overload different functions into a single function object.

Consider the following functions which have distinct signatures:

const std::string& identity_s(const std::string& x) // Function (as pointer).
    { return x; }

int identity_i_impl(int x) { return x; }
int (&identity_i)(int) = identity_i_impl; // Function reference.

double identity_d_impl(double x) { return x; }
boost::function<double (double)> identity_d = identity_d_impl; // Functor.

Instead of calling them using their separate names (here BOOST_TEST is equivalent to assert): [1]

BOOST_TEST(identity_s("abc") == "abc");
BOOST_TEST(identity_i(123) == 123);
BOOST_TEST(identity_d(1.23) == 1.23);

It is possible to use this library to create a single overloaded function object (or functor) named identity that aggregates together the calls to the specific functions (see also functor.cpp and identity.hpp):

      const std::string& (const std::string&)
    , int (int)
    , double (double)
> identity(identity_s, identity_i, identity_d);

// All calls via single `identity` function.
BOOST_TEST(identity("abc") == "abc");
BOOST_TEST(identity(123) == 123);
BOOST_TEST(identity(1.23) == 1.23);

Note how the functions are called via a single overloaded function object identity instead of using their different names identity_s, identity_i, and identity_d.

[1] In most of the examples presented in this documentation, the Boost.Detail/LightweightTest (boost/detail/lightweight_test.hpp) macro BOOST_TEST is used to check correctness conditions (conceptually similar to assert). A failure of the checked condition does not abort the execution of the program, it will instead make boost::report_errors return a non-zero program exit code. Using Boost.Detail/LightweightTest allows to add the examples to the library regression tests so to make sure that they always compile and run correctly.

Last revised: April 17, 2017 at 02:38:58 GMT