Boost C++ Libraries of the most highly regarded and expertly designed C++ library projects in the world. Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu, C++ Coding Standards

This is the documentation for an old version of boost. Click here for the latest Boost documentation.

Header boost/pointer_to_other.hpp

The pointer to other utility provides a way, given a source pointer type, to obtain a pointer of the same type to another pointee type. The utility is defined in boost/pointer_to_other.hpp.

There is test/example code in pointer_to_other_test.cpp.



When building pointer independent classes, like memory managers, allocators, or containers, there is often a need to define pointers generically, so that if a template parameter represents a pointer (for example, a raw or smart pointer to an int), we can define another pointer of the same type to another pointee (a raw or smart pointer to a float.)

template <class IntPtr>
class FloatPointerHolder
   // Let's define a pointer to a float
   typedef typename boost::pointer_to_other
      <IntPtr, float>::type float_ptr_t;
   float_ptr_t float_ptr;


namespace boost {

template<class T, class U>
   struct pointer_to_other;

template<class T, class U, template <class> class Sp>
   struct pointer_to_other< Sp<T>, U >
   typedef Sp<U> type;

template<class T, class T2, class U,
        template <class, class> class Sp>
   struct pointer_to_other< Sp<T, T2>, U >
   typedef Sp<U, T2> type;

template<class T, class T2, class T3, class U,
        template <class, class, class> class Sp>
struct pointer_to_other< Sp<T, T2, T3>, U >
   typedef Sp<U, T2, T3> type;

template<class T, class U>
struct pointer_to_other< T*, U > 
   typedef U* type;

} // namespace boost

If these definitions are not correct for a specific smart pointer, we can define a specialization of pointer_to_other.


// Let's define a memory allocator that can
// work with raw and smart pointers

#include <boost/pointer_to_other.hpp>

template <class VoidPtr>
class memory_allocator
   // Predefine a memory_block 
   struct block;

   // Define a pointer to a memory_block from a void pointer
   // If VoidPtr is void *, block_ptr_t is block*
   // If VoidPtr is smart_ptr<void>, block_ptr_t is smart_ptr<block>
   typedef typename boost::pointer_to_other      
            <VoidPtr, block>::type block_ptr_t;
   struct block
      std::size_t size;
      block_ptr_t next_block;

   block_ptr_t free_blocks;

As we can see, using pointer_to_other we can create pointer independent code.

Last revised: $Date: 2006-03-18 10:58:20 -0400 (Sat, 18 Mar 2006) $

Copyright 2005, 2006 Ion Gaztaņaga and Peter Dimov. Use, modification, and distribution are subject to the Boost Software License, Version 1.0.
(See accompanying file LICENSE_1_0.txt or a copy at <>.)