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Pointers to classes

July 30th, 2010 c# No comments

It is perfectly valid to create pointers that point to classes. We simply have to consider that once declared, a class becomes a valid type, so we can use the class name as the type for the pointer. For example:

CRectangle * prect;

is a pointer to an object of class CRectangle.

As it happened with data structures, in order to refer directly to a member of an object pointed by a pointer we can use the arrow operator (->) of indirection. Here is an example with some possible combinations:

// pointer to classes example
using namespace std;

class CRectangle {
int width, height;
void set_values (int, int);
int area (void) {return (width * height);}

void CRectangle::set_values (int a, int b) {
width = a;
height = b;

int main () {
CRectangle a, *b, *c;
CRectangle * d = new CRectangle[2];
b= new CRectangle;
c= &a;
a.set_values (1,2);
b->set_values (3,4);
d->set_values (5,6);
d[1].set_values (7,8);
cout << "a area: " << a.area() << endl;
cout << "*b area: " << b->area() << endl;
cout << "*c area: " << c->area() << endl;
cout << "d[0] area: " << d[0].area() << endl;
cout << "d[1] area: " << d[1].area() << endl;
delete[] d;
delete b;
return 0;

a area: 2
*b area: 12
*c area: 2
d[0] area: 30
d[1] area: 56

Be sure that you understand the logic under all of these expressions before proceeding with the next sections. If you have doubts, read again this section and/or consult the previous sections about pointers and data structures.

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