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    Group29 Discussion Board :: View topic - C and C++ Pointers and Addresses: Yes, you too can learn...
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    Group29 Discussion Board Forum Index -> Group29 Tech Tips -> C and C++ Pointers and Addresses: Yes, you too can learn...
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    C and C++ Pointers and Addresses: Yes, you too can learn...
    PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:22 am Reply with quote
    Joined: Jun 23, 2004
    Posts: 340


    In C and C++, nothing screws me up more than pointers and values and their notations on variables * and &.

    Excerpt from
    The C Programming Language by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie
    Chapter 5: Pointers and Arrays

    A pointer is a variable that contains the address of a variable. Pointers are much used in C, partly because they are sometimes the only way to express a computation, and partly because they usually lead to more compact and efficient code than can be obtained in other ways. Pointers and arrays are closely related; this chapter also explores this relationship and shows how to exploit it.

    Pointers have been lumped with the goto statement as a marvelous way to create impossible to understand programs. This is certainly true when they are used carelessly, and it is easy to create pointers that point somewhere unexpected.

    Pointers are like directions to somewhere...

    Think of the house of one of your friends. That house has an address. That house also has some content, meaning, people live there.

    So when you set a pointer, you set the directions for that house.

    What is inside the house? Use * (asterisk) on your variable name.
    What is the address of the house? Use & (ampersand) on your variable name.

    Pointers need to "point" to somewhere valid. To reserve space to build a house, You need to buy that space. That is what malloc does, it just buys you some space.

    If you give me an address for a house that is not there ... invalid


    This is how you declare a pointer:

    house* direction;

    Let us buy a house. We need to buy space for the house:

    direction = (house*)malloc(sizeof(house))

    Wow... what was that?

    The malloc (memoray allocate) reserves space, remember? The big question is, how much space? That is what sizeof tells it, the size of a house. The (house*) part is one you do not need to bother. Just substitute house with whatever variable type you need.

    Now, Do you want to know what is inside of a house?

    insideHouse = *house;

    Do you want to know what is the address of that new house?

    addressHouse = &house;
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    C and C++ Pointers and Addresses: Yes, you too can learn...
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