function formal parameter pointer style for arrays

This is a discussion on function formal parameter pointer style for arrays within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Which style is better when declaring formal parameters in functions concerning pointers and arrays. int sum(int * array, int n) ...

  1. #1
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    function formal parameter pointer style for arrays

    Which style is better when declaring formal parameters in functions concerning pointers and arrays.

    int sum(int * array, int n) or
    int sum(int array[], int n).

    I think the first is better because it leaves out any ambiguity that may occure if someone does not know that in this context int arrray[] is acctually a pointer to int.

  2. #2
    Cat
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    Personally, I try to use std::vector in the place of arrays, which is not only completely unambiguous, but you can do nice things like determine the array size within the function.

    I tend to use pointer notation if I'm forced to use one of the two.

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    I only ever use vectors when I don't know the number of elements that will be in the array or the array is going to be/can be quite large. For example, an array of 5 ints, I wouldn't bother, but for an array of 50 class structures, I would use a vector.

  4. #4
    Cat
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    I tend to use vectors in 3 cases:

    1) I don't know the size at compile time. Directly using dynamic memory allocation using new[]/delete[] is much more prone to errors and memory leaks, and I know myself well enough to know I'm not immune to dumb mistakes.

    2) I plan on passing the array to a function that will need to know its size. I find it easier to use a vector and let the function discover the size rather than using a const variable for the size.

    3) I plan to use multidimentional arrays.

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    I haven't learned about vectors yet but arrays in which you pass the size may have an advantage when for instance you pass only part of the array say the first 3 elements or when you pass elements starting say with the 3rd element to the end of the array.

    ie

    int total;
    int arr[10];

    // pass only first 3 elements
    total=sum(arr,3);

    // pass 3 elements starting with 3th index on
    total=sum(arr+3,3);

  6. #6
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    You can do the same with std::vectors. You just have to use iterators instead of simply pointers.
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