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Notes

[1] The fact that the lifetime of elements cannot exceed that of of their container may seem like a severe restriction. In fact, though, it is not. Note that pointers and iterators are objects; like any other objects, they may be stored in a container. The container, in that case, "owns" the pointers themselves, but not the objects that they point to.

[2] This expression must be a typedef , that is, a synonym for a type that already has some other name.

[3] This may either be a typedef for some other type, or else a unique type that is defined as a nested class within the class X.

[4] A container's iterator type and const iterator type may be the same: there is no guarantee that every container must have an associated mutable iterator type. For example, set and hash_set define iterator and const_iterator to be the same type.

[5] It is required that the reference type has the same semantics as an ordinary C++ reference, but it need not actually be an ordinary C++ reference. Some implementations, for example, might provide additional reference types to support non-standard memory models. Note, however, that "smart references" (user-defined reference types that provide additional functionality) are not a viable option. It is impossible for a user-defined type to have the same semantics as C++ references, because the C++ language does not support redefining the member access operator (operator.).

[6] As in the case of references [5], the pointer type must have the same semantics as C++ pointers but need not actually be a C++ pointer. "Smart pointers," however, unlike "smart references", are possible. This is because it is possible for user-defined types to define the dereference operator and the pointer member access operator, operator* and operator->.

[7] The iterator type need only be an input iterator , which provides a very weak set of guarantees; in particular, all algorithms on input iterators must be "single pass". It follows that only a single iterator into a container may be active at any one time. This restriction is removed in Forward Container.

[8] In the case of a fixed-size container, size() == max_size().

[9] For any Assignable type, swap can be defined in terms of assignment. This requires three assignments, each of which, for a container type, is linear in the container's size. In a sense, then, a.swap(b) is redundant. It exists solely for the sake of efficiency: for many containers, such as vector and list, it is possible to implement swap such that its run-time complexity is constant rather than linear. If this is possible for some container type X , then the template specialization swap(X&, X&) can simply be written in terms of X::swap(X&). The implication of this is that X::swap(X&) should only be defined if there exists such a constant-time implementation. Not every container class X need have such a member function, but if the member function exists at all then it is guaranteed to be amortized constant time.

[10] For many containers, such as vector and deque, size is O(1). This satisfies the requirement that it be O(N).

[11] Although [a.begin(), a.end()) must be a valid range, and must include every element in the container, the order in which the elements appear in that range is unspecified. If you iterate through a container twice, it is not guaranteed that the order will be the same both times. This restriction is removed in Forward Container.


Invariants | Standard Template Library Programmer`s Guide | Forward Container







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