Constants and Variables

Can either define a constant like const double pi = 3.14 or as a preprocessor director #define PI 3.14, where the latter replaces all appearances of PI in the source code with 3.14

Declaration of variables: int x = 0; and int x(0); and int x{0}; are all equivalent

x = x + 1; and x += 1 and ++x and x++ are all equivalent, but y = ++x will first add 1 to x, then assign this to y, whilst y = x++ will first set y = x, then add 1 to x

A condition can be expressed as condition ? resultIfTrue : resultIfFalse

a = (b=3, b+2) will assign the value 3 to b, then 5 to a

There exist bitwise operators &, |, ^ etc. (AND, OR, XOR)


int i;
float f = 3.97;
i = (int) f;

will result in i = 3


Can end a line with cout << "SomeString" << endl; cin >> a >> b; is the same as cin >> a; cin >> b;

Can also use getline(cin, varToAssign);

#include <sstream> is useful for converting user input to e.g. int

Flow Control

do while loop is like while, but the condition is evaluated after rather than before

switch works like with Java

break, continue, goto
  • break is obvious

  • continue skips the current and carries on with the loop

  • goto goes to another point in the code, which can be marked with e.g. mylabel:


If return 0; is not included in int main(), it is added implicitly by the compiler

Often more efficient (especially with e.g. large arrays) to pass arguments to functions using their pointer like f(int& a, int& b), otherwise the function gets a copy (and modifications don't change the original)

Can pass pointers to functions such that the original is not modified by passing them as e.g. const string& a

Specifying a function as inline tells the compiler that the operation should be preferred to be carried out inline, rather than through actually defining the function

Default values of functions work as with Python

Different functions can have the same name if the parameters are different

Instead of overloading functions, may be more useful to use a function template


Declare variables inside namespaces, then obtain them by e.g. myNamespace::a

Namespaces can be split, like

namespace foo { int a; }
namespace bar { int b; }
namespace foo { int c; }

Put using myNamespace, then can simply access the variables without needing the myNamespace:: prefix

Variables in the global scope or a namespace (static storage) are defined for the duration of the program, whilst local variables are only defined as long as the code is in the block (automatic storage)

In static storage, variables are initialised to zero by default; in automatic, they are undefined by default


Can either use the language built-in array (e.g. int myArray[3] = { 2, 3, 4 } or the container library array (e.g. array<int,3> myArray { 2, 3, 4 }. The former has some issues such as easily decaying into pointers, the latter requires that the file have #include <array>

Can pass an array to a function by e.g. void func(int arr[]), or void func(int arr[][3][4]) for multidimensional, then call func(myArray), this will actually pass the memory address, not the block of memory, to the function


& = "address of", e.g. foo = &theVar assigns the memory address to foo * = "value pointed to by", e.g. bar = *foo assigns the value pointed to by foo to bar

To declare a pointer, e.g. int * a, this * operator is different to the one above, they just have the same symbol

Arrays can be treated like pointers, e.g.

int arr [20];
int * ptr;
ptr = array;

This could not happen the other way around, as an array has to always have the same number of memory blocks and type

Pointers can have some strange arithmetic when adding to the memory address, probably not too important, see tutorial link

Pointers can be made read-only by e.g. const int * p = &y

Pointers to pointers are allowed, e.g. char **c

Void pointers can point to any data type but cannot be dereferenced (getting the value poined to and assigning it to a variable)

Dynamic Memory

This is when something is created with new, which means the memory is allocated during execution, rather than compiling

new type ... returns a pointer new type [5] ... returns a pointer to the first element in the memory block

Memory freed again by delete ptr (if allocated like first case above) or delete[] ptr (if allocated like second)

Structures and Classes

Can directly declare objects after structures, e.g.

struct product {
	int weight;
	double price;
} apple, banana, melon;

To get member from memory address, use ptr->member

Classes are like structures, but also with:

  • Access specifiers, i.e. private (the default), protected, public

  • Functions

Can either define functions of classes within the class, or as e.g. void myClass::func() { ... } The difference being that the compiler treats those within the class definition as an inline member (no difference in behaviour, only possibly in optimisation)

A default constructor is defined by having no arguments

Can define behaviour of operators for classes through e.g. myClass myClass::operator+ (const myClass& param) { ... } Useful for e.g. if you define a vector, and want "+" to correspond to componentwise addition

The keyword this exists, use within class definition

Static variables are shared across all instances

Can create class templates in the same way as with functions, with this, can also have template specialisation, i.e. special behaviour for one specific type

As a shortcut, can initialise members with colon then list of initialisations, e.g.

	Circle (double r) : radius(r) {}

If no constructor is defined, there is a default constructor, but this goes away as soon as one is defined

The destructor is called when an instance is deleted If a class dynamically allocates memory, need to manually free it in the destructor

Can use friend to define non-member functions that can access the private and protected members of a class

Inheritance is through e.g. class Rectangle : public Polygon { ... } public here means that public members in Polygon are public in Rectangle

Things that are not inherited:

  • Constructors and destructors, but these are called by derived members

  • The operator =

  • Friends

  • Private members

Abstract base classes contain at least one pure virtual function, e.g. virtual int area() = 0 Pure means that it is set =0 The advantage is virtual functions can be dereferenced when the pointer is to an object of the derived class Virtual functions are explained well at https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2391679/why-do-we-need-virtual-functions-in-c

Preprocessor Derivatives

#define identifier replacement replaces all appearances of identifier in the code with replacement, which lasts until #undef Special cases are e.g. #define str(x) #x which will replace e.g. cout << str(test) with cout << "test"

Reference variables are aliases, and are declared as e.g. int i = 17; int& r = i;