Asked  7 Months ago    Answers:  5   Viewed   34 times

I am getting confused with size_t in C. I know that it is returned by the sizeof operator. But what exactly is it? Is it a data type?

Let's say I have a for loop:

for(i = 0; i < some_size; i++)

Should I use int i; or size_t i;?



From Wikipedia:

According to the 1999 ISO C standard (C99), size_t is an unsigned integer type of at least 16 bit (see sections 7.17 and 7.18.3).

size_tis an unsigned data type defined by several C/C++ standards, e.g. the C99 ISO/IEC 9899 standard, that is defined in stddef.h.1 It can be further imported by inclusion of stdlib.h as this file internally sub includes stddef.h.

This type is used to represent the size of an object. Library functions that take or return sizes expect them to be of type or have the return type of size_t. Further, the most frequently used compiler-based operator sizeof should evaluate to a constant value that is compatible with size_t.

As an implication, size_t is a type guaranteed to hold any array index.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021
answered 7 Months ago

size_t is a type that can hold any array index. This means that, logically, size_t should be able to hold any pointer type

Not necessarily! Hark back to the days of segmented 16-bit architectures for example: an array might be limited to a single segment (so a 16-bit size_t would do) BUT you could have multiple segments (so a 32-bit intptr_t type would be needed to pick the segment as well as the offset within it). I know these things sound weird in these days of uniformly addressable unsegmented architectures, but the standard MUST cater for a wider variety than "what's normal in 2009", you know!-)

Friday, June 4, 2021
answered 7 Months ago
  • What does constinit mean? Why was it introduced? In which cases should we use it?

Initializing a variable with static storage duration might result in two outcomes¹:

  1. The variable is initialized at compile-time (constant-initialization);

  2. The variable is initialized the first time control passes through its declaration.

Case (2) is problematic because it can lead to the static initialization order fiasco, which is a source of dangerous bugs related to global objects.

The constinit keyword can only be applied on variables with static storage duration. If the decorated variable is not initialized at compile-time, the program is ill-formed (i.e. does not compile).

Using constinit ensures that the variable is initialized at compile-time, and that the static initialization order fiasco cannot take place.

  • Does it make a variable immutable? Does it imply const or constexpr?

No and no.

However, constexpr does imply constinit.

  • Can a variable be both const and constinit? What about constexpr and constinit?

It can be both const and constinit. It cannot be both constexpr and constinit. From the wording:

At most one of the constexpr, consteval, and constinit keywords shall appear in a decl-specifier-seq.

constexpr is not equivalent to const constinit, as the former mandates constant destruction, while the latter doesn't.

  • To which variables can the specifier be applied? Why cannot we apply it to non-static, non-thread_local variables?

It can only be applied to variables with static or thread storage duration. It does not make sense to apply it to other variables, as constinit is all about static initialization.

  • Does it have any performance advantages?

No. However, a collateral benefit of initializing a variable at compile-time is that it doesn't take instructions to initialize during program execution. constinit helps developers ensure that is the case without having to guess or check the generated assembly.

¹: See

Tuesday, June 29, 2021
answered 6 Months ago

No, the sizeof(int) is implementation defined, and is usually 4 bytes.

On the other hand, in order to address more than 4GB of memory (that 32bit systems can do), you need your pointers to be 8 bytes wide. int* just holds the address to "somewhere in memory", and you can't address more than 4GB of memory with just 32 bits.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021
answered 5 Months ago

It is a SAL annotation, used for code analysis. The annotations themselves are defined as macros that, in normal builds, expand to nothing.

The ^ and ref class are features of C++/CX, a set of language extensions developed to make it easier to build Metro style apps for Windows 8 in C++. Neither is a part of standard C++. The documentation (linked previously) has links to tutorials and references describing the language extensions.

Monday, August 9, 2021
venkatesh shanmuganathan
answered 4 Months ago
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