12 Classes [class]

12.1 Class names [class.name]

A class definition introduces a new type. [Example:

struct X { int a; };
struct Y { int a; };
X a1;
Y a2;
int a3;

declares three variables of three different types. This implies that

a1 = a2;                        // error: Y assigned to X
a1 = a3;                        // error: int assigned to X

are type mismatches, and that

int f(X);
int f(Y);

declare an overloaded function f() and not simply a single function f() twice. For the same reason,

struct S { int a; };
struct S { int a; };            // error, double definition

is ill-formed because it defines S twice. end example]

A class declaration introduces the class name into the scope where it is declared and hides any class, variable, function, or other declaration of that name in an enclosing scope. If a class name is declared in a scope where a variable, function, or enumerator of the same name is also declared, then when both declarations are in scope, the class can be referred to only using an elaborated-type-specifier ([basic.lookup.elab]). [Example:

struct stat {
  // ...

stat gstat;                     // use plain stat to define variable

int stat(struct stat*);         // redeclare stat as function

void f() {
  struct stat* ps;              // struct prefix needed to name struct stat
  stat(ps);                     // call stat()

end example] A declaration consisting solely of class-key identifier; is either a redeclaration of the name in the current scope or a forward declaration of the identifier as a class name. It introduces the class name into the current scope. [Example:

struct s { int a; };

void g() {
  struct s;                     // hide global struct s with a block-scope declaration
  s* p;                         // refer to local struct s
  struct s { char* p; };        // define local struct s
  struct s;                     // redeclaration, has no effect

end example] [Note: Such declarations allow definition of classes that refer to each other. [Example:

class Vector;

class Matrix {
  // ...
  friend Vector operator*(const Matrix&, const Vector&);

class Vector {
  // ...
  friend Vector operator*(const Matrix&, const Vector&);

Declaration of friends is described in [class.friend], operator functions in [over.oper]. end example] end note]

[Note: An elaborated-type-specifier can also be used as a type-specifier as part of a declaration. It differs from a class declaration in that if a class of the elaborated name is in scope the elaborated name will refer to it. end note] [Example:

struct s { int a; };

void g(int s) {
  struct s* p = new struct s;   // global s
  p->a = s;                     // parameter s

end example]

[Note: The declaration of a class name takes effect immediately after the identifier is seen in the class definition or elaborated-type-specifier. For example,

class A * A;

first specifies A to be the name of a class and then redefines it as the name of a pointer to an object of that class. This means that the elaborated form class A must be used to refer to the class. Such artistry with names can be confusing and is best avoided. end note]

A typedef-name that names a class type, or a cv-qualified version thereof, is also a class-name. If a typedef-name that names a cv-qualified class type is used where a class-name is required, the cv-qualifiers are ignored. A typedef-name shall not be used as the identifier in a class-head.