27 Iterators library [iterators]

27.4 Iterator primitives [iterator.primitives]

27.4.1 Iterator traits [iterator.traits]

To implement algorithms only in terms of iterators, it is often necessary to determine the value and difference types that correspond to a particular iterator type.
Accordingly, it is required that if Iterator is the type of an iterator, the types
be defined as the iterator's difference type, value type and iterator category, respectively.
In addition, the types
shall be defined as the iterator's reference and pointer types, that is, for an iterator object a, the same type as the type of *a and a->, respectively.
In the case of an output iterator, the types
may be defined as void.
If Iterator has valid ([temp.deduct]) member types difference_­type, value_­type, pointer, reference, and iterator_­category, iterator_­traits<Iterator> shall have the following as publicly accessible members:
  using difference_type   = typename Iterator::difference_type;
  using value_type        = typename Iterator::value_type;
  using pointer           = typename Iterator::pointer;
  using reference         = typename Iterator::reference;
  using iterator_category = typename Iterator::iterator_category;
Otherwise, iterator_­traits<Iterator> shall have no members by any of the above names.
It is specialized for pointers as
namespace std {
  template<class T> struct iterator_traits<T*> {
    using difference_type   = ptrdiff_t;
    using value_type        = remove_cv_t<T>;
    using pointer           = T*;
    using reference         = T&;
    using iterator_category = random_access_iterator_tag;
To implement a generic reverse function, a C++ program can do the following:
template<class BidirectionalIterator>
void reverse(BidirectionalIterator first, BidirectionalIterator last) {
  typename iterator_traits<BidirectionalIterator>::difference_type n =
    distance(first, last);
  while(n > 0) {
    typename iterator_traits<BidirectionalIterator>::value_type
     tmp = *first;
    *first++ = *--last;
    *last = tmp;
    n -= 2;
end example