20 General utilities library [utilities]

20.11 Smart pointers [smartptr]

20.11.1 Class template unique_­ptr [unique.ptr] General [unique.ptr.general]

A unique pointer is an object that owns another object and manages that other object through a pointer.
More precisely, a unique pointer is an object u that stores a pointer to a second object p and will dispose of p when u is itself destroyed (e.g., when leaving block scope ([stmt.dcl])).
In this context, u is said to own p.
The mechanism by which u disposes of p is known as p's associated deleter, a function object whose correct invocation results in p's appropriate disposition (typically its deletion).
Let the notation u.p denote the pointer stored by u, and let u.d denote the associated deleter.
Upon request, u can reset (replace) u.p and u.d with another pointer and deleter, but properly disposes of its owned object via the associated deleter before such replacement is considered completed.
Each object of a type U instantiated from the unique_­ptr template specified in [unique.ptr] has the strict ownership semantics, specified above, of a unique pointer.
In partial satisfaction of these semantics, each such U is Cpp17MoveConstructible and Cpp17MoveAssignable, but is not Cpp17CopyConstructible nor Cpp17CopyAssignable.
The template parameter T of unique_­ptr may be an incomplete type.
[Note 1:
The uses of unique_­ptr include providing exception safety for dynamically allocated memory, passing ownership of dynamically allocated memory to a function, and returning dynamically allocated memory from a function.
— end note]