What Is a Reference in C++?

By: Manoj Kumar Emailed: 1768 times Printed: 2515 times    

Latest comments
By: rohit kumar - how this program is work
By: Kirti - Hi..thx for the hadoop in
By: Spijker - I have altered the code a
By: ali mohammed - why we use the java in ne
By: ali mohammed - why we use the java in ne
By: mizhelle - when I exported the data
By: raul - no output as well, i'm ge
By: Rajesh - thanx very much...
By: Suindu De - Suppose we are executing

A reference is an alias; when you create a reference, you initialize it with the name of another object, the target. From that moment on, the reference acts as an alternative name for the target, and anything you do to the reference is really done to the target.

You create a reference by writing the type of the target object, followed by the reference operator (&), followed by the name of the reference. References can use any legal variable name, but for this book we'll prefix all reference names with "r." Thus, if you have an integer variable named someInt, you can make a reference to that variable by writing the following:

int &rSomeRef = someInt;

This is read as "rSomeRef is a reference to an integer that is initialized to refer to someInt." Program below shows how references are created and used.


NOTE: Note that the reference operator (&) is the same symbol as the one used for the address of the operator. These are not the same operators, however, though clearly they are related.

Creating and using references.

1:    //
2:    // Demonstrating the use of References
4:    #include <iostream.h>
6:    int main()
7:    {
8:         int  intOne;
9:         int &rSomeRef = intOne;
11:        intOne = 5;
12:        cout << "intOne: " << intOne << endl;
13:        cout << "rSomeRef: " << rSomeRef << endl;
15:        rSomeRef = 7;
16:        cout << "intOne: " << intOne << endl;
17:        cout << "rSomeRef: " << rSomeRef << endl;
18:   return 0;
19: }

Output: intOne: 5
rSomeRef: 5
intOne: 7
rSomeRef: 7

Anaylsis: On line 8, a local int variable, intOne, is declared. On line 9, a reference to an int, rSomeRef, is declared and initialized to refer to intOne. If you declare a reference, but don't initialize it, you will get a compile-time error. References must be initialized.
On line 11, intOne is assigned the value 5. On lines 12 and 13, the values in intOne and rSomeRef are printed, and are, of course, the same.

On line 15, 7 is assigned to rSomeRef. Since this is a reference, it is an alias for intOne, and thus the 7 is really assigned to intOne, as is shown by the printouts on lines 16 and 17.

C++ Home | All C++ Tutorials | Latest C++ Tutorials

Sponsored Links

If this tutorial doesn't answer your question, or you have a specific question, just ask an expert here. Post your question to get a direct answer.

Bookmark and Share


Be the first one to add a comment

Your name (required):

Your email(required, will not be shown to the public):

Your sites URL (optional):

Your comments:

More Tutorials by Manoj Kumar
Importing Keystore example using keytool in Java
for loop example in Java
Result Sets, Cursors and Transactions in SQL
JSP Tags for SQL to connect to a database
Using the qsort() and bsearch() functions with values - example program in C
Using qsort() and bsearch() with strings - example program in C
scanf and sscanf sample program in C
Use of {0} is required and Accessing resource bundles programmatically in Struts
Character Arrays in C
Pointers to functions in C++
atoi(), itoa() in C++
Ticker sample program in J2ME
DateFormat sample program in Java
Random class sample program in Java - nextGaussian(), nextBoolean(), nextBytes(), nextInt(), nextLong(), nextFloat(), nextDouble()
What Is a Reference in C++?

More Tutorials in C++
Two-Dimensional Array Manipulation in C++
Calculate average using Two-Dimensional Array in C++
Compute the square root of the sum of the squares of an array in C++
Matrix using nested for loops in C++
Sorting an array of Strings in C++
Calculating total based on the given quantity and price in C++
Compiling and Linking Multiple Source Files in C++
Enumerations in C++
Program to add two numbers in C++
Comments in C++
while loop in C++
for loop in C++
Programming errors a compiler will detect in C++
if in C++
Using the Built-in Arithmetic Types in C++

More Latest News
Most Viewed Articles (in C++ )
virtual inheritance example in C++
Constructors and Destructors in C++
Dot (.) vs Arrow (->) to access data members in C++
ctime() sample program in C++
strlen() sample program in C++
Using Comments in a C++ Program
Using functions in C++
How to use Enumerated constants in C++
Public versus Private members in C++
class keyword in C++
Using switch Statements in C++
C++ Sample Program for Allocating, using, and deleting pointers.
What Is a Reference in C++?
assert() example program in C++
Getting User Input Using cin in C++
Most Emailed Articles (in C++)
const Member Functions in C++
Tutorial on Inline Implementation in C++
Multiple statements in for loops in C++
A Brief History of C++
Difference between Procedural, Structured, and Object-Oriented Programming
C++ and Object-Oriented Programming
Getting Started with C++
Using cout in C++
Using Comments in a C++ Program
Using functions in C++
How to use Enumerated constants in C++
Demonstration of Prefix and Postfix operators in C++
The if Statement in C++
Advanced if Statements in C++
Use of Conditional (Ternary) Operator in C++