Monday, 9 June 2008

Default argument values in classes.

They can be dangerous if you're overriding due to inheritance. If you inherit a class and override a function that has a default value, you should not use a default value. If you do, someone may come along and change the base class default, or worse, you might think it's okay to have a different value on your function.

For you to understand why this is a problem, you must understand that default values are compile time, but function calls on inherited classes are runtime. For example, if you call the base class without an argument, the new inheriting class gets the default value from the base class, not it's own default argument. Funny huh?

Worry about it. If you need a default argument, try splitting the function into overloads instead.

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