Archive for the 'Code' Category


C++ Sandbox

This is just a short post to tell you about my C++ sandbox. This is my area for trying out ideas (such as using mutable for caching) or testing C++ 11 features.

This is stored as a mercurial repository on bitbucket here. Please feel free to have a look or add to it if you have something you want to try out. I often use this to test answers to stackoverflow questions. A few of them have generated blog posts here as well.

The rest of this post is the current contents of the repository with a brief description of what I was trying to do with each file.


In this file I was playing around with C style arrays, slightly old and a bit dated to be honest.


This may be a future post here. It defines a templatised base class for comparable class (using the curiously recurring template pattern . It means that if you inherit from this class and define one compare function, you get all 6 comparison operators.


Testing out what you can do with const pointers. With a const Class* const you can only call const methods, with a Class* const you can call anything (this keeps the pointer const not what it points at) and with a Class* you can call anything.


Found an unusual bug and tested it here. If you have a reference (or a pointer) as a member of your class, in a const function you can call non-const functions on the member. This is because it doesn’t change the reference (or pointer) which the class keeps, what it does is change is the object it references.


Trying to copy a reference without using the copy constructor or assignment operator.


I wondered what compiler errors/warnings you get from dividing by zero?
It turns out (in g++) that it will not give errors at all. It will warn you if you divide by a literal zero or a const zero, but not a variable with value zero.


This was for checking the results of using xor on integers.


This was testing the newly added lambda functions, but changed to using standard template library algorithms.


This was playing around with pure virtual functions with implementations. So you can call them using Base::function() in the derived class.


Testing using a mutable member for data caching. This was the basis for the blog post mutable and data caching.


Testing calling operator() on pointer. Here is the calling code.

  Foo* f = new Foo();

  delete f;

A common mistake doing this is to leave off the final brackets so.


But these will return a function pointer to operator(), they won’t call it.


Archetypal polygon example for inheritance. A base polygon, a derived rectangle and triangle. Not great as you use a width and height for the polygon but not all polygons have it. Also I prepended all the classes with the letter C and allocated the instances as pointers to the base class.


Trying to make an executable to delete itself, unsurprisingly this doesn’t work.


Something picked up from a dirty programming trick called the programming antihero (if you haven’t read that article I can’t recommend it enough!). In this there was a game programmer who reserved 2Mb of memory to lose later when memory was tight. I was testing to see how this worked by reserving some memory and checking memory usage. It is had to see the exact memory usage from this sort of thing due to differences in types of memory (i.e. private bytes/working set…) but it certainly took some memory.


Testing out the differences between structs and classes in C++. I found that apart from private/public as default there is no difference! This includes if you declare class T in a template, you can still use a struct.

UserDefinedLiterals and UserDefinedLiteralsBinary

Trying to use C++ 11 user defined literals to be able to use syntax like this:

  Binary two = 10_b;

I was following a good guide from here.


Quite a complicated file. I was trying to use variadic templates to access private methods of a class. Hopefully not of any practical use (it breaks encapsulation and is extremely fragile) but an interesting idea to try,


Unimplemented test for SetEvent() in windows.h.


Made to test getenv from cstdlib for getting environmental variables.


Using C preprocessor magic to join together variable names.


Given an amount in cents (American currency as it was taken from an answer on stackoverflow) find the number of ways you can make it from quarters, dimes, nickles and pennies. This was taken from this answer.


I didn’t think the reply to this question would compile so I tried it out. I realised you can override private virtual functions but not call them.


My thoughts about the answer to this stackoverflow question being wrong, and my idea for a better way.

As always thanks for reading.


Iterator Pattern

This post will be about the Iterator pattern which is a behavioural pattern.

The Purpose

The idea behind this pattern is to have an object which you can loop over without needing to know the internal representation of the data. While in python nothing is private so you can find out the internals of the class, the iterator pattern gives you a standard interface.

Continue reading ‘Iterator Pattern’


Builder Pattern

This post will be about the Builder pattern which is a creational pattern.

The Purpose

The idea behind the builder pattern is to abstract away the construction of an object so that many implementations can use the same builder. This separates the construction logic of the desired class from it’s representation.

Continue reading ‘Builder Pattern’


Strategy Pattern

The strategy pattern is a behavioural design pattern. This means that it is a common communication method between objects and not concerned with how those objects are created or structured.

The Purpose

The idea behind the strategy pattern is to encapsulate the implementation details of an algorithm and make them interchangeable. This gives more flexibility in how an object can be used and enables each algorithm to be tested independently of the calling object.
Continue reading ‘Strategy Pattern’


Facade Pattern

This is the first of actual posts in my series on design patterns in python.

This will be about the Facade pattern which is a structural pattern.

The Purpose

The facade pattern is used to make one object with a simple interface represent a complicated system. The problem often occurs in programming where you have a series of interconnected classes where the functions must be called in a certain order or have complicated interdependencies.

This pattern is to give a standard interface to such a system, so you don’t have to rely on reading how you call the system in one of the files or look at example usage.
Continue reading ‘Facade Pattern’


Design Patterns in Python

This post is 2 things;

  1. A statement of intent
  2. An apology for inaction

Recently this blog has not been nearly as active as I would like it to be. This is due to many things but mostly me simply being very busy.

So that’s the apology done, now for the statement of intent!

I have intended to write a short e-book about design patterns using the python programming language. This is inspired by the aptly titled Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson and John Vlissides who are collectively known as the Gang of Four (GOF).
Continue reading ‘Design Patterns in Python’



I don’t think this is widely known but auto was already a keyword in C++ and also C. Prior to it’s removal in C++09 it was used as a storage duration indicator. What this means is that it tells the compiler how long the storage for the variable needs to last for. The auto keyword is the default and means that the storage is available until the end of the block in which the variable is created. The fact that this is the default behaviour for C++ and it’s infrequent use lead to it being removed from the standard. As Bjarne Stroustrup writes

Several committee members trawled through millions of lines of code finding only a handful of uses — and most of those were in test suites or appeared to be bugs

So onto the new auto. Continue reading ‘Auto’