Spec:o3tl/utilities/heap ptr

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o3tl::heap_ptr<> - a Const-Transitive Smart Pointer Class

Specification Status
Author Nikolai Pretzell
Last Change 2007-05-15
Status Preliminary


heap_ptr<> is a const-transitive, non-copyable, C++ smart pointer class.

  • smart pointer: A class that holds a pointer to memory allocated on the heap. The destructor automatically deletes (deallocates) the memory.
  • const-transitive: In const heap_ptr<int> pX( new int(25) ); not only pX is const, but also the integer value it points to. This is useful for member variables of classes, because if the class administrates the heap memory, it is normally part of its state.
  • non-copyable: When copying pointers to heap-memory, there either must be a reference counting or the pointer must not be copyable to make sure, delete is called at the right time for the heap memory.


Reference Document Location (URL)
Specification Process Entry Check ./
Product Requirement, RFE, Issue ID IssueZilla 76768
Product Concept Document none
Test case specification Unit Tests in module o3tl/qa/test-heap_ptr.cxx
IDL Specification n/a
Coding Standards this class helps to match http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Cpp_Coding_Standards/GEN#RAII


Role Name E-Mail Address
Developer Nikolai Pretzell np@openoffice.org
Quality Assurance Thorsten Behrens thb@openoffice.org
Documentation Nikolai Pretzell np@openoffice.org
User Experience n/a n/a

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Acronym / Abbreviation Definition

Detailed Specification



Member data on the heap
This class should be the default for class members that are pointers to heap memory and are not shared with other instances, but administrated only by one object. Plain pointers, std::auto_ptr<> and non const-transitive pointers should be replaced, when refactoring.
RAII in function bodies
It can be used in new code, when using RAII for heap memory within a function body.



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