C++/CLI Primer : the visual C++ language of .NET by Gordon Hogenson

By Gordon Hogenson

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The answer is that instead of using pointers, you use tracking handles. Tracking handles are very similar to pointers, but they behave differently since they refer to managed objects, not native objects. There are two entirely separate families of types in C++/CLI—the native type system exists fully intact alongside the managed type system. Objects or instances of native types can coexist in the same application with objects and instances of managed types. Whether a type is native or managed depends on whether it is declared with C++ syntax or with the C++/CLI syntax for managed types.

Thus they may be used to model complex objects. They are not copied byte for byte (for example, when passed as an argument to a function), rather, they are passed as references, so they may be large and not suffer a penalty from excessive copying. They can have special member functions such as default constructors, destructors, copy constructors, and the copy assignment operator (although neither type can have overloaded operators new and delete). The actual objects live on the managed heap. fm Page 5 Friday, October 13, 2006 2:11 PM CHAPTER 1 ■ INTRODUCING C++/CLI handle itself is just an address that refers to the object’s header (which is 8 bytes in size for the 32-bit CLR) on the heap.

Fm Page 20 Friday, October 13, 2006 2:14 PM 20 CHAPTER 2 ■ A QUICK TOUR OF THE C++/CLI LANGUAGE FEATURES double GetHalfLife(); }; ref class RadioactiveAtom : Atom, IRadioactive { double half_life; void UpdateHalfLife() { // ... } public: // The atom releases an alpha particle // so it loses two protons and two neutrons. virtual void AlphaDecay() { SetAtomicNumber(GetAtomicNumber() - 2); SetIsotopeNumber(GetIsotopeNumber() - 4); UpdateHalfLife(); } // The atom releases an electron. // A neutron changes into a proton.

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