How do I check if an object's type is a particular subclass in C++?


Question

I was thinking along the lines of using typeid() but I don't know how to ask if that type is a subclass of another class (which, by the way, is abstract)

1
59
6/6/2017 10:28:20 PM

Accepted Answer

You really shouldn't. If your program needs to know what class an object is, that usually indicates a design flaw. See if you can get the behavior you want using virtual functions. Also, more information about what you are trying to do would help.

I am assuming you have a situation like this:

class Base;
class A : public Base {...};
class B : public Base {...};

void foo(Base *p)
{
  if(/* p is A */) /* do X */
  else /* do Y */
}

If this is what you have, then try to do something like this:

class Base
{
  virtual void bar() = 0;
};

class A : public Base
{
  void bar() {/* do X */}
};

class B : public Base
{
  void bar() {/* do Y */}
};

void foo(Base *p)
{
  p->bar();
}

Edit: Since the debate about this answer still goes on after so many years, I thought I should throw in some references. If you have a pointer or reference to a base class, and your code needs to know the derived class of the object, then it violates Liskov substitution principle. Uncle Bob calls this an "anathema to Object Oriented Design".

41
9/16/2015 6:31:45 PM

 

class Base
{
  public: virtual ~Base() {}
};

class D1: public Base {};

class D2: public Base {};

int main(int argc,char* argv[]);
{
  D1   d1;
  D2   d2;

  Base*  x = (argc > 2)?&d1:&d2;

  if (dynamic_cast<D2*>(x) == nullptr)
  {
    std::cout << "NOT A D2" << std::endl;
  }
  if (dynamic_cast<D1*>(x) == nullptr)
  {
    std::cout << "NOT A D1" << std::endl;
  }
}

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