How do you properly use namespaces in C++?


I come from a Java background, where packages are used, not namespaces. I'm used to putting classes that work together to form a complete object into packages, and then reusing them later from that package. But now I'm working in C++.

How do you use namespaces in C++? Do you create a single namespace for the entire application, or do you create namespaces for the major components? If so, how do you create objects from classes in other namespaces?

5/23/2014 10:11:39 AM

Accepted Answer

Namespaces are packages essentially. They can be used like this:

namespace MyNamespace
  class MyClass

Then in code:

MyNamespace::MyClass* pClass = new MyNamespace::MyClass();

Hope that helps.

Or, if you want to always use a specific namespace, you can do this:

using namespace MyNamespace;

MyClass* pClass = new MyClass();

Edit: Following what bernhardrusch has said, I tend not to use the "using namespace x" syntax at all, I usually explicitly specify the namespace when instantiating my objects (i.e. the first example I showed).

And as you asked below, you can use as many namespaces as you like.

5/23/2017 10:31:31 AM

To avoid saying everything Mark Ingram already said a little tip for using namespaces:

Avoid the "using namespace" directive in header files - this opens the namespace for all parts of the program which import this header file. In implementation files (*.cpp) this is normally no big problem - altough I prefer to use the "using namespace" directive on the function level.

I think namespaces are mostly used to avoid naming conflicts - not necessarily to organize your code structure. I'd organize C++ programs mainly with header files / the file structure.

Sometimes namespaces are used in bigger C++ projects to hide implementation details.

Additional note to the using directive: Some people prefer using "using" just for single elements:

using std::cout;  
using std::endl;

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