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Thinking in C++
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Specifiers modify the meanings of the basic built-in types and expand them to a much larger set. There are four specifiers: long, short, signed, and unsigned.

long and short modify the maximum and minimum values that a data type will hold. A plain int must be at least the size of a short. The size hierarchy for integral types is: short int, int, long int. All the sizes could conceivably be the same, as long as they satisfy the minimum/maximum value requirements. On a machine with a 64-bit word, for instance, all the data types might be 64 bits.

The size hierarchy for floating point numbers is: float, double, and long double. “long float” is not a legal type. There are no short floating-point numbers.

The signed and unsigned specifiers tell the compiler how to use the sign bit with integral types and characters (floating-point numbers always contain a sign). An unsigned number does not keep track of the sign and thus has an extra bit available, so it can store positive numbers twice as large as the positive numbers that can be stored in a signed number. signed is the default and is only necessary with char; char may or may not default to signed. By specifying signed char, you force the sign bit to be used.

The following example shows the size of the data types in bytes by using the sizeof operator, introduced later in this chapter:

//: C03:Specify.cpp
// Demonstrates the use of specifiers
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

int main() {
  char c;
  unsigned char cu;
  int i;
  unsigned int iu;
  short int is;
  short iis; // Same as short int
  unsigned short int isu;
  unsigned short iisu;
  long int il;
  long iil;  // Same as long int
  unsigned long int ilu;
  unsigned long iilu;
  float f;
  double d;
  long double ld;
    << "\n char= " << sizeof(c)
    << "\n unsigned char = " << sizeof(cu)
    << "\n int = " << sizeof(i)
    << "\n unsigned int = " << sizeof(iu)
    << "\n short = " << sizeof(is)
    << "\n unsigned short = " << sizeof(isu)
    << "\n long = " << sizeof(il) 
    << "\n unsigned long = " << sizeof(ilu)
    << "\n float = " << sizeof(f)
    << "\n double = " << sizeof(d)
    << "\n long double = " << sizeof(ld) 
    << endl;
} ///:~

Be aware that the results you get by running this program will probably be different from one machine/operating system/compiler to the next, since (as mentioned previously) the only thing that must be consistent is that each different type hold the minimum and maximum values specified in the Standard.

When you are modifying an int with short or long, the keyword int is optional, as shown above.

Thinking in C++
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire