Follow Techotopia on Twitter

On-line Guides
All Guides
eBook Store
iOS / Android
Linux for Beginners
Office Productivity
Linux Installation
Linux Security
Linux Utilities
Linux Virtualization
Linux Kernel
System/Network Admin
Scripting Languages
Development Tools
Web Development
GUI Toolkits/Desktop
Mail Systems
Eclipse Documentation

How To Guides
General System Admin
Linux Security
Linux Filesystems
Web Servers
Graphics & Desktop
PC Hardware
Problem Solutions
Privacy Policy




Thinking in C++
Prev Contents / Index Next


A static_cast is used for all conversions that are well-defined. These include “safe” conversions that the compiler would allow you to do without a cast and less-safe conversions that are nonetheless well-defined. The types of conversions covered by static_cast include typical castless conversions, narrowing (information-losing) conversions, forcing a conversion from a void*, implicit type conversions, and static navigation of class hierarchies (since you haven’t seen classes and inheritance yet, this last topic will be delayed until Chapter 15):

//: C03:static_cast.cpp
void func(int) {}

int main() {
  int i = 0x7fff; // Max pos value = 32767
  long l;
  float f;
  // (1) Typical castless conversions:
  l = i;
  f = i;
  // Also works:
  l = static_cast<long>(i);
  f = static_cast<float>(i);

  // (2) Narrowing conversions:
  i = l; // May lose digits
  i = f; // May lose info
  // Says "I know," eliminates warnings:
  i = static_cast<int>(l);
  i = static_cast<int>(f);
  char c = static_cast<char>(i);

  // (3) Forcing a conversion from void* :
  void* vp = &i;
  // Old way produces a dangerous conversion:
  float* fp = (float*)vp;
  // The new way is equally dangerous:
  fp = static_cast<float*>(vp);

  // (4) Implicit type conversions, normally
  // performed by the compiler:
  double d = 0.0;
  int x = d; // Automatic type conversion
  x = static_cast<int>(d); // More explicit
  func(d); // Automatic type conversion
  func(static_cast<int>(d)); // More explicit
} ///:~

In Section (1), you see the kinds of conversions you’re used to doing in C, with or without a cast. Promoting from an int to a long or float is not a problem because the latter can always hold every value that an int can contain. Although it’s unnecessary, you can use static_cast to highlight these promotions.

Converting back the other way is shown in (2). Here, you can lose data because an int is not as “wide” as a long or a float; it won’t hold numbers of the same size. Thus these are called narrowing conversions. The compiler will still perform these, but will often give you a warning. You can eliminate this warning and indicate that you really did mean it using a cast.

Assigning from a void* is not allowed without a cast in C++ (unlike C), as seen in (3). This is dangerous and requires that programmers know what they’re doing. The static_cast, at least, is easier to locate than the old standard cast when you’re hunting for bugs.

Section (4) of the program shows the kinds of implicit type conversions that are normally performed automatically by the compiler. These are automatic and require no casting, but again static_cast highlights the action in case you want to make it clear what’s happening or hunt for it later.

Thinking in C++
Prev Contents / Index Next

   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire