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Re: Returning a class instance by value and a naming question

Stefan Ram
Posts: n/a
DSF <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
> I have a class I've been writing where I frequently need to return
>the class by value so that class members can be changed without
>affecting the original.

What you return is called »an instance of the class«
or »an object of the class«. It's not the class.

>upon return, the local instance is copied into an unnamed instance

Return values are rvalues, they are moved, not copied.

> So the question is: Are there any techniques for minimizing the
>number of copies that occur when returning by value?

Move members (move constructors and move assignements) are
already generated by the compiler, unless you defined one of
them or copy members or destructors.

I think, you just have to take care to mark non-obvious
rvalues with ::std::move and to have handles to resources
as members (not large members).

Reply With Quote
Ian Collins
Posts: n/a
DSF wrote:
> On 14 Nov 2013 00:31:03 GMT, Removed) (Stefan Ram)
> wrote:
>> Return values are rvalues, they are moved, not copied.

> That's an issue of semantics. A copy followed by a delete is often
> called a move, but there's still a copy involved.
> Return by value:
> Copy local object to unnamed object created before function call.
> Call local object's destructor.
> Return from function.
> Copy unnamed object to target.
> Call unnamed object's destructor.
> Call it two "moves," but there's still two copies made.

Are you familiar with the concept of Return Value Optimisation? If not,
look it up. In most situations, what you think may be an expensive
operation, such as returning a container by value, isn't.

Ian Collins
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