Shared Pointer

What are they?

Shared pointers are used extensively within the Mantid Framework to simplify memory management and reduce memory leaks. We use the Shared Pointer definition from the Standard Template Library.

Shared pointers are objects which store pointers to dynamically allocated (heap) objects. They behave much like built-in C++ pointers except that they automatically delete the object pointed to at the appropriate time. Shared pointers are particularly useful in the face of exceptions as they ensure proper destruction of dynamically allocated objects. They can also be used to keep track of dynamically allocated objects shared by multiple owners.

Conceptually, Shared pointers are seen as owning the object pointed to, and thus responsible for deletion of the object when it is no longer needed.

Declaring a shared pointer

creating a shared pointer to a new object

std::shared_ptr`` ptr(new C);``

assigning a shared pointer

std::shared_ptr`` instrument = workspace->getInstrument();``

Several of our shared pointers have typedefs to give them much shorter definitions. For example instead of std::shared_ptr you can just type workspace_sptr (where sptr stands for shared pointer).

Using a shared pointer

Shared pointer can be used just like any pointer.


The only real differences are when casting the pointer instead of

Workspace2D* input2D = dynamic_cast(m_input);

you would use

Workspace2D_sptr input2D = std::dynamic_pointer_cast(input);

and that you should not delete a shared pointer, it will take care of itself.

Category: Concepts