Bitesize Modern C++ : Override and Final

Override specifier

In C++98 using polymorphic types can sometimes lead to head-scratching results:image

On the face of it this code looks sound; indeed it will compile with no errors or warnings. However, when it runs the Base version of op() will be executed!

The reason? Derived’s version of op() is not actually an override of Base::op since int and long are considered different types (it’s actually a conversion between an int and a long, not a promotion)

The compiler is more than happy to let you overload functions in the Derived class interface; but in order to call the overload you would need to (dynamic) cast the Base class object in usePolymorphicObject().

In C++11 the override specifier is a compile-time check to ensure you are, in fact, overriding a base class method, rather than simply overloading it.


Final specifier

In some cases you want to make a virtual function a ‘leaf’ function – that is, no derived class can override the method. The final specifier provides a compile-time check for this:


More information

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Glennan Carnie
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About Glennan Carnie

Glennan is an embedded systems and software engineer with over 20 years experience, mostly in high-integrity systems for the defence and aerospace industry. He specialises in C++, UML, software modelling, Systems Engineering and process development.
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