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typeid operator

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Queries information of a type.

Used where the dynamic type of a polymorphic object must be known and for static type identification.

Contents

[edit] Syntax

typeid ( type ) (1)
typeid ( expression ) (2)

The typeid expression is an lvalue expression which refers to an object with static storage duration, of const-qualified version of the polymorphic type std::type_info or some type derived from it.

If the standard library definition of std::type_info is not visible when using typeid, the program is ill-formed.

[edit] Explanation

If type or the type of expression is a class type or a reference to a class type, then that class type cannot be an incomplete type.

1) Refers to a std::type_info object representing type. If type is a reference type, the result refers to a std::type_info object representing the cv-unqualified version of the referenced type.
2) Examines expression :
  • Otherwise, typeid does not evaluate the expression, and the std::type_info object it identifies represents the static type of the expression. Lvalue-to-rvalue, array-to-pointer, or function-to-pointer conversions are not performed.
  • Temporary materialization, however, is (formally) performed for prvalue arguments: the argument must be destructible in the context in which the typeid expression appears.
(since C++17)

If type or the type of expression is cv-qualified, the result of the typeid refers to a std::type_info object representing the cv-unqualified type (that is, typeid(const T) == typeid(T)).

If typeid is used on an object under construction or destruction (in a destructor or in a constructor, including constructor's initializer list or default member initializers), then the std::type_info object referred to by this typeid represents the class that is being constructed or destroyed even if it is not the most-derived class.

  1. In other contexts, evaluating such an expression results in undefined behavior.

[edit] Keywords

typeid

[edit] Notes

When applied to an expression of polymorphic type, evaluation of a typeid expression may involve runtime overhead (a virtual table lookup), otherwise typeid expression is resolved at compile time.

It is unspecified whether the destructor for the object referred to by typeid is executed at the end of the program.

There is no guarantee that the same std::type_info object will be referred to by all evaluations of the typeid expression on the same type, although they would compare equal, std::type_info::hash_code of those type_info objects would be identical, as would be their std::type_index.

const std::type_info& ti1 = typeid(A);
const std::type_info& ti2 = typeid(A);
 
assert(&ti1 == &ti2); // not guaranteed
assert(ti1 == ti2); // guaranteed
assert(ti1.hash_code() == ti2.hash_code()); // guaranteed
assert(std::type_index(ti1) == std::type_index(ti2)); // guaranteed

[edit] Example

The example showing output using one of the implementations where type_info::name returns full type names; filter through c++filt -t if using gcc or similar.

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
#include <typeinfo>
 
struct Base {}; // non-polymorphic
struct Derived : Base {};
 
struct Base2 { virtual void foo() {} }; // polymorphic
struct Derived2 : Base2 {};
 
int main()
{
    int myint = 50;
    std::string mystr = "string";
    double *mydoubleptr = nullptr;
 
    std::cout << "myint has type: " << typeid(myint).name() << '\n'
              << "mystr has type: " << typeid(mystr).name() << '\n'
              << "mydoubleptr has type: " << typeid(mydoubleptr).name() << '\n';
 
    // std::cout << myint is a glvalue expression of polymorphic type; it is evaluated
    const std::type_info& r1 = typeid(std::cout << myint); // side-effect: prints 50
    std::cout << '\n' << "std::cout<<myint has type : " << r1.name() << '\n';
 
    // std::printf() is not a glvalue expression of polymorphic type; NOT evaluated
    const std::type_info& r2 = typeid(std::printf("%d\n", myint));
    std::cout << "printf(\"%d\\n\",myint) has type : " << r2.name() << '\n';
 
    // Non-polymorphic lvalue is a static type
    Derived d1;
    Base& b1 = d1;
    std::cout << "reference to non-polymorphic base: " << typeid(b1).name() << '\n';
 
    Derived2 d2;
    Base2& b2 = d2;
    std::cout << "reference to polymorphic base: " << typeid(b2).name() << '\n';
 
    try
    {
        // dereferencing a null pointer: okay for a non-polymorphic expression
        std::cout << "mydoubleptr points to " << typeid(*mydoubleptr).name() << '\n'; 
        // dereferencing a null pointer: not okay for a polymorphic lvalue
        Derived2* bad_ptr = nullptr;
        std::cout << "bad_ptr points to... ";
        std::cout << typeid(*bad_ptr).name() << '\n';
    }
    catch (const std::bad_typeid& e)
    {
        std::cout << " caught " << e.what() << '\n';
    }
}

Possible output:

======== output from Clang ========
myint has type: i
mystr has type: NSt3__112basic_stringIcNS_11char_traitsIcEENS_9allocatorIcEEEE
mydoubleptr has type: Pd
50
std::cout<<myint has type : NSt3__113basic_ostreamIcNS_11char_traitsIcEEEE
printf("%d\n",myint) has type : i
reference to non-polymorphic base: 4Base
reference to polymorphic base: 8Derived2
mydoubleptr points to d
bad_ptr points to...  caught std::bad_typeid
 
======== output from MSVC ========
myint has type: int
mystr has type: class std::basic_string<char,struct std::char_traits<char>,⮠
class std::allocator<char> >
mydoubleptr has type: double * __ptr64
50
std::cout<<myint has type : class std::basic_ostream<char,struct std::char_traits<char> >
printf("%d\n",myint) has type : int
reference to non-polymorphic base: struct Base
reference to polymorphic base: struct Derived2
mydoubleptr points to double
bad_ptr points to...  caught Attempted a typeid of nullptr pointer!

[edit] Defect reports

The following behavior-changing defect reports were applied retroactively to previously published C++ standards.

DR Applied to Behavior as published Correct behavior
CWG 492 C++98 when typeid is applied to a reference to cv-qualified
type, the result represented the referenced type
the result represents the
cv-unqualified referenced type
CWG 1416 C++98 the wording regarding top-level
cv-qualification might be misinterpreted
improved the wording
CWG 1431 C++98 typeid was only allowed to throw std::bad_typeid allowed to throw
matchable derived classes
CWG 1954 C++98 it was unclear whether null pointer dereference
can be checked in subexpressions of expression
only checked at top level

[edit] See also

contains some type's information, generated by the implementation.
This is the class returned by the typeid operator.
(class) [edit]