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Third USENIX Conference on Object-Oriented Technologies (COOTS), 1997

Montana Smart Pointers: They're Smart, and They're Pointers

Jennifer Hamilton


The Montana C++ programming environment provides an API interface to the compiler, which allows the compilation process to be extended through programmer-supplied tools. This paper investigates the feasibility of that interface, using smart pointers as an example. Smart pointers are a powerful feature of the C++ language that enable a variety of applications, such as garbage collection, persistence, and distributed objects. However, while smart pointers can be used in much the same way as built-in pointers, they are not interchangeable. Using the Montana API, smart pointer functionality can be introduced for built-in pointers, thus enabling built-in pointers that act like smart pointers. We provide an overview of the Montana programming environment and describes how smart pointers can be implemented using the Montana API.
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