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Function arguments, pass by pointer or reference?

Discussion in 'C' started by hseldon, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. hseldon

    hseldon New Member

    Which do you think is best? or cons/pros of each of passing by pointer vs passing by reference.
  2. lionaneesh

    lionaneesh New Member

    Passing arguments by pointers allows the function to change our data in the pointed address..

    Passing by reference allows us to safeguard our data...

    Now lets test it :-


    void passByPointer(int * input)
    	*input = 100;
    void passByReference(int input)
    	input = 1337;
    int main()
    	int NumberToTest = 1337;
    	printf("Input = %d\n",NumberToTest);
    	passByPointer(&NumberToTest);		// change to 100
    	printf("Input = %d\n",NumberToTest); // should turn to 100
    	printf("Input = %d\n",NumberToTest); // Should be unchanged still will be 100


    gcc function.c -o function
    Running :-

    aneesh@aneesh-laptop:~/Programming/C$ ./function 
    Input = 1337
    Input = 100
    Input = 100
    Hope this helps...
  3. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    You are getting confused with Pass By reference with Pass By Value.
  4. xpi0t0s

    xpi0t0s Mentor

    Neither is better; they are different tools for different jobs. You may as well ask which is better out of a hammer and a screwdriver.
  5. lionaneesh

    lionaneesh New Member

    Sorry about that!!!
  6. UATLevan

    UATLevan New Member

    There really is no best, you have to know why you're passing by that choice when you create the function. One advantage of pass by pointer is you can set them to NULL to represent different things in your function while references have to point to an object even though that object might not be valid.

    Allen LeVan
    UAT Student

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