Question: Why does clang take a string literal as a pointer rather than an array?


Why does clang take a string literal as a pointer rather than an array?

Answers 2
Added at 2017-01-03 04:01
#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

void f(const char* arg)
    cout << "arg is a pointer" << endl;

template<size_t N>
void f(const char (&arg)[N])
    cout << "arg is an array." << endl;

int main()

My compiler is clang 3.8.

The output is:

arg is a pointer

However, according to,

The type of an unprefixed string literal is const char[].

Why does the overload resolution not behave as expected?

nr: #1 dodano: 2017-01-03 04:01

It does behave as expected, you just need to adjust your expectations ;-)

const char[1] and const char (&)[1] are different types.

The conversions to const char* (array-to-pointer conversion) and const (&char)[1] (identity conversion) are both considered exact matches, but a non-template is a better match than a template.

If you write a non-template size-specific overload,

void f(const char (&arg)[1])

you will get an error that the function call is ambiguous.

nr: #2 dodano: 2017-01-03 14:01

@molbdnilo's answer is correct. To add one detail: Your intuition would be correct and the compiler would prefer to avoid the array-to-pointer conversion by calling the template. But lvalue transformations (lvalue-to-rvalue, array-to-pointer, and function-to-pointer) are specifically ignored in overload ranking, according to [over.ics.rank] §

There is a workaround: add a fake volatile to restore the balance of overload preference. Just be sure to remove it by const_cast before using the parameter.

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