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Chapter 7. Extensions to the C++ Language

The GNU compiler provides these extensions to the C++ language (and you can also use most of the C language extensions in your C++ programs). If you want to write code that checks whether these features are available, you can test for the GNU compiler the same way as for C programs: check for a predefined macro __GNUC__. You can also use __GNUG__ to test specifically for GNU C++ ().

7.1. Minimum and Maximum Operators in C++

It is very convenient to have operators which return the "minimum" or the "maximum" of two arguments. In GNU C++ (but not in GNU C),

a <? b

is the minimum, returning the smaller of the numeric values a and b;

a >? b

is the maximum, returning the larger of the numeric values a and b.

These operations are not primitive in ordinary C++, since you can use a macro to return the minimum of two things in C++, as in the following example.

#define MIN(X,Y) ((X) < (Y) ? : (X) : (Y))

You might then use int min = MIN (i, j); to set min to the minimum value of variables i and j.

However, side effects in X or Y may cause unintended behavior. For example, MIN (i++, j++) will fail, incrementing the smaller counter twice. The GNU C typeof extension allows you to write safe macros that avoid this kind of problem (Section 6.6 Referring to a Type with typeof). However, writing MIN and MAX as macros also forces you to use function-call notation for a fundamental arithmetic operation. Using GNU C++ extensions, you can write int min = i <? j; instead.

Since <? and >? are built into the compiler, they properly handle expressions with side-effects; int min = i++ <? j++; works correctly.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire