# C++ Metaprogramming

This chapter is from the book

## 23.7 Afternotes

The earliest documented example of a metaprogram was by Erwin Unruh, then representing Siemens on the C++ standardization committee. He noted the computational completeness of the template instantiation process and demonstrated his point by developing the first metaprogram. He used the Metaware compiler and coaxed it into issuing error messages that would contain successive prime numbers. Here is the code that was circulated at a C++ committee meeting in 1994 (modified so that it now compiles on standard conforming compilers):6

`meta/unruh.cpp`
```// prime number computation
// (modified from original from 1994 by Erwin Unruh)
template<int p, int i>
struct is_prime {
enum { pri = (p==2) || ((p%i) && is_prime<(i>2?p:0),i-1>::pri) };
};
template<>
struct is_prime<0,0> {
enum {pri=1};
};
template<>
struct is_prime<0,1> {
enum {pri=1};
};
template<int i>
struct D {
D(void*);
};
template<int i>
struct CondNull {
static int const value = i;
};
template<>
struct CondNull<0> {
static void* value;
};
void* CondNull<0>::value = 0;
template<int i>
struct Prime_print {      // primary template for loop to print prime numbers
Prime_print<i-1> a;
enum { pri = is_prime<i,i-1>::pri };
void f() {
D<i> d = CondNull<pri ? 1 : 0>::value; // 1 is an error, 0 is ne
a.f();
}
};
template<>
struct Prime_print<1> { // full specialization to end the loop
enum {pri=0};
void f() {
D<1> d = 0;
};
};
#ifndef LAST
#define LAST 18
#endif
int main()
{
Prime_print<LAST> a;
a.f();
}```

If you compile this program, the compiler will print error messages when, in Prime_print::f(), the initialization of d fails. This happens when the initial value is 1 because there is only a constructor for void*, and only 0 has a valid conversion to void*. For example, on one compiler, we get (among several other messages) the following errors:7

```unruh.cpp:39:14: error: no viable conversion from ’const int’ to ’D<17>’
unruh.cpp:39:14: error: no viable conversion from ’const int’ to ’D<13>’
unruh.cpp:39:14: error: no viable conversion from ’const int’ to ’D<11>’
unruh.cpp:39:14: error: no viable conversion from ’const int’ to ’D<7>’
unruh.cpp:39:14: error: no viable conversion from ’const int’ to ’D<5>’
unruh.cpp:39:14: error: no viable conversion from ’const int’ to ’D<3>’
unruh.cpp:39:14: error: no viable conversion from ’const int’ to ’D<2>’```

The concept of C++ template metaprogramming as a serious programming tool was first made popular (and somewhat formalized) by Todd Veldhuizen in his paper Using C++ Template Metaprograms (see [VeldhuizenMeta95]). Todd’s work on Blitz++ (a numeric array library for C++, see [Blitz++]) also introduced many refinements and extensions to metaprogramming (and to expression template techniques, introduced in Chapter 27).

Both the first edition of this book and Andrei Alexandrescu’s “Modern C++ Design” (see [AlexandrescuDesign]) contributed to an explosion of C++ libraries exploiting template-based metaprogramming by cataloging some of the basic techniques that are still in use today. The Boost project (see [Boost]) was instrumental in bringing order to this explosion. Early on, it introduced the MPL (meta-programming library), which defined a consistent framework for type metaprogramming made popular also through Abrahams and Gurtovoy’s book “C++ Template Metaprogramming” (see [Boost-MPL]).

Additional important advances have been made by Louis Dionne in making metaprogramming syntactically more accessible, particularly through his Boost.Hana library (see [BoostHana]). Louis, along with Andrew Sutton, Herb Sutter, David Vandevoorde, and others are now spearheading efforts in the standardization committee to give metaprogramming first-class support in the language. An important basis for that work is the exploration of what program properties should be available through reflection; Matúš Chochlík, Axel Naumann, and David Sankel are principal contributors in that area.

In [BartonNackman] John J. Barton and Lee R. Nackman illustrated how to keep track of dimensional units when performing computations. The SIunits library was a more comprehensive library for dealing with physical units developed by Walter Brown ([BrownSIunits]). The std::chrono component in the standard library, which we used as an inspiration for Section 23.1.4 on page 534, only deals with time and dates, and was contributed by Howard Hinnant.

### InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

## Overview

Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

## Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

### Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

### Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

### Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

### Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

### Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

### Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

## Other Collection and Use of Information

### Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

### Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

### Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

## Security

Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

## Children

This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

## Marketing

Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

• Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
• Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
• Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
• Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

## Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

## Choice/Opt-out

Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

## Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

## Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

## Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

• As required by law.
• With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
• In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
• To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
• In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
• To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
• To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
• To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
• To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.