Covariant Return Type

The Covariant Return Type of a member function allows an overriding member function to return a narrower type. This is particularly useful when you implement the Prototype Pattern.

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According to the RAII idiom, a std::unique_ptr manages automatically and exclusively the lifetime of its resource. std::unique_ptr should be your first choice because it does its work without memory or performance overhead.

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Memory and Performance Overhead of Smart Pointers

C++11 offers four different smart pointers. I will have a closer look in this post regarding memory and performance overhead on two of them. My first candidate, std::unique_ptr takes care of the lifetime of one resource exclusively; std::shared_ptr shares the ownership of a resource with another std::shared_ptr. I will state the result of my tests before I show you the raw numbers: There are only a few reasons in modern C++ justifying the memory management with new and delete.


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