Pointers store address of variables or a memory location.
Example: pointer “ptr” holds address of an integer variable or holds address of a memory whose value(s) can be accessed as integer values through “ptr”
Features of Pointers:
- Pointers save memory space.
- Execution time with pointers is faster because data are manipulated with the address, that is, direct access to
- Memory is accessed efficiently with the pointers. The pointer assigns and releases the memory as well. Hence it can be said the Memory of pointers is dynamically allocated.
- Pointers are used with data structures. They are useful for representing two-dimensional and multi-dimensional
- An array, of any type can be accessed with the help of pointers, without considering its subscript range.
- Pointers are used for file handling.
- Pointers are used to allocate memory dynamically.
- In C++, a pointer declared to a base class could access the object of a derived class. However, a pointer to a derived class cannot access the object of a base class.
Uses of pointers:
- To pass arguments by reference
- For accessing array elements
- To return multiple values
- Dynamic memory allocation
- To implement data structures
- To do system level programming where memory addresses are useful
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