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literal (Visual C++)

A variable (data member) marked as literal in a /clr compilation is the native equivalent of a static const variable.

A data member marked as literal must be initialized when declared and the value must be a constant integral, enum, or string type. Conversion from the type of the initialization expression to the type of the static const data-member must not require a user-defined conversion.

No memory is allocated for the literal field at runtime; the compiler only inserts its value in the metadata for the class.

A variable marked static const will not be available in metadata to other compilers.

For more information, see Static (C++) and const (C++).

literal is a context-sensitive keyword. See Context-Sensitive Keywords for more information.

This example shows that a literal variable implies static.

// mcppv2_literal.cpp
// compile with: /clr
ref struct X {
   literal int i = 4;

int main() {
   int value = X::i;

The following sample shows the affect of literal in metadata:

// mcppv2_literal2.cpp
// compile with: /clr /LD
public ref struct A {
   literal int lit = 0;
   static const int sc = 1;

Notice the difference in the metadata for sc and lit: the modopt directive is applied to sc, meaning it can be ignored by other compilers.

.field public static int32 modopt([mscorlib]System.Runtime.CompilerServices.IsConst) sc = int32(0x0000000A)
.field public static literal int32 lit = int32(0x0000000A)

The following sample, authored in C#, references the metadata created in the previous sample and shows the affect of literal and static const variables:

// mcppv2_literal3.cs
// compile with: /reference:mcppv2_literal2.dll
// A C# program
class B {
   public static void Main() {
      // OK

      // C# does not enforce C++ const = 9;

      // C# enforces const for a literal
      A.lit = 9;   // CS0131

      // you can assign a C++ literal variable to a C# const variable
      const int i = A.lit;

      // but you cannot assign a C++ static const variable
      // to a C# const variable
      const int j =;   // CS0133

Compiler option: /clr