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Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.

Constant Member Functions

Declaring a member function with the const keyword specifies that the function is a "read-only" function that does not modify the object for which it is called.

To declare a constant member function, place the const keyword after the closing parenthesis of the argument list. The const keyword is required in both the declaration and the definition. A constant member function cannot modify any data members or call any member functions that aren't constant.

// constant_member_function.cpp
class Date
{
public:
   Date( int mn, int dy, int yr );
   int getMonth() const;     // A read-only function
   void setMonth( int mn );   // A write function; can't be const
private:
   int month;
};

int Date::getMonth() const
{
   return month;        // Doesn't modify anything
}
void Date::setMonth( int mn )
{
   month = mn;          // Modifies data member
}
int main()
{
   Date MyDate( 7, 4, 1998 );
   const Date BirthDate( 1, 18, 1953 );
   MyDate.setMonth( 4 );    // Okay
   BirthDate.getMonth();    // Okay
   BirthDate.setMonth( 4 ); // C2662 Error
}

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