Automatic derivation of zero-overhead C++ class enhancements, such as comparison/assignment operators, hash/swap/serialization/pretty printing functions and much more.
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C++ Enhance Build Status

... is a single-header C++ library that will save you hours of coding and unnecessary complexity.

It automates the derivation of class enhancements such as

  • comparison operators
  • assignment operators
  • hash functions
  • swap functions
  • serialization
  • pretty printing
  • much, much more is possible. (See documentation and examples)

Writing these by hand is cumbersome and repetitive, as they usually all involve the same fields of the class. Handwritten implementations are error prone and a hassle to keep up-to-date.

Enhance achieves this by class inheritance. The only thing that needs to be specified is the list of member variables or other accessors that should be used in the enhancement. If the class definition cannot be altered, non-intrusive versions are also available.

What's the runtime overhead?


Aggressive compiler optimizations (like g++ -O2) should eliminate any overhead caused by Enhance compared to a manual implementation, as it basically only shuffles pointers and references around in ways that are known at compile time (e.g. through the use of static polymorphism).

Is all this achieved using MACRO magic that is hard to debug?

No macros, just pure templated C++.

There are a few simple macros built on top of Enhance's core functionality for convenience in cases where inheritance is not possible (like specializing std::hash).

1 Installation

Just copy the enhance.hpp header file into your project's source tree. Alternatively, you can put it in your compiler's search path or tell the compiler where to find it (e.g. g++ -I/path/to/directory).

2 Basic Usage

In the most basic use case, the class to be enhanced needs a template member function enhance taking one argument — the so called combiner — which gets passed all fields that should be used to build up the enhancements. As an example take a class Point2D describing points in the two dimensional plane:

#include "enhance.hpp"
#include <iostream>
#include <set>

using namespace std;
using namespace enhance;

struct Point2D : LessComparable<Point2D>,
                 ScalarMultiplicable<int, Point2D>,
                 Insertable< '[', ',', ' ', ']' ,Point2D>,
                 WithScalarProduct<int, Point2D>
  int x,y;

  Point2D(int x, int y):x(x), y(y) {}
  template<class C> void enhance(C& c) const{
    c(&Point2D::x, &Point2D::y);

int main(){
  Point2D v{2,3}, w{5,1}, q{20,30};
  // `LessComparable` provides `operator<` needed e.g. for `std::set`:
  std::set<Point2D> points = {v, w, q};

  // `ScalarMultiplicable` provides:
  v *= 10;
  // `EqualComparable` gives `operator==`:
  cout<< std::boolalpha << (v == q) << endl;
  // prints: true
  // `Insertable` defines `operator<<` for pretty printing:
  cout<< v << endl;
  // prints: [20, 30]
  // `WithScalarProduct` defines the scalar product:
  cout << v * w <<endl;
  // prints: 130 

More examples of working code are found in the documentation and in the unorganized collection of tests.

3 Tutorial

See for a tutorial demonstrating many features of Enhance.

4 Documentation and Examples can be found here

5 Extension

The core concept implemented in Enhance is very flexible and the current set of modules by no means captures everything that is possible. It is written with extensibility in mind, so please open an issue, or send a pull request, if you think Enhance could provide more features.

Not currently implemented: Stream extraction (operator>>), in/decrement (operator++), specializations of std::less or std::swap, ...

6 Dependencies

The library depends only on the C++ Standard Library.

7 Compiler support

This software should be compatible with any c++11 compiler. More specifically:

Compiler Minimum version Successfully tested
GCC 4.7 6.2.0 (in Travis CI)
Clang 3.0 3.5.0 (in Travis CI)
MS Visual C++ 12.0 (2013) 14.0 (2015)
Intel C++ 12.1
IBM XLC++ 13.1.3
Sun/Oracle C++ 5.13
Cray 8.4
EDG eccp 4.2

If you use an untested compiler, please send a pull request or open an issue with your (un)successful experiences.

Enhance uses template aliases, which can be backported easily, and type traits, but only for ConstCast. Further, it makes use of variadic templates if available, but provides manual fallback unpacking of up to 10 accessors. This fallback mechanism currently is only implemented for Visual C++, but is trivial to add for other compilers.

8 Testing

Tests are currently stored in tests/tests.cpp. Pull requests for new features are encouraged to also add tests to this file.

The current version of tests.cpp would benefit from a complete makover.

8.1 Dependencies

The tests use the Catch test library and the cxx-prettyprinting library, whose single-header versions are included in this repository. It also uses the Boost.Serialization library, which needs to be installed separately, e.g. through your package manager (libboost-serialization-dev on ubuntu) or manually, e.g. on Windows. To disable tests using this library add #define ENHANCE_NO_SERIALIZE to tests.cpp.

8.2 Compiling and running the tests

To run the tests using gcc, checkout this repository and run make.

To run the tests using Visual C++ under Visual Studio start the Developer Command Prompt or if you use the free Visual C++ Build Tools, the x64 (or x86) Native Tools Command Prompt and run:

cl /EHsc test_main.cpp  tests.cpp /I path\to\boost_1_62_0 /link /LIBPATH:"path\to\boost_1_62_0\lib64-msvc-14.0" /SUBSYSTEM:CONSOLE

(tested with VC++ 2015, msvc14, compiler version 19.0 and Boost 1.62.)