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Stack, Heap and Static Memory

For writing solid C++ code, there is no way around understanding memory. As C++ is very powerful in terms of memory management, it comes with huge responsibility. Part of this responsibility is knowing where your data is created - and when it is removed, if at all. Here is an overview of the stack, heap and the static memory works and how you can manage it.

Allocating variables in the memory

int main() {
// in the stack
int value = 5;
int array[5];

// in the heap
int* hvalue = new int,
// dereferencing it
*hvalue = 5;

int* harray = new int[5];

Stack-located stuff gets freed automatically. This happens once the end of the scope is reached. Everything in the heap is up to us to be cleaned up. Deleting stuff from the heap:

int main() {
int* hvalue = new int;
*hvalue = 5;

int* harray = new int[5];

delete hvalue;
delete[] harray;

Generally, allocate heap objects with the *-notation.

malloc and free

First of all, both are pretty outdated and there are better alternatives. Use new and delete instead. malloc and free are the c-way of new and delete in c++. malloc generelly allocates memory in the heap. The parameter for the malloc-function is the number of bytes. malloc returns a void-pointer, so casting is necessary, therefore there is no type-safety. malloc will never call the constructor of the class behind the object. Also, malloc and free and delete and new must never be mixed.

// For an 10-length array of integers: 10 * size of int, so 40 bytes which are allocated. 
int* p = (int*)malloc(sizeof(int) * 10);
p[0] = 100;

// same as delete-function.