My parents told me when I was a child that it was not polite to point. However, each semester I teach my computer programming students how to point. No, I am not trying to promote rude behavior. Rather, I am teaching my students about pointers, which point to another variable or constant.
You yourself may have acted as a pointer in the past. Have you ever been asked where someone lives? If that house was nearby, you may have pointed it out.
The pointer performs a similar function. A pointer points to another variable or constant. Of course, the pointer does not point with an arm and fingers as you would. Rather, the pointer s value is the address of the variable or constant to which it points. Indeed, you may have done something similar. If you were asked where someone lives and that house was not close enough to physically point out, you instead may have provided an address by which the house could be located.
Pointers have had a reputation among programming students for being difficult to learn. I think that reputation is overblown; pointers are not difficult if you take the time to understand what they do. In any event, difficult or not, it is important to learn about pointers. Some C++ tasks are performed more easily with pointers, and other C++ tasks , such as dynamic memory allocation, cannot be performed without them.
So, on that note, let s now learn how to create and work with pointers.