A reference is simply an alternative identifier for a variable or
Its rather like the FORTRAN EQUIVALENCE, except that it can be defined at
execution time (something some of us have wished FORTRAN could do as well!).
Clearly, as this is an execution time feature, a
has to be involved. When a reference identifier is declared it must
be initialised with the address of the variable it is a reference to, for
Int_t &my_int = your_int;
This makes my_int a reference to your_int. From now on the two identifiers
are equivalent. Behinds the scenes, the compiler knows that it only has a
pointer and has to do some dereferencing, but this is all automatic - it
better to forget about this trickery and just think of it as an alternative
name. References cannot do anything that pointers cannot do, however, they
can make some code a lot clearer by removing lots of explicit dereferences.
Once defined, a reference cannot be reassigned a new value.
See OO Concepts:
Pointers & References
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