Glossary: Template

A C++ template is a set of statements, typically a class header file and implementation file, in which one or more types are parametric. That is to say they are not explicitly defined but are denoted symbolically. When such code is used the real types of each parametric type must be supplied and are substituted to produce compilable code. For example, it is possible to define a container class in which the type of the container is left as a parameter. Then each time objects need to be held in a container, the container template code is used, supplying the object's type as the parameter. In essence its a rather sophisticated "cut and paste" with the container class being duplicated as necessary each time a new contained object type is encountered.
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