¿Es cierto que se sintetiza un constructor predeterminado para cada clase que no define uno?

If the class doesn't have the constructor, will the compiler make one default constructor for it ?

Programmers new to C++ often have two common misunderstandings:

That a default constructor is synthesized for every class that does not define one

from the book Inside the C++ Object Model

Estoy en una pérdida...

preguntado el 09 de marzo de 12 a las 14:03

AFAIK every class has a default constructor, however it is best to create it yourself (at least I do it). -

This quote is at the end of a section that explains at length when exactly a default constructor is synthesized. You should probably read this section and not jump directly to the end. -

Yes, It is not a good question at all...I just want to listen what will you guys say -

You need to make your question understandable so we'll actually have something useful to say - but I think the book is getting at problems people run into when stuff that they expect to automatically happen doesn't happen, though either the book doesn't explain very well or there's a lot more content before they throw that line out there. -

As Luc Touraille states in his answer: stackoverflow.com/a/9637074/297696 - this is definitely described in the book, and has a different meaning from what we thought. -

6 Respuestas

This is well explained in the section from which this quote is taken. I will not paraphrase it in its entirety, but here is a short summary of the section content.

First of all, you need to understand the following terms: implicitly-declared, implicitly-defined, trivial, non-trivial y synthesized (a term that is used by Stanley Lippman, but is not used in the standard).

declarado implícitamente

Un constructor es implicitly-declared for a class if there is no user-declared constructor in this class. For example, this class struct T { }; does not declare any constructor, so the compiler implicitly declares a default constructor. On the other hand, this class struct T { T(int); }; declares a constructor, so the compiler will not declare an implicit default constructor. You will not be able to create an instance of T without parameters, unless you define your own default constructor.

definido implícitamente

An implicitly-declared constructor es implicitly-defined when it is used, i.e. when an instance is created without parameters. Assuming the following class struct T { };, La línea de T t; will trigger the definition of T::T(). Otherwise, you would have a linker error since the constructor would be declared but not defined. However, an implicitly-defined constructor does not necessarily have any code associated with it! Un constructor predeterminado es sintetizado (meaning that some code is created for it) by the compiler only under certain circumstances.

constructor trivial

An implicitly-declared default constructor is trivial cuando:

  • its class has no virtual functions and no virtual base classes and
  • its base classes have trivial constructores y
  • all its non-static members have trivial constructores.

In this case, the default compiler has nothing to do, so there is no code synthesized for it. For instance, in the following code

struct Trivial
    int i;
    char * pc;

int main()
    Trivial t;

la construcción de t does not involve any operations (you can see that by looking at the generated assembly: no constructor is called to construct t).

no trivial

On the other hand, if the class does not meet the three requirements stated above, its implicitly-declared default constructor will be non-trivial, meaning that it will involve some operations that must be performed in order to respect the language semantics. In this case, the compiler will synthesize an implementation of the constructor performing these operations.

For instance, consider the following class:

struct NonTrivial
    virtual void foo();

Since it has a virtual member function, its default constructor debe: set the virtual table pointer to the correct value (assuming the implementation use a virtual method table, of course).

Similarly, the constructor of this class

struct NonTrivial
    std::string s;

debe: call the string default constructor, as it is not trivial. To perform these operations, the compiler generates the code for the default constructor, and calls it anytime you create an instance without parameters. You can check this by looking at the assembly corresponding to this instantiation NonTrivial n; (you should see a function call, unless the constructor has been inlined).


When you don't provide any constructor for your class, the compiler implicitly declares a default one. If you try to use it, the compiler implicitly defines it, if it can (it is not always possible, for instance when a class has a non-default-constructible member). However, this implicit definition does not imply the generation of any code. The compiler needs to generate code for the constructor (synthesize it) only if it is non-trivial, meaning that it involves certain operations needed to implement the language semantics.


Stanley B Lippman's "Inside the C++ object model" and this answer deals with (a possible) implementation of C++, not its semantics. As a consequence, none of the above can be generalized to all compilers: as far as I know, an implementation is perfectly allowed to generate code even for a trivial constructor. From the C++ user point of view, all that matters is the "implicitly-declared/defined` aspect (and also the trivial/non-trivial distinction, as it has some implications (for instance, an object of a class with non-trivial constructor cannot be a member of a union)).

respondido 10 mar '12, 09:03

+1 - Interesting, interesting. Guess I need to take a look at this book. - 逆 さ ま

wait, whats the synthesized mean? - Pato morando

Summary is incorrect. There are several more conditions on availability of a default constructor than simply "no user-declared constructors". - ben voigt

@BenVoigt: I may have forgot some conditions, could you elaborate? I read this sentence in the C++03 standard (§12.1.5) and did not dig further: If there is no user-declared constructor for class X, a default constructor is implicitly-declared.. - Lucas Touraille

@MooingDuck: synthesized mean (in Stanley Lippman's book) that some code is generated for it by the implementation (I did not feel the need to make a paragraph to explain it as I introduce the notion in the implicitly-defined paragraph). - Lucas Touraille

I think the misconception is:

That a default constructor is synthesized for every class that does not define one

That people think the default constructor, which accepts no arguments, will always be generated if you don't declare it yourself.

However, this is not true, because if you declare any constructor yourself, the default one will not be automatically created.

class MyClass {
    MyClass(int x) {}; // No default constructor will be generated now

This will lead to problems like when beginners expect to use MyClass Me gusta esto:

MyClass mc;

Which won't work because there is no default constructor that accepts no args.

editar as OP is still a little confused.

Imagine that my MyClass above was this:

class MyClass {

int main() {
    MyClass m;

That would compile, because the compiler will autogenerate the default constructor MyClass() porque MyClass se utilizó.

Ahora eche un vistazo a esto:

#include <iostream>

class MyClass {


int main() {
    std::cout << "exiting\n";

If this were the only code around, the compiler wouldn't even bother generating the default constructor, because MyClass nunca se usa

Ahora esto:

#include <iostream>

class MyClass {
    MyClass(int x = 5) { _x = x; }
    int _x;

int main() {
    MyClass m;
    std::cout << m._x;

The compiler doesn't generate default constructor MyClass(), because the class already has a constructor defined by me. This will work, and MyClass(int x = 5) works as your default constructor because it can accept no arguments, but it wasn't generated by the compiler.

And finally, where beginners might run into a problem:

class MyClass() {
    MyClass(int x) { _x = x; }
    int _x;

int main() {
    MyClass m;

The above will throw you an error during compilation, because MyClass m needs a default constructor (no arguments) to work, but you already declared a constructor that takes an int. The compiler will not generate a no-argument constructor in this situation either.

respondido 09 mar '12, 15:03

@user974349 - a Default Constructor in C++ has a very clear definition: it's a constructor which accepts no arguments (or all arguments have default arguments). - 逆 さ ま

Not to be confused with a "defaulted default constructor", which is either the implicitly defined default constructor or a default constructor that is explicitly defaulted with `= default". - jose mansfield

As a matter of fact, the misconception evoked by Stanley Lippman is not about the implicit declaration/definition of the default constructor, but about its synthesization (generation of some code for it). See mi respuesta. - Lucas Touraille

A default constructor is synthesized for every class that does not define one if:

  • The code using the class needs one & only if
  • There is no other constructor explicitly defined for the class by you.

respondido 09 mar '12, 14:03

when the users need one? A example? class A{} int main(){A a; return 0;} - Eric.Q

yep. 'A a;' requires a default ctor. So one is generatoed. - Carsten Greiner

The rules are rather strict here. if (false) { A a; } also requires a default ctor. The compiler doesn't look at the context where a se define. - MSalters

In fact, the default constructor is implicitly se define when it is used, but that does not mean it is sintetizado (in the sense Stanley Lippman uses the word). Indeed, if the constructor is trivial, it does not involve any operations and there is no need to generate any code for it, nor to make any function call when constructing an instance of the class (see mi respuesta). - Lucas Touraille

All the upvoted answers thus far seem to say approximately the same thing:

A default constructor is synthesized for every class that does not have any user-defined constructor.

which is a modification of the statement in the question, which means

A default constructor is synthesized for every class that does not have a user-defined default constructor.

The difference is important, but the statement is still wrong.

A correct statement would be:

A default constructor is synthesized for every class that does not have any user-defined constructor and for which all sub-objects are default-constructible in the context of the class.

Here are some clear counter-examples to the first statement:

struct NoDefaultConstructor

class Surprise1
     NoDefaultConstructor m;
} s1; // fails, no default constructor exists for Surprise1

class Surprise1 has no user-defined constructors, but no default constructor is synthesized.

It doesn't matter whether the subobject is a member or a base:

class Surprise2 : public NoDefaultConstructor
} s2; // fails, no default constructor exists for Surprise2

Even if all subobjects are default-constructible, the default constructor has to be accessible from the composite class:

class NonPublicConstructor

class Surprise3
    NonPublicConstructor m;
} s3; // fails, no default constructor exists for Surprise3

respondido 09 mar '12, 16:03

No creo que esto sea correcto. Surprise1 have an implicitly-defined constructor, but this constructor tries to call NoDefaultConstructor::NoDefaultConstructor(), which does not exist. The synthesized default constructor invokes a non-existent function, hence the compiler error. In Comeau, when you compile your samples, the error message states that no default constructor exists for class "NoDefaultConstructor", eso no no default constructor exists for class "Surprise". - Lucas Touraille

Salidas GCC no matching function for call to ‘NoDefaultConstructor::NoDefaultConstructor()’. I think these two compilers have it right, as the standard is quite clear on this point: If there is no user-declared constructor for class X, a default constructor is implicitly-declared. (§12.1.5) What compiler did you use to test your samples? - Lucas Touraille

@Luc: The compiler is trying to synthesize Surprise1::Surprise1, and it fails to do so. To just says "the compiler synthesizes it" implies success. Also, the standard says that in such cases the default constructor is implicitly defined as borrado. It does not exist. - ben voigt

@Luc: It's 12.1p5, "A defaulted default constructor for class X is defined as deleted if...". Then p6: "A default constructor that is defaulted and not defined as deleted is implicitly defined when it is used" - ben voigt

You were right, the default constructor of Surprise is never defined, even before C++11. Before the implicitly-declared default constructor for a class is implicitly defined, all the implicitly-declared default constructors for its base classes and its nonstatic data members shall have been implicitly defined. (12.1p7). I just saw that the new standard made all this much more precise. Sorry for the long discussion! - Lucas Touraille

Yes a default constructor is always there by default if you don't define a constructor of your own (see the default constructor section aquí).

respondido 09 mar '12, 15:03

No, the book said that's the new ones' misunderstandings - Eric.Q

If he defines another constructor, the default constructor isn't synthesised. - juanchopanza

Sure, but you're referring to the default constructor, so "if you don't define one" means "if you don't define a default constructor". - juanchopanza

@talnicolas - it is easy to misconstrue your statement as the incorrect "if you don't define one default constructor" rather than the more accurate "if you don't define one constructor." - Robᵩ



The following sentense are got from the book "Inside the C++ object model" , written by Stanley B. Lippman.

There are four characteristics of a class under which the compiler needs to synthesize a default constructor for classes that declare no constructor at all. The Standard refers to these as implicit, nontrivial default constructors. The synthesized constructor fulfills only an implementation need. It does this by invoking member object or base class default constructors or initializing the virtual function or virtual base class mechanism for each object. Classes that do not exhibit these characteristics and that declare no constructor at all are said to have implicit, trivial default constructors. In practice, these trivial default constructors are not synthesized. ... Programmers new to C++ often have two common misunderstandings:

  • That a default constructor is synthesized for every class that does not define one

  • That the compiler-synthesized default constructor provides explicit default initializers for each data member declared within the class

As you have seen, neither of these is true.

respondido 09 mar '12, 17:03

Please do not answer with random URLs. A good answer can point to a "for more information" resource, but should stand by itself. - MSalters

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