VTK/Tutorials/SmartPointers

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Revision as of 08:14, 20 October 2009 by Daviddoria (talk | contribs)
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One way to create a VTK object is

vtkObject* MyObject = vtkObject::New();

This method, however, can (and likely will) lead to memory management issues at some point or another. You must manually delete the object

MyObject->Delete();

or you will have a memory leak. VTK's solution to this ever-annoying problem is the smart pointer. To use it, you must

#include "vtkSmartPointer.h"

Then you can create an object as follows:

vtkSmartPointer<vtkObject> MyObject = vtkSmartPointer<vtkObject>::New();

The idea behind smart pointers is reference counting. If the object goes out of scope and it is not being used anywhere else, it will be deleted automatically. Pretty 'smart', eh?!

Here is an example of equivalent operations with and without smart pointers:

SmartPointers.cpp

#include <vtkFloatArray.h>
#include <vtkSmartPointer.h>

#include <iostream>

void WithSmartPointers();
void WithoutSmartPointers();

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
  WithSmartPointers();
  WithoutSmartPointers();
	
	return 0;
}

void WithSmartPointers()
{
  vtkSmartPointer<vtkFloatArray> Distances = vtkSmartPointer<vtkFloatArray>::New();
}

void WithoutSmartPointers()
{
  vtkFloatArray* Distances = vtkFloatArray::New();
  Distances->Delete();
}

CMakeLists.txt

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.6)

PROJECT(SmartPointers)

FIND_PACKAGE(VTK REQUIRED)
INCLUDE(${VTK_USE_FILE})

ADD_EXECUTABLE(SmartPointers SmartPointers.cpp)

TARGET_LINK_LIBRARIES(SmartPointers vtkHybrid)