Skip to main content

What Is RAII

RAII is a frequently used idiom in C++ that ensures the safe usage of resources by releasing them when an object's scope ends. In C++, resources allocated on the heap are not released unless explicitly done so, but those allocated on the stack are automatically released when their scope ends, triggering their destructor. Originally, RAII was used to guard against unexpected changes in control flow, such as exceptions.

In the above code example, the unsafeFunction() function is not safe. If the thisFunctionCanThrowException() throws an exception, the resource may not be released. The unmaintanableFunction releases the resource, but it is not easy to read and maintain.

The safeFunction example uses unique_ptr, a smart pointer introduced at C++11, for RAII. unique_ptr automatically releases the memory it holds when it is destroyed, ensuring that the resource is released when the function exits.

The resource does not only refer to heap memory but also includes files, databases, and other things that can be safely used with RAII. Furthermore, RAII can be used to handle code that must always be executed when a specific scope ends, similar to the finally statement in other languages. In fact, Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++ and the term RAII, stated that there was no need for a finally statement in C++ due to the existence of RAII.

This article is a translation of a Korean post written in 2014. If you would like to view the original, please refer to this link.


Popular posts from this blog

Type Conversion in Rust

Type conversion is not special in Rust. It's just a function that takes ownership of the value and returns the other type. So you can name convert functions anything. However, it's a convention to use as_ , to_ , and into_ prefixed name or to use from_ prefixed constructor. From You can create any function for type conversion. However, if you want to provide generic interfaces, you'd better implement the From trait. For instance, you should implement From<X> for Y when you want the interface that converts the X type value to the Y type value. The From trait have an associated function named from . You can call this function like From::from(x) . You also can call it like Y::from(x) if the compiler cannot infer the type of the destination type. Into From have an associated function, it makes you be able to specify the destination type. It's why From has an associated function instead of a method, but on the other hands, you cannot use it as a me

Do not use garbage collection to catch memory leak

Garbage collection is a technique that automatically releases unnecessary memory. It's very famous because many programming languages adopted garbage collection after John McCarthy implemented it in Lisp. However, there are a few people who misunderstand what garbage collection does. If you think garbage collection prevents a memory leak, unfortunately, you are one of them. Garbage collection cannot prevent a memory leak. There is no way to avoid all memory leaks if you are using Turing-complete language. To understand it you should know what a memory leak is. Wikipedia describes a memory leak as the following: a type of resource leak that occurs when a computer program incorrectly manages memory allocations in such a way that memory which is no longer needed is not released. Briefly, a memory leak is a bug that doesn't release a memory that you don't use. So it is first to find the memory which will not be used in order to detect memory leaks. Unfortunately, it i

[C++] Handling Exceptions in Constructors

When you use RAII idiom, there are often situations where constructors have to do complex tasks. These complex tasks can sometimes fail, resulting in throwing exceptions. This raises a concern: Is it okay to throw exceptions in constructors? The first concern is memory leaks. Fortunately, memory leaks do not occur. Variables created on the stack are released through stack unwinding, and if an exception occurs during heap allocation with the new operator, the new operator automatically deallocates the memory and returns nullptr . The next concern is whether the destructor of the member variables will be called correctly. However, this is also not a problem. When an exception occurs, member variables can be divided into three categories: fully initialized member variables, member variables being initialized, and uninitialized member variables. Fully initialized member variables have had their constructors called and memory allocations completed successfully. In the example code, t