Blog 2024 02 07 C++23: More small changes

C++23: More small changes

In this post, we continue discovering the changes introduced by C++23. We are going to look into three (and a half) small changes, each affecting constructors of some standard library types. We’re going to see how new constructors for container types, a new range constructor for string_view and some default template arguments for pair.

Read on for the details.

Iterators pair constructors for stack and queue

As of C++20, almost all container-like objects (containers and container-adaptors) can be initialized with a pair of iterators.

std::vector<int> v{42, 51, 66};
std::list<int> l(v.begin(), v.end());

All of them, except for std::stack and std::queue. They don’t provide such overloads. If you want to initialize them with a pair of iterators, you need an intermediary std::initiailizer_list.

std::vector<int> v{42, 51, 66};
// std::queue<int> q1(v.begin(), v.end()); // DOESN'T COMPILE!
std::queue<int> q2({v.begin(), v.end()});

This inconsistency, at first, looks like a small inconvenience. But its effects are much deeper. While using the stack or queue on its own is not a big burden, if you want to offer functionality that works with all container-like objects, you have a higher price to pay.

Due to the lack of an iterator-pair-based constructor, you either have to write special implementations or not support them. For the ranges library that is definitely a problem. Deducing types using CTAD is not possible either.

P1425R4 fixes this situation by adding the iterator-pair-based constructors for stack and queue to the standard as well as the necessary deduction guidelines.

(Explicit) Range constructor for std::string_view

P1989R2 proposes a range constructor to std::string_view. P24990R0 also makes it explicit.

template<class charT, class traits = char_traits<charT>>
class basic_string_view {
 // [...]

 template <class R>
 constexpr basic_string_view(R&& r);

This was not the first time that this constructor was proposed, but previously it was rejected due to some concerns about when the constructor would be chosen over a string_view conversion function. This concern has been addressed in P1989R2 with the set of constraints applied to R. Let’s enumerate those constraints:

  • R must model std::ranges::contiguous_range and std::ranges::size_range
  • std::ranges::range_value_t<R> and charT must be the same
  • R must not be convertible to const charT*
  • d.operator ::std::basic_string_view<charT, traits>() must not be a valid expression, where d is an lvalue of type remove_cvref_t<R>
  • if the qualified-id R::traits_type is valid and denotes a type, is_same_v<remove_reference_t<R>::traits_type, traits> must be true

The last two constraints aim exactly to avoid this use case. Thanks to them, the new string_view constructor won’t be selected, when a type has the conversion a conversion function.

On the other hand, if a type otherwise satisfying the constraints has a conversion operator to a different basic_string_view, notably basic_string_view<charT, some-other-traits-type>, while not itself defining using type_traits = some-other-traits-type, a program that was previously ill-formed will call the new range overload.

Default Arguments for pair’s Forwarding Constructor

P1951R1 proposes to adopt a similar strategy that has been used for other types (such as std::optional or std::exchange) to accomodate braced initializers.

This strategy is rather simple, the forwarding constructor of pair should use T1 and T2 as default arguments of U1 and U2, so that braced initializers may be used as constructor arguments.

Here is the changed constructor signature. Only the defaulting is new in it.

template<class U1=T1, class U2=T2> 
  constexpr explicit(see below) pair(U1&& x, U2&& y);

The motivation behind this change is that due to the lack of this defaulting when a simple pair of braces are used to create one of the values (std::pair<std::string, std::vector<std::string>> p("hello", {}); ), an inefficient constructor would be chosen and extra copies would be made.

With this simple proposed change, pair’s forwarding constructor would be chosen which in this case would use move instead of copy operations. In fact, with this change, lots of existing code’s behaviour will change, but for the better. In many cases, where there were copies, there will be moves. That’s welcome.


In this post, we learned about some constructor-related changes introduced by C++23. We saw that now std::stack and std::queue can be initialized from iterator pairs; std::string_views can be created from ranges and we can construct std::pair via a forwarding constructor more often than before.

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