This is an unofficial snapshot of the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG21 Core Issues List revision 113b. See for the official list.


327. Use of "structure" without definition

Section: Clause 11  [class]     Status: CD1     Submitter: James Kanze     Date: 9 Dec 2001

[Voted into WP at April, 2007 meeting.]

In Clause 11 [class] paragraph 4, the first sentence says "A structure is a class definition defined with the class-key struct". As far as I know, there is no such thing as a structure in C++; it certainly isn't listed as one of the possible compound types in 6.8.4 [basic.compound]. And defining structures opens the question of whether a forward declaration is a structure or not. The parallel here with union (which follows immediately) suggests that structures and classes are really different things, since the same wording is used, and classes and unions do have some real differences, which manifest themselves outside of the definition. It also suggests that since one can't forward declare union with class and vice versa, the same should hold for struct and class -- I believe that the intent was that one could use struct and class interchangeably in forward declaration.

Suggested resolution:

I suggest something like the following:

If a class is defined with the class-key class, its members and base classes are private by default. If a class is defined with the class-key struct, its members and base classes are public by default. If a class is defined with the class-key union, its members are public by default, and it holds only one data member at a time. Such classes are called unions, and obey a number of additional restrictions, see 11.5 [class.union].

Proposed resolution (April, 2006):

This issue is resolved by the resolution of issue 538.