This is an unofficial snapshot of the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG21 Core Issues List revision 112e. See for the official list.


406. Static data member in class with name for linkage purposes

Section:  []     Status: CD1     Submitter: Jorgen Bundgaard     Date: 12 Mar 2003

[Voted into WP at March 2004 meeting.]

The following test program is claimed to be a negative C++ test case for "Unnamed classes shall not contain static data members", c.f. ISO/IEC 14882 section [] paragraph 5.

  struct B {
         typedef struct {
                 static int i;          // Is this legal C++ ?
         } A;

  int B::A::i = 47;      // Is this legal C++ ?

We are not quite sure about what an "unnamed class" is. There is no exact definition in ISO/IEC 14882; the closest we can come to a hint is the wording of section 9.2.4 [dcl.typedef] paragraph 5, where it seems to be understood that a class-specifier with no identifier between "class" and "{" is unnamed. The identifier provided after "}" ( "A" in the test case above) is there for "linkage purposes" only.

To us, class B::A in the test program above seems "named" enough, and there is certainly a mechanism to provide the definition for B::A::i (in contrast to the note in section [] paragraph 5) .

Our position is therefore that the above test program is indeed legal C++. Can you confirm or reject this claim?

Herb Sutter replied to the submitter as follows: Here are my notes based on a grep for "unnamed class" in the standard:

So yes, an unnamed class is one where there is no identifier (class name) between the class-key and the {. This is also in harmony with the production for class-name in Clause 11 [class] paragraph 1:

Notes from the October 2003 meeting:

We agree that the example is not valid; this is an unnamed class. We will add wording to define an unnamed class. The note in [] paragraph 5 should be corrected or deleted.

Proposed Resolution (October 2003):

At the end of Clause 11 [class], paragraph 1, add the following:

A class-specifier where the class-head omits the optional identifier defines an unnamed class.

Delete the following from [] paragraph 5:

[ Note: this is because there is no mechanism to provide the definitions for such static data members. ]