In C++, templates are a powerful feature that allows you to write generic code, enabling you to create functions and classes that can work with different data types. Templates enable code reusability and make C++ programs more flexible and efficient. A function template is a blueprint for creating functions that can work with different data types. In C++, a function template is a powerful feature that allows you to define a generic function that can work with different types. Templates provide a way to write code that can be reused with various data types without duplicating the entire function for each specific type. This concept is known as “generic programming.”

Defination of Function Template

In C++, function templates are a powerful feature that allows you to define functions with generic types. They allow you to write a single function that can operate on different data types without having to write separate implementations for each type. Function templates are a form of code abstraction, and they are extensively used in the Standard Template Library (STL) to provide generic algorithms and containers.

The syntax for creating a function template is as follows:

template <typename T>
ReturnType functionName(T parameter1, T parameter2, ...) {
    // Function implementation using the generic type T
    // ...
    // ...
    return result;

Here’s a breakdown of the components:

  1. template <typename T>: This line introduces the template declaration. The keyword template indicates that we are defining a template, and <typename T> specifies the generic type parameter T.
  2. ReturnType: This is the return type of the function.
  3. functionName: This is the name of the function you are defining.
  4. (T parameter1, T parameter2, …): These are function parameters of type T. Since T is the generic type, it can represent any type, such as int, double, char, custom classes, etc.

Let’s see an example of a function template that swaps two values:

#include <iostream>

template <typename T>
void swapValues(T& a, T& b) {
    T temp = a;
    a = b;
    b = temp;

int main() {
    int x = 5, y = 10;
    std::cout << "Before swap: x = " << x << ", y = " << y << std::endl;
    swapValues(x, y);
    std::cout << "After swap: x = " << x << ", y = " << y << std::endl;

    double a = 3.14, b = 1.618;
    std::cout << "Before swap: a = " << a << ", b = " << b << std::endl;
    swapValues(a, b);
    std::cout << "After swap: a = " << a << ", b = " << b << std::endl;

    return 0;

In this example, the swapValues function template can be used with int and double types, demonstrating the generic behavior of templates.

Keep in mind that templates are only a blueprint for generating functions. They are not actual functions themselves. The compiler will generate the appropriate functions when they are used with specific types during the compilation process.

Overloading Template Function

In C++, function overloading allows you to define multiple functions with the same name but different parameter lists. Template functions, on the other hand, are functions that can operate on different data types without having to write separate functions for each type. When you combine these concepts, you get the ability to overload template functions, which allows you to define different template versions of a function that can handle different types or combinations of types.

Here’s the general syntax for overloading a template function in C++:

// Function template declaration (header)
template <typename T>
void myFunction(T arg);

// Function template definition
template <typename T>
void myFunction(T arg) {
    // Implementation for the first version of myFunction

// Function template overload
template <typename T, typename U>
void myFunction(T arg1, U arg2) {
    // Implementation for the second version of myFunction

// More overloads can be added as needed

In this example, we have defined a function template myFunction with one template parameter T. This function template is overloaded with another version that takes two template parameters T and U. The implementations for these two versions can be different, depending on the types T and U.

When you call the myFunction function, the compiler will determine which version to use based on the number and types of arguments you pass. For example:

int main() {
    myFunction(42);               // Calls the first version with T=int
    myFunction("Hello, World!");  // Calls the first version with T=const char*
    myFunction(3.14, 'A');        // Calls the second version with T=double, U=char
    // ...
    return 0;

Remember that when you define the function template overloads, their parameter lists should be different to enable the compiler to resolve the correct function to call based on the argument types.

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