Calling virtual functions inside constructors

Calling virtual functions from a constructor or destructor is dangerous and should be avoided whenever possible. All C++ implementations should call the version of the function defined at the level of the hierarchy in the current constructor and no further.

The C++ FAQ Lite covers this in section 23.7 in pretty good detail. I suggest reading that (and the rest of the FAQ) for a followup.


[…] In a constructor, the virtual call mechanism is disabled because overriding from derived classes hasn’t yet happened. Objects are constructed from the base up, “base before derived”.


Destruction is done “derived class before base class”, so virtual functions behave as in constructors: Only the local definitions are used – and no calls are made to overriding functions to avoid touching the (now destroyed) derived class part of the object.

EDIT Corrected Most to All (thanks litb)

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