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Most computer programs that solve real-world problems are much larger than the programs in the first few chapters. Experience has shown that the best way to develop and maintain a large program is to construct it from smaller pieces or program units each, of which is more manageable than the original program. Generally, user-defined program units are called subprograms. This technique is called divide-and-conquer. This chapter deals with the method of declaration of the user-defined function and its use in C++. Besides, this chapter also covers pointer data type which is one of the strength of the C++ language.

Function and parameter declarations

In C++ all subprograms are referred to as functions . A function allows you to treat a related group of C++ statements as a single unit. The programmer can write functions to define specific tasks that could be used at many points in a program.

Functions allow the programmer to modulize a program. All variables declared in function definitions are local variables – they are known only in the function in which they are defined. Most functions have a list of parameters that provide the means for communicating information between functions.

There are several motivations for dividing a program into functions. The divide-and-conquer approach makes program development more manageable. Another motivation is software reusability – using existing functions as building blocks to create new programs. Software reusability is a major factor in object-oriented programming. With good function naming and definition, programs can be created from standardized functions that accomplish specific tasks. A third motivation is to avoid repeating code in a program. Packing code as a function allows the code to be executed from several location in a program simply by calling the function.

Defining a function

The lines that compose a function within a C++ program are called a function definition. The syntax for defining a function is

data_type name_of_function (parameters){



A function definition consists of four parts:

- A reserved word indicating the return data type of the function’s return value.

- The function name

- Any parameters required by the function, contained within parentheses.

- The function’s statements enclosed in curly braces { }.

Example: The following function determines the largest integer among three parameters passed to it.

int maximum( int x, int y, int z )


int max = x;

if ( y>max )

max = y;

if ( z>max )

max = z;

return max;


You designate a data type for function since it is common to return a value from a function after it executes.

General format of a function is described below.

General format of a function

Variable names that will be used in the function header line are called formal parameters.

How to call functions

To execute a function, you must invoke, or call, it from the main () function.

The values or variables that you place within the parentheses of a function call statement are called arguments or actual parameters.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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Source:  OpenStax, Programming fundamentals in c++. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10788/1.1
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