Use of 'const' for function parameters

const is pointless when the argument is passed by value since you will not be modifying the caller's object.


It's about self-documenting your code and your assumptions.

If your code has many people working on it and your functions are non-trivial then you should mark const any and everything that you can. When writing industrial-strength code, you should always assume that your coworkers are psychopaths trying to get you any way they can (especially since it's often yourself in the future).

Besides, as somebody mentioned earlier, it might help the compiler optimize things a bit (though it's a long shot).

The reason is that const for the parameter only applies locally within the function, since it is working on a copy of the data. This means the function signature is really the same anyways. It's probably bad style to do this a lot though.

I personally tend to not use const except for reference and pointer parameters. For copied objects it doesn't really matter, although it can be safer as it signals intent within the function. It's really a judgement call. I do tend to use const_iterator though when looping on something and I don't intend on modifying it, so I guess to each his own, as long as const correctness for reference types is rigorously maintained.

Sometimes (too often!) I have to untangle someone else's C++ code. And we all know that someone else's C++ code is a complete mess almost by definition :) So the first thing I do to decipher local data flow is put const in every variable definition until compiler starts barking. This means const-qualifying value arguments as well, because they are just fancy local variables initialized by caller.

Ah, I wish variables were const by default and mutable was required for non-const variables :)