Comprehensive Guide to C++: Unleashing the Power of Any


Acquainting ourselves with C++ programming can yield a plethora of benefits. Emphasizing the importance of any and other crucial elements in C++, this piece aims to broaden your understanding and mastery of this long-standing yet incredibly relevant technology.

Chapter 1: C++ – A Broad Overview

A fascinating blend of low-level and high-level language elements, C++ holds a remarkable place within the programming community. With capabilities fitting a myriad of software systems, the language has been standing the test of time for decades. The advent of containers like std::any makes C++ even more flexible and efficient.

Chapter 2:Unleashing the Potential of std::any

Added in C++17, std::any is a type-safe container for single values of any type. This multipurpose container allows you to store, retrieve, and manipulate data in a type-agnostic way.

  • Use of std::any

std::any simplifies scenarios where we don’t have comprehensive knowledge about the data types. Its role in putting people at ease while dealing with dynamic data types is fundamental.

  • Creating std::any Variables

Creating a std::any variable is a breeze. Simply define it and assign it any value.

#include <any>
std::any myValue = 42;

Remember: std::any can take any data type, whether it’s a fundamental type, a std::string, a pointer, or a custom object type.

Chapter 3: Delving Deeper into std::any

The depth of std::any is revealed through operations performed on it.

  • Inspection

To ensure safe access to std::any data, we use the std::any::type function.

if (myValue.type() == typeid(int)) {
int temp = std::any_cast<int>(myValue);
  • Modifying std::any

Modifying the content of a std::any variable is as simple as it can get. You can replace the current content of std::any by using the assignment operator.

std::any myValue = 42;
myValue = "Hello, World!";

If you desire to ensure that the value of std::any is of a certain type before replacing its content, use std::any_cast<>.

myValue = std::any_cast<std::string>(myValue) + ", Welcome to C++!";

Chapter 4: The std::any Exception Handling Mechanism

It’s important to note that std::any_cast<> can throw an exception (std::bad_any_cast) if it fails. Proper exception handling can protect against potential system crashes.

try {
  std::string s = std::any_cast<std::string>(myValue);
} catch (const std::bad_any_cast& e) {
  std::cerr << e.what() << '\n';

Always performing type checks before accessing std::any values using std::any_cast is a good practice that can prevent std::bad_any_cast from triggering.

Chapter 5: Realizing The Capabilities of std::any

The seemly boundless capabilities of std::any encompass multiple areas of C++.

  1. Polymorphic Behavior : With std::any, polymorphic behavior is conceivable even without any inheritance.
  2. Flexibility : std::any in C++ maps provide keys mapped to std::any elements, making data access and modification flexible.
  3. Decoupling interdependencies : It creates an interface that is agnostic to the underlying types of data, simplifying data interaction code.


This comprehensive article has navigated you through numerous aspects of the marvelous std::any in C++. Without a doubt, any is a remarkable component in C++, empowering developers to write more adaptable and flexible code. As you delve deeper, you will discover its immense power and learn to wield it as one of your greatest tools in C++ programming.

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