9 Classes [class]

9.6 Bit-fields [class.bit]

A member-declarator of the form

identifieropt  attribute-specifier-seqopt : constant-expression

specifies a bit-field; its length is set off from the bit-field name by a colon. The optional attribute-specifier-seq appertains to the entity being declared. The bit-field attribute is not part of the type of the class member. The constant-expression shall be an integral constant expression with a value greater than or equal to zero. The value of the integral constant expression may be larger than the number of bits in the object representation ([basic.types]) of the bit-field's type; in such cases the extra bits are used as padding bits and do not participate in the value representation ([basic.types]) of the bit-field. Allocation of bit-fields within a class object is implementation-defined. Alignment of bit-fields is implementation-defined. Bit-fields are packed into some addressable allocation unit. [ Note: Bit-fields straddle allocation units on some machines and not on others. Bit-fields are assigned right-to-left on some machines, left-to-right on others.  — end note ]

A declaration for a bit-field that omits the identifier declares an unnamed bit-field. Unnamed bit-fields are not members and cannot be initialized. [ Note: An unnamed bit-field is useful for padding to conform to externally-imposed layouts.  — end note ] As a special case, an unnamed bit-field with a width of zero specifies alignment of the next bit-field at an allocation unit boundary. Only when declaring an unnamed bit-field may the value of the constant-expression be equal to zero.

A bit-field shall not be a static member. A bit-field shall have integral or enumeration type ([basic.fundamental]). A bool value can successfully be stored in a bit-field of any nonzero size. The address-of operator & shall not be applied to a bit-field, so there are no pointers to bit-fields. A non-const reference shall not be bound to a bit-field ([dcl.init.ref]). [ Note: If the initializer for a reference of type const T& is an lvalue that refers to a bit-field, the reference is bound to a temporary initialized to hold the value of the bit-field; the reference is not bound to the bit-field directly. See [dcl.init.ref].  — end note ]

If the value true or false is stored into a bit-field of type bool of any size (including a one bit bit-field), the original bool value and the value of the bit-field shall compare equal. If the value of an enumerator is stored into a bit-field of the same enumeration type and the number of bits in the bit-field is large enough to hold all the values of that enumeration type ([dcl.enum]), the original enumerator value and the value of the bit-field shall compare equal. [ Example:

enum BOOL { FALSE=0, TRUE=1 };
struct A {
  BOOL b:1;
A a;
void f() {
  a.b = TRUE;
  if (a.b == TRUE)              // yields true
    { /* ... */ }

 — end example ]