Virtual Methods

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Virtual methods employ a more complicated, and more flexible, dispatch mechanism than static methods. A virtual method can be redefined in descendent classes, but still be called in the ancestor class. The address of a virtual method isn't determined at compile time; instead, the object where the method is defined looks up the address at run time.

To make a method virtual, add the directive virtual after the method declaration. The virtual directive creates an entry in the object's virtual method table, or VMT, which holds the addresses of all the virtual methods in an object type.

When you derive a new class from an existing one, the new class gets its own VMT, which includes all the entries from the ancestor's VMT plus any additional virtual methods declared in the new class.

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