Why are C++ inline functions in the header?

The Solution to Why are C++ inline functions in the header? is

The definition of an inline function doesn't have to be in a header file but, because of the one definition rule (ODR) for inline functions, an identical definition for the function must exist in every translation unit that uses it.

The easiest way to achieve this is by putting the definition in a header file.

If you want to put the definition of a function in a single source file then you shouldn't declare it inline. A function not declared inline does not mean that the compiler cannot inline the function.

Whether you should declare a function inline or not is usually a choice that you should make based on which version of the one definition rules it makes most sense for you to follow; adding inline and then being restricted by the subsequent constraints makes little sense.

~ Answered on 2011-02-20 12:35:14

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