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Chapter ‎18   Unsafe code

10.9.2 Binary operators

A binary operator must take two parameters, at least one of which must have the class or struct type in which the operator is declared. The shift operators (§‎7.8) are further constrained: The type of the first parameter must be the class or struct type in which the operator is declared, and the second parameter must always have the type int. A binary operator can return any type.

The signature of a binary operator consists of the operator token (+, -, *, /, %, &, |, ^, <<, >>, ==, !=, >, <, >=, or <=) and the types of the two formal parameters. The return type and the names of the formal parameters are not part of a binary operator’s signature.

Certain binary operators require pair-wise declaration. For every declaration of either operator of a pair, there must be a matching declaration of the other operator of the pair. Two operator declarations match when they have the same return type and the same type for each parameter. The following operators require pair-wise declaration:

operator == and operator !=

operator > and operator <

operator >= and operator <=

10.9.3 Conversion operators

A conversion operator declaration introduces a user-defined conversion‎6.4) which augments the pre-defined implicit and explicit conversions.

A conversion operator declaration that includes the implicit keyword introduces a user-defined implicit conversion. Implicit conversions can occur in a variety of situations, including function member invocations, cast expressions, and assignments. This is described further in §‎6.1.

A conversion operator declaration that includes the explicit keyword introduces a user-defined explicit conversion. Explicit conversions can occur in cast expressions, and are described further in §‎6.2.

A conversion operator converts from a source type, indicated by the parameter type of the conversion operator, to a target type, indicated by the return type of the conversion operator. A class or struct is permitted to declare a conversion from a source type S to a target type T provided all of the following are true:

S and T are different types.

Either S or T is the class or struct type in which the operator declaration takes place.

Neither S nor T is object or an interface-type.

T is not a base class of S, and S is not a base class of T.

From the second rule it follows that a conversion operator must convert either to or from the class or struct type in which the operator is declared. For example, it is possible for a class or struct type C to define a conversion from C to int and from int to C, but not from int to bool.

It is not possible to redefine a pre-defined conversion. Thus, conversion operators are not allowed to convert from or to object because implicit and explicit conversions already exist between object and all other types. Likewise, neither the source nor the target types of a conversion can be a base type of the other, since a conversion would then already exist.

User-defined conversions are not allowed to convert from or to interface-types. In particular, this restriction ensures that no user-defined transformations occur when converting to an interface-type, and that a conversion to an interface-type succeeds only if the object being converted actually implements the specified interface-type.

The signature of a conversion operator consists of the source type and the target type. (Note that this is the only form of member for which the return type participates in the signature.) The implicit or explicit classification of a

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