Let us learn about wild pointer in C programming and understand how it is implemented by an example, explanation and much more.
What Is A Wild Pointer?
A pointer which is not assigned to any memory location is known as a wild pointer. In other words, it does not point to any specific memory location.
If a pointer in uninitialized then it may get automatically assigned to a non-null garbage value which can be seen in the output below.
A wild pointer generates garbage memory value which is assigned to it and also a pendent reference value.
It is important to understand that there is a difference between wild pointer and null pointer. A null pointer points to the based address whereas a wild pointer does not point to any address.
When a pointer pointing to a memory address gets deleted or de-allocated, the memory is transformed into a garbage value. It indicates that a memory location exists but a pointer is deleted.
Possible Scenarios of Wild Pointers
There are different scenarios where a normal pointer can get transformed into a wild pointer which is enlisted below:
- Accessing deleted data variables
- Declaring a pointer but not initializing it
- Modifying the pointers
Why Are Wild Pointers Good?
Everything has its own pros and cons. Similarly, wild pointers are also good as it helps us with the following things:
- The wild pointers are used to hold transient objects. The transient objects are the ones with less lifetime.
- The wild pointers serve as iterators and point to either a memory location before or after a set of objects.
Illustration of Wild Pointer in C Programming
How To Avoid Wild Pointer?
As you already know now that if a pointer is not initialized, it will be regarded as a wild pointer. To prevent a pointer from being a wild pointer, it is important to initialize a pointer as soon as it is declared.
You can initialize it to any particular value, either point it to a dummy variable of the same data type or you can also assign it a NULL value.
int x = 5;
ptr = &x;
If you have any doubts about wild pointer in C programming, let us know about it in the comment section.
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