declaring a derived class in an IF for use outside

I have the following code where I want to declare an object inside an IF statement. I understand that just declaring it inside an IF means that it's outside the scope of the rest of the program. So I think I need to use a pointer. My problem is that the classes that I want the user to choose from are derived from a base class. So I figured I probably need to create a pointer based on this base class... That sound about right?

See below for what I'm try to do, am I in the right ball park?

//create a stereo input object
StereoImage SO;,File2);

int StereoOption;

if (counter == 0) StereoOption = 1;

//think i need to create a pointer to the base class
SVAlgorithm *ptrSter;

//choose which method to use in stereo processing and set the base class pointer to derrived class
     if (StereoOption == 1) {SVOpenCVBlockMatching DoStereo; cout << "Using option 1" << endl; *ptrSter = DoStereo;}
else if (StereoOption == 2) {SVOpenCVSemiGlobalBlockMatching DoStereo; cout << "Using option 2" << endl; *ptrSter = DoStereo;}
else if (StereoOption == 3) {SVNoMD DoStereo; cout << "Using option 3" << endl; *ptrSter = DoStereo;}
else if (StereoOption == 4) {SVCross DoStereo; cout << "Using option 4" << endl; *ptrSter = DoStereo;}
else if (StereoOption == 5) {SVAdaptDP DoStereo; cout << "Using option 5" << endl; *ptrSter = DoStereo;}

//set create DoStereo from the pointer
SVAlgorithm &DoStereo = *ptrSter;

//output matrix
Mat_<short> DispOut;

//load the disparity method params, compute it and show - works
imshow("Disparity Map", DispOut*255);

The following classes are all derived from the class SVAlgorithm... SVOpenCVBlockMatching, SVOpenCVSemiGlobalBlockMatching, SVNoMD, SVCross, SVAdaptDP.


No, your code is wrong. Pointer has absolutely no effect on object lifetime. So this line SVAlgorithm &DoStereo = *ptrSter; gives you Undefined Behavior because you try to dereference the pointer to destroyed object.

Another possible problem is uninitialized ptrSter and StereoOption variables. Looks like here is possible case when ptrSter will not be assigned with proper object and its dereference will lead to UB too.

You need to use dynamic storage with new statement and store result in some pointer. It's highly recommended to use smart pointer instead of raw for this purpose, e.g. std::auto_ptr for C++03 or std::unique_ptr for C++11.


 std::unique_ptr<SVAlgorithm> ptrSter;

 if (StereoOption == 1) { ptrSter.reset(new SVOpenCVBlockMatching()); }
 else if (StereoOption == 2) { ptrSter.reset(new SVOpenCVSemiGlobalBlockMatching()); }
 else if (StereoOption == 3) { ptrSter.reset(new SVNoMD()); } 
 else if (StereoOption == 4) { ptrSter.reset(new SVCross()); } 
 else if (StereoOption == 5) { ptrSter.reset(new SVAdaptDP()); }


 SVAlgorithm &DoStereo = *ptrSter;

You are starting in the right direction with:

SVAlgorithm *ptrSter;

But now you need something like a factory to create one of your instances, so you should do something like:

SVAlgorithm *ptrSter = SVFactory(StereoOption);

where SVFactory() encapsulates your if statements like this:

SVAlgorithm* SVFactory(int StereoOption){
  if (StereoOption == 1) { return new SVOpenCVBlockMatching(); }
  else if (StereoOption == 2) { return new SVOpenCVSemiGlobalBlockMatching();}
  else if (StereoOption == 3) { return new SVNoMD();}
  else if (StereoOption == 4) { return new SVCross();}
  else if (StereoOption == 5) { return new SVAdaptDP();}

and later:

delete ptrSter;

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