Utilizing Templates to Define Friend Functions in C++

The access granted to the free function would require a declaration of the same in the class. However, considering the context in which it is being used, it may be preferable to have a member function of the class that can access all of its instances. It is important to note that the term “free function” in C++ does not refer to whether the function is a friend or not, and the rules apply to all function template specializations.


A function template’s explicit specialization, similar to any other function, should only be defined once.

Specify the specialization either by declaring it in a header and defining it in a


file, or by defining it in the header itself as



It is important to declare the specialization prior to any usage of the function template that may lead to an implicit instantiation of the template for


. Failure to do so will result in the primary template being utilized to generate an implicit instantiation, if the specialization is not declared where it is required.

It’s important to note that regardless of whether the function is a friend or not, the same guidelines are applicable to all specializations of function templates.

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