Documentation of memory

( foonathan/memory)

Allocator adapters and storage classes

In addition to the various allocator classes, it also provides a couple of adapters and storage classes for RawAllocator instances.

Allocator storage classes

Allocator storage classes are classes that store allocator objects. They are all aliases for the class template allocator_storage with a certain StoragePolicy.

The class simply delegates to the policy and provides the same constructors, but also the full set of RawAllocator member functions. This allows accessing an allocator stored in an allocator_storage directly without using the traits. A Mutex can also be specified that takes care of synchronization, the member function lock() returns a synchronized proxy object that acts like a pointer.

In addition to the following predefined policy classes it is possible to define your own. Everything is defined in the header file allocator_storage.hpp.

Direct allocator storage

The StoragePolicy stores an allocator object directly as member. It can be initialized by moving in another [RawAllcoator] instance. Moving it also moves the allocator.

The alias allocator_adapter is an allocator_storage with this policy and no mutex. It simply provides the full interface for the allocator without any additional semantics. A little bit more semantics provides the alias thread_safe_allocator it synchronizes access through a specified mutex.

Reference allocator storage

The StoragePolicy stores a pointer to an allocator object. Although it stores a pointer, it always references an object, i.e. it is never null.

It provides three slightly different semantics depending on whether or not the allocator is stateful:

  • For stateful allocator, it takes a reference to it. Then it will store a pointer to the given allocator. It does not take ownership, i.e. the passed allocator object must live longer than the reference to it!
  • For stateless allocators, it uses a static object in order to return a reference in get_allocator(). But this means that they don't actually depend on the lifetime of the given allocator and also can take temporaries.
  • For special allocators that already provide reference semantics (determined through traits specialization), it behaves like a direct_storage policy.

In either case, the class is nothrow copyable and never actually moves the referred allocator, just copies the pointer. A copy of a reference_storage references the same allocator as the origin.

The alias allocator_reference uses this storage policy with the default_mutex.

Type-erased reference allocator storage

The reference_storage takes the type of the allocator being stored. A specialization takes the tag type any_allocator. It provides type-erased semantics.

The constructors are templated to take any RawAllocator - with the same restrictions for statefulness as in the normal case - and stores a pointer to it using type-erasure.

The accessor functions return the base class used in the type-erasure which provides the full RawAllocator members. Note that it is not possible to get back to the actual type, i.e. call functions in the actual allocator interface.

The tag type can be used anywhere where an allocator_reference is used, i.e. allocator_deleter, std_allocator or custom containers. For convienience, the alias any_reference_storage simply refers to this specialization, as does the actual storage class any_allocator_reference.


The class std_allocator takes a RawAllocator, stores it in an allocator_reference and provides the Allocator interface. This allows using raw allocator objects with classes requiring the standardized concept like STL containers. It takes care of allocator propagation (always propagate), comparision and provides the full boilerplate.

The tag type any_allocator can be used to enable type erasure, the alias any_std_allocator is exactly that.

They are defined in the header std_allocator.hpp.


A special case of adapter is the class [tracked_allocator] defined in the header tracking.hpp. It allows to track the called functions on a RawAllocator. This is done via a Tracker.

A Tracker provides functions that gets called when the corresponding function on the allocator gets called. For example, the function allocate_node() leads to call on the tracker function on_allocate_node().

This is an example of a memory_pool that has been tracked with a Tracker that logs all (de-)allocations:

#include <iostream>
#include <memory/memory_pool.hpp> // for memory_pool
#include <memory/tracking.hpp> // for tracked_allocator
struct log_tracker
void on_node_allocation(void *mem, std::size_t size, std::size_t) noexcept
std::clog << this << " node allocated: ";
std::clog << mem << " (" << size << ") " << '\n';
void on_array_allocation(void *mem, std::size_t count, std::size_t size, std::size_t) noexcept
std::clog << this << " array allocated: ";
std::clog << mem << " (" << count << " * " << size << ") " << '\n';
void on_node_deallocation(void *ptr, std::size_t, std::size_t) noexcept
std::clog << this << " node deallocated: " << ptr << " \n";
void on_array_deallocation(void *ptr, std::size_t, std::size_t, std::size_t) noexcept
std::clog << this << " array deallocated: " << ptr << " \n";
int main()
auto tracked_pool = memory::make_tracked_allocator(log_tracker{}, memory::memory_pool<>(16, 1024));
// go on using the tracked_pool

The log_tracker above uses the address of the tracker object to identify a certain allocator in the output, this is completely legal. Note that the function make_tracked_allocator() which returns the appropriate [tracked_allocator] takes ownership over the pool, you can either pass a temporary as shown or move in an existing pool. The result tracked_pool provides the full RawAllocator interface and can be used as usual, except that all (de-)allocations are logged.

Other adapters


The allocator adapter aligned_allocator wraps a RawAllocator and ensure a certain minimum alignment on all functions.