# Advanced Data Structures Algorithms & System Design(HLD+LLD) by Logicmojo

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Logicmojo - Updated Dec 11, 2023

### What is friend function

Since they cannot be accessible from anywhere outside the class, we know that private class members are used for data concealing. What happens, though, if a global function needs access to the private members of a specific class in order to solve the problem? The function cannot access the private members because it has a global scope.

Consider having two classes, such as a Square class and a Rectangle class. Both are private members and contain their length and width. The global method Area() returns the area given the length and width of a rectangle or square (length and width must be equal). You now need to determine both the square's and the rectangle's areas. However, this approach is unable to access members of private classes. The Area() function might be defined inside the two classes so they could access the private members, but this would result in repeated code.

Wouldn't it be useful if you could somehow provide this function access so that it has access to the Square and Rectangle classes' private members in this situation? The friend function in C++ is very useful in this situation.
Formally, a function can access all the private, public, and protected members of a class when it is designated as the friend function for that class. We generally focus on the behaviour of private and protected members because, by default, a class's public members are available to outsiders. We will first examine at how to declare a function as the friend function for a class before learning more about friend functions.

### Declaration of friend function

Let's examine how to declare a function in C++ as a buddy function.
In C++, a function must be preceded by the term "friend" inside the class body in order to be declared as a friend function.

```class class_name {

//Data member and member function of class

friend data_type function_name(argument/s); // syntax of friend function.

};
```

### Implementation of Friend Function

Let's take one example to understand the friend function :

```#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

class Box {
private:
double width;

public:
friend void printWidth( Box box );
void setWidth( double wid );
};
// Member function definition
void Box::setWidth( double wid ) {
width = wid;
}
// Note: printWidth() is not a member function of any class.
void printWidth( Box box ) {
cout << "Width of box : " << box.width <<endl;
}

// Main function
int main() {
Box box;

box.setWidth(10.0);

printWidth( box );

return 0;
}

Try it Yourself

```

### Why do we need the c++ friend function?

A class' friend function can access all of the class' private and protected members despite being specified outside the bounds of the class. Friends are not member functions, despite the fact that the prototypes for friend functions can be found in the class specification.

### Features of the Friend function

The following are some qualities or properties of the C++ friend function:

⮞ A function can be designated as a buddy function whether it is a global function or a member function of another class.

⮞ In C++, a friend function shouldn't be within the scope of the class it is meant to be a friend to. In other words, the function that is listed as a friend shouldn't belong to the same class.

⮞ In C++, a friend function may be declared either in the public section or the private section of a class.

⮞ Using any instance of any class, the friend function in C++ can be called (invoked) just like a regular function (object).

⮞ In C++, a buddy function cannot directly access a class's protected or private data elements. To access the data members, you must use an object (an instance of that class), followed by the dot operator (.).

⮞ C++ does not limit friend capabilities to a single class. It can be a friend to several classes, in other words.

⮞ In C++, objects (instances of a class) can be used as arguments for friend functions.

### Friend class

We can have a friend class in addition to friend functions. The friend class has access to the class's protected and private members.

```class A{
……
friend class B;
};
class B{
……..
};
```

Class B is a friend of class A, as shown above. As a result, class B has access to class A's private and protected members.
However, this does not imply that class A has access to class B's private and protected members. Keep in mind that unless we make it so, the friendship is not reciprocal.
The class's friendship is not inherited either. Because class B is a friend of class A, it follows that class B will not be a friend of class A's subclasses.

Let's take an example to demonstrate the friend class.

```#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;
class Area{

public:

{}
void calcArea(){
area = length * breadth;
}

friend class printClass;

};
class printClass{

public:
void printArea(Area a){
cout<<"Area = "<<a.area;
}
};
int main(){
Area a(10,15);
a.calcArea();
printClass p;
p.printArea(a);

return 0;
}

Try it Yourself

```

Our programme consists of two classes. With the length and breadth inputs, the "Area" class calculates the area. Keep in mind that the class Area's private members include the fields area, length, and breadth.
The area calculated by the method calcArea in the Area class is printed by the next class, "printClass," which is used. We must make printClass a friend of the Area class because the members are private.
After that is completed, the area is calculated, an object of the Area class is created, and it is passed to the printArea function of the printClass class for display.

### Some other uses for the C++ Friend function

However, wouldn't it be better if we could reuse some portion of code for all such classes? This is where the friend function comes into play. As we discussed at the beginning of the article, friend functions are required whenever we need to access the private or protected data of members of a class which is supposed to be inaccessible to members outside the class.

To better comprehend the situation, let's look at another case. Consider the two classes Delhi and Mumbai. To access these classes without any restrictions, we could need a function, say metro(). Any function would require the object of these two classes to use all the data elements or just implement the function within the class. We can avoid reimplementing the function and the requirement that it belong to these classes in order to access the data by using a friend function.

Function overloading using friend functions is also possible in C++. Check out what function overloading is.
Two or more C++ functions may share the same name, but they must have unique signatures due to the function overloading trait. This implies that the parameters (and)/or return types of various functions should differ. Overloaded Functions are those that have this problem.
Within a same class, we are able to have two friend functions with different signatures. Let's use an example to try to better grasp this.

```#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
class onedimen_coord
{
private:
int x;
int y;

public:
void replace_value(int a, int b)
{
x = a;
y = b;
}

void show()
{
cout << "x: " << x << endl;
cout << "y: " << y << endl;
}

friend void change_digits(onedimen_coord &);
friend void change_digits(onedimen_coord & , int v);
};

void change_digits(onedimen_coord & c)
{
c.x = c.x + 5;
c.y = c.y + 5;
}

void change_digits(onedimen_coord & c, int v)
{
c.x = c.x + v;
c.y = c.y + v;
}

// Main function
int main ()
{
// Create two instances of the onedimen_coord class.
onedimen_coord c1, c2;

c1.replace_value (8, 9);
c2.replace_value (8, 9);

cout << "The values of onedimen_coord before changing are: " << endl;
c1.show();
cout << endl;

change_digits(c1);
cout << "The values of onedimen_coord after changing by the first friend function are: " << endl;
c1.show();
cout << endl;

change_digits(c2 , 2);

cout << "The values of onedimen_coord after changing by the second friend function are: " << endl;
c2.show();
cout << endl;

return 0;

}

Try it Yourself

```

### Binary Operator Overloading Using Friend Function

Operator Overloading is a specific function in C++ that enables the programmer to alter the behaviour of some operators within the class. Operator overloading is the process by which we can modify an operator's function so that it does a different action on an instance of a particular class.
The operator overloading function must come before the term "friend" in order to use the friend function for operator overloading. The friend function operator overloading function requires two parameters, so keep that in mind (arguments). This function will function and be implemented in the same way as the binary operator function, with the exception that it will be called within the class as a friend function rather than within the class's scope.

```#include <iostream>
using namespace std;
class Complex
{
private:
int real;
int img;

public:
void place_values(int a, int b)
{
real = a;
img = b;
}
void show()
{
cout << "The complex number is " << real << " + " << img << "i" << endl;
}
friend Complex operator+(Complex&, Complex&);

};

Complex operator+(Complex& c1, Complex& c2)
{

Complex c3;

c3.real = c1.real + c2.real;
c3.img = c1.img + c2.img;
return c3;
}

int main ()
{
Complex c1, c2;
c1.place_values (8, 9);
c2.place_values (5, 11);

Complex c3;

c3 = c2 + c1;

c3.show();

return 0;

}

Try it Yourself

```

### Advantages of Using Friend Function

⮞ The friend can be declared anywhere in the code, just like any other function.

⮞ It can be invoked without the need of an object, just like any other function.

⮞ A function can be useful for several classes.

⮞ To gain access to a class' non-public members, use the friend function.

⮞ The friend feature facilitates the development of programmes that are more effective.

⮞ It gives the class additional, rarely used features.

⮞ It enables sharing of private class information between non-member functions.

⮞ When two or more classes contain students who are connected to other parts of the curriculum in some way, it is used.

### Disadvantages of Using Friend Function

⮞ The friendship in the friend function is neither transitive, reciprocal, or inheritable, so we must explicitly specify each time a f unction is a friend function when deriving a class from another class.

⮞ Friend functions in C++ cannot be declared static or extern in the code because they cannot contain a storage class specifier.

### Limitations in Friend Function

Friendship can not be inherited in C++. If a base class has a friend function, the derived class does not adopt the function as a friend (es).
For instance, the following programme produces an error when the buddy of base class A, show(), tries to access a derived class B's private data.

```#include <iostream>

class A {
protected:
int x;
public:
A() { x = 0;}
friend void show();

};

class B: public A {
public:
B() : y (0) {}
private:
int y;

};

void show() {
B b;
std::cout << "The default value of A::x = " << b.x;
std::cout << "The default value of B::y = " << b.y;
}

int main()
{
show();
getchar();
return 0;
}

Try it Yourself

```

### Important Conclusions About Friend Functions and Classes

⮞ Class friendship has a non-commutative characteristic. As a result, just because class A and class B are friends does not automatically imply that they are also friends, unless explicitly stated. Therefore, in this instance, only class A and not class B can access each other's private members.

⮞ Friendships are not inherited qualities. As a result, a function that has been designated as a parent class friend does not necessarily become a friend of that parent class's child class. Only when it is declared a friend in the child class as well does it become a friend of the child class.

⮞ You need to use friendship carefully. As a result, we need to avoid from declaring numerous friend functions and classes. This is due to the fact that in order to enable data hiding, we create classes and declare data members as private or protected. The data is no longer hidden if a class has numerous friend functions and classes. The goal of object-oriented programming is thereby defeated by the excessive use of friend functions.

### Friend Function Vs Member Function

Friend FunctionMember Function
Multiple Classes may declare these functions.Only in that class can member functions be declared.
Friend functions frequently have access to protected, private data members of various classes.Access to private and protected members of a class is permitted for member functions.
Any class object may be passed to the friend function.All calls to member functions must be made through class objects.
This pointer is not present in the Friend function.This pointer is used in member function.
To declare a function as a friend function, the friend keyword must be before the function declaration.No need for such a keyword.
Friend functions can be declared in a class's private, protected, or public sections without changing how the class behaves.Depending on the section in which it is defined, member functions behave differently.
Friendship functions are not inherited by derived classes.Member functions are inherited by derived classes.
It is not possible to define friend functions as static functions.Member functions are static functions by definition.

### Friend Function Vs Friend Class

Friend FunctionMember Function
It is a friend function in c++ that, when combined with the term friend, allows a non-member function to access the members' private data.It is a class that can access the private data of members of another class when the term friend is applied.
Friend functions in C++ need the usage of a forward declaration.Using forward declaration is not necessary. That is, you can declare a class as a friend inside another class without first declaring or defining it.

### FAQs

In C++, is it possible to access a class's private data members without using a member or friend function?

Encapsulation is the concept of combining data and methods (that operate on the data) and limiting access to private data members outside the class. A friend function or friend class in C++ can also access members of private data.
Can one access private members outside of a class without a friend, then? Using pointers, it is doable. Pointers do make it conceivable, however it's a flaw in C++.

```//Without employing member functions, a programme
//that initialises the private members and displays them

#include <bits/stdc++.h>
using namespace std;

class TestClassClass {
private:
int data;

public:
TestClass() { data = 0; }
int getData() { return data; }
};

int main()
{
TestClass t;
int* ptr = (int*)&t;
*ptr = 10;
cout << t.getData();
return 0;
}

Try it Yourself

```

### Conclusions

This concludes our discussion of "Friend Function in C++." I sincerely hope that you learned something from it and that it improved your knowledge. You can consult the C++ Tutorial if you want to learn more about C++.

Good luck and happy learning!

### Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In C++, the friend function is a mechanism that allows a non-member function or an external function to access the private and protected members of a class. It is a way to provide privileged access to the internal state of a class to functions that are not part of the class itself.

To declare a friend function, the function declaration should be preceded by the keyword `friend` inside the class definition, either in the public or private section. This declaration grants the specified function the ability to access private and protected members of the class.

Here's the general syntax for declaring a friend function:

```class MyClass {
// Class members...

public:
// Public members...

private:
// Private members...

friend returnType functionName(parameters);  // Friend function declaration
};
```

Once a function is declared as a friend, it can be defined either inside or outside the class. When defining a friend function, it doesn't use the scope resolution operator `::` like a member function does.

It's important to note that friend functions have access to the class's private and protected members, but they are not members of the class itself. They cannot be called using the object's member access operator `.` or `->`. Instead, they are called like regular functions.

Friend functions can be useful in situations where you need to provide external functions or classes with access to private or protected members of a class without making those members public. However, it is generally recommended to use friend functions sparingly and only when necessary, as they can break encapsulation and increase the coupling between classes.

In C++, member functions and friend functions serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics. Here are the key differences between the two:

- Member Function: A member function can directly access all the members (both private and public) of its class, as well as other member functions, without requiring any special declaration or access specifier.

- Friend Function: A friend function is a non-member function that is granted access to the private and protected members of a class. It can access these members only when explicitly declared as a friend inside the class. It does not have direct access to the members and needs to be explicitly declared as a friend to access them.

2. Invocation:

- Member Function: Member functions are invoked using an object of the class or using the pointer/reference to an object. They are called using the object's member access operator `.` or `->`.

- Friend Function: Friend functions are called like regular functions, without using the object's member access operator. They can be invoked directly using their name and arguments, as they are not bound to a specific object.

3. Scope:

- Member Function: Member functions are part of the class definition and have access to the class's internal scope. They can directly refer to other members of the class using their names.

- Friend Function: Friend functions are not part of the class definition. Although they have access to the class's private and protected members, they are defined outside the class's scope. Friend functions can refer to the members by using the object's name and the dot `.` operator or by passing an object as an argument.

4. Object-specific behavior:

- Member Function: Member functions can access the object's data members and modify them directly. Each object of the class has its own set of data members, and member functions operate on these specific members.

- Friend Function: Friend functions do not have a specific object associated with them. They can access the private and protected members of any object of the class but do not have direct access to the specific object's data members. They need to be provided with an object or objects as arguments to operate on the class members.

5. Inheritance and Polymorphism:

- Member Function: Member functions can be inherited and overridden in derived classes, allowing for polymorphic behavior. Derived classes can override base class member functions to provide specialized implementations.

- Friend Function: Friend functions are not inherited or overridden. They do not participate in inheritance hierarchies, and derived classes cannot redefine or override friend functions.

6. Encapsulation and Design:

- Member Function: Member functions encapsulate the behavior and state of a class, providing a natural way to manipulate the class's data. They are closely tied to the class and can enforce data encapsulation principles.

- Friend Function: Friend functions can break encapsulation to some extent, as they have access to the internal details of a class. They can be used to provide external functions or classes with privileged access to private members, but they can increase coupling between classes and reduce encapsulation.

In summary, member functions are part of the class definition, have direct access to class members, and are bound to specific objects. They encapsulate the behavior of the class and support polymorphism. On the other hand, friend functions are non-member functions that can access private and protected members of a class when explicitly declared as friends. They are not part of the class definition, have no direct access to members, and are not bound to specific objects. They provide a way to grant privileged access to external functions without making members public, but they can potentially violate encapsulation.

A friend function in C++ can perform various tasks, thanks to its ability to access the private and protected members of a class. Here are the main things a friend function can do:

1. Access private and protected members: The primary purpose of a friend function is to allow access to the private and protected members of a class. It can read and modify these members directly, even though they are not accessible to other functions or classes.

2. Enhance encapsulation: Friend functions can provide a controlled and restricted way to expose private or protected data to specific external functions or classes. By declaring a function as a friend, you can selectively grant access to the internal state of a class, without exposing the members publicly.

3. Simplify complex or non-member operations: In some cases, certain operations involving a class may be more naturally implemented as a non-member function. By declaring that function as a friend, you can access the necessary internal members of the class without making them public. This can help simplify the code and improve code organization.

4. Enable non-member operators: Friend functions are often used to overload operators that are not member functions of a class. For example, if you want to define a custom behavior for the addition operator (`+`) between a class object and an integer, you can declare the non-member function as a friend to access the class's private members.

5. Facilitate external utility functions: Friend functions can be employed to create utility functions that operate on objects of a class but are not members of that class. These functions can provide additional functionality or perform computations based on the class's private data.

6. Allow interoperability with external libraries: When integrating external libraries or third-party code with a class, friend functions can help bridge the gap between the external code and the class by granting access to the necessary internal members.

7. Increase code readability and maintainability: Friend functions can improve code readability by providing a logical grouping of related operations that involve the class's private members. By declaring these functions as friends, you explicitly document their privileged access, making the code easier to understand and maintain.

It's important to note that while friend functions provide increased flexibility and privileged access, they should be used judiciously. Overusing friend functions or granting access to too many functions can compromise encapsulation and increase the coupling between classes. Therefore, it's generally recommended to limit the use of friend functions to cases where they provide clear benefits and are necessary for the desired functionality.

The friend function in C++ has two main characteristics that distinguish it from member functions and other non-member functions:

1. Access to private and protected members:

The primary characteristic of a friend function is its ability to access the private and protected members of a class. By declaring a function as a friend inside a class, you are explicitly granting it privileged access to the internal state of the class. This means the friend function can read, modify, or manipulate the private and protected members, which are not accessible to other functions or classes.

The friend function achieves this access by being exempt from the usual access restrictions enforced by the compiler. It can directly reference private and protected members of the class as if they were public, without requiring the use of accessor or mutator member functions. This allows the friend function to interact with the class's private data, use its private methods, or perform operations that require access to the internal details of the class.

The ability to access private and protected members is a powerful feature of friend functions and is often used when there is a need to provide external functions or classes with controlled access to the private members of a class, without exposing them publicly.

2. Non-member function:

The second characteristic of a friend function is that it is a non-member function. Unlike member functions, which are part of the class definition and are invoked using the object's member access operator (`.` or `->`), friend functions are not bound to any specific object of the class. They are standalone functions that can be defined inside or outside the class definition.

As non-member functions, friend functions do not have a hidden `this` pointer that points to the object being operated upon. They do not belong to any particular object and are not associated with any specific instance of the class. Consequently, they cannot be called using the object's member access operator.

Friend functions are called like regular functions, using the function name and passing objects of the class as arguments. They receive the object(s) as explicit arguments and operate on them by explicitly accessing their members using the object name and the dot `.` operator. This allows the friend function to interact with multiple objects of the class or perform operations that do not rely on a specific object's state.

The non-member nature of friend functions allows for more flexibility in terms of code organization and logical grouping of related operations that involve the private members of a class.

To summarize, the two main characteristics of a friend function are its privileged access to private and protected members of a class and its non-member status, which means it is not bound to any specific object and can be called directly using its name and object arguments. These characteristics make friend functions a useful tool for providing controlled access to class internals and organizing code that requires interaction with private members from external functions.

There are several scenarios in which using a friend function in C++ can be beneficial. Here are some reasons why you might choose to use a friend function:

1. Accessing private or protected members:

The primary purpose of a friend function is to provide privileged access to the private and protected members of a class. If you have a specific function or class that needs to directly interact with the internal state of a class, without making those members public, you can declare it as a friend. This allows the friend function to access the private and protected members, which would otherwise be inaccessible to external entities.

For example, if you have a class with private data members that need to be accessed or modified by a specific function or class, declaring that function or class as a friend can provide controlled access to those members while maintaining encapsulation. This ensures that only the designated friend function or class can manipulate the private members, while other parts of the code remain unaware of their existence.

2. Simplifying complex or non-member operations:

Sometimes, certain operations involving a class may be more naturally implemented as non-member functions rather than member functions. In such cases, making the non-member function a friend can simplify the code and improve its organization. By declaring the non-member function as a friend, it gains access to the private members of the class and can perform the required operations without exposing the private details publicly.

This approach is often used for overloaded operators. When overloading an operator (e.g., `+`, `-`, `<<`, `>>`, etc.) that involves a class and an external type (e.g., an integer or another class), the non-member function representing the operator can be declared as a friend. This allows the function to access the private members of the class involved in the operation, enabling custom behavior for that specific operator.

3. Facilitating external utility functions:

Friend functions can be employed to create utility functions that operate on objects of a class but are not members of that class. These utility functions can provide additional functionality or perform computations based on the private data of the class.

For instance, consider a class that represents a mathematical matrix. You might want to implement utility functions such as matrix addition, multiplication, or determinant calculation. By declaring these utility functions as friends, they can access the private data members of the matrix class and perform the necessary computations without requiring the data members to be public or relying solely on member functions.

4. Interoperability with external libraries:

Friend functions can help facilitate the integration of external libraries or third-party code with a class. If a library or external code needs to access and manipulate the internal state of a class, you can declare the necessary functions from the library as friends to provide them with access to the class's private and protected members. This allows the external code to work seamlessly with the class, leveraging the friendship relationship to achieve the required functionality.

5. Improving performance:

In some cases, using friend functions can enhance performance by avoiding unnecessary function calls or data copies. Since friend functions have direct access to the class's internal members, they can operate directly on the private data, eliminating the need for extra function calls or copies of the data. This can result in more efficient code execution, especially when dealing with large objects or complex operations.

However, it's important to exercise caution when using friend functions. While they provide increased flexibility, they can also break encapsulation and increase coupling between classes. Overusing friend functions or granting access to too many functions can diminish the benefits of encapsulation and make the code more difficult to maintain. Therefore, it's advisable to use friend functions sparingly and only when they are necessary for specific requirements or performance optimization.

Friend functions in C++ are non-member functions that are granted access to the private and protected members of a class. They are declared as friends within the class, enabling them to interact with the internal state of the class.

Advantages of friend functions:

1. Access to private and protected members:

• The primary advantage of friend functions is their ability to access the private and protected members of a class. By declaring a function as a friend, it gains privileged access to the class's internal state, including private data members and protected members. This allows the friend function to read, modify, or manipulate these members directly, without requiring accessor or mutator member functions.

• By granting access to specific functions or classes through the friend mechanism, you can maintain encapsulation and information hiding while still allowing controlled access to the class internals.

2. Improved encapsulation:

• Friend functions can enhance encapsulation by providing a controlled and restricted way to expose private or protected data to specific external functions or classes. Instead of making the members public or providing numerous accessor functions, friend functions offer a more focused and limited access approach.

• With friend functions, you can ensure that only the designated functions or classes have access to the private or protected members they need, reducing the risk of unintended modifications or misuse by other parts of the code.

3. Simplicity and code organization:

• Friend functions can simplify the code and improve code organization. They allow related operations that involve the private members of a class to be grouped together logically, even if those operations are not part of the class itself.

• By declaring non-member functions as friends, you can keep the code modular and separate concerns appropriately. This can make the code easier to read, understand, and maintain.

4. Flexibility for non-member operations:

• Friend functions enable the implementation of non-member operations involving a class. Sometimes, certain operations are conceptually related to a class but may not be natural fits as member functions. By declaring these functions as friends, you can access the necessary internal members of the class without making them public or using member access operators.

• For example, when overloading operators that involve a class and an external type, making the operator function a friend allows it to access the class's private members and provide custom behavior for the operator.

5. Performance optimization:

• Friend functions can improve performance in certain cases by eliminating the need for function calls or data copies. Since friend functions have direct access to the class's internal members, they can operate directly on the private data, avoiding the overhead of accessing members through accessor functions.

• This advantage is particularly relevant when dealing with large objects or computationally intensive operations. Friend functions can help reduce the overhead and improve the efficiency of the code.

Overall, friend functions provide a powerful mechanism for controlled access to private and protected members, enhance encapsulation, simplify code organization, facilitate non-member operations, and optimize performance. However, it is important to use friend functions judiciously and restrict their usage to necessary scenarios, as overuse or misuse can potentially compromise encapsulation and increase code complexity.

While friend functions in C++ offer advantages in terms of controlled access and code organization, they also have certain disadvantages that should be considered. Here are some of the drawbacks of using friend functions:

1. Reduced encapsulation:

• Friend functions can break encapsulation to some extent. By granting privileged access to the private and protected members of a class, friend functions bypass the usual access restrictions enforced by the compiler. This can potentially lead to a loss of encapsulation, as the internals of a class become accessible to functions or classes that are not part of its interface.

• When used excessively or inappropriately, friend functions can undermine the principle of encapsulation, making it difficult to reason about the class's behavior and maintain the codebase. It is important to carefully consider the necessity and scope of friend functions to ensure that they do not compromise encapsulation.

2. Increased coupling:

• Friend functions introduce a tight coupling between the class and the function that is declared as a friend. Since the friend function has direct access to the private and protected members, any changes made to the class's internals can potentially affect the behavior of the friend function. This creates a dependency between the class and the friend function, which can make the code more difficult to modify, maintain, and extend.

• With increased coupling, the class becomes more reliant on the specific implementation details of the friend function. This can lead to code that is less flexible, less modular, and more prone to errors when changes are made to either the class or the friend function.

3. Limited information hiding:

• Friend functions bypass the encapsulation barriers provided by access specifiers (public, private, protected). This means that the internals of a class exposed to a friend function are no longer completely hidden from the outside world. Other parts of the codebase may depend on the details of the class that are meant to be internal, which can make it challenging to refactor or change the class's implementation without affecting the friend function and potentially other parts of the code.

• The limited information hiding can make it harder to reason about the behavior and maintain the integrity of the class, as the visibility and usage of its members are extended beyond the class itself.

4. Increased complexity and maintenance burden:

• The use of friend functions can introduce additional complexity to the codebase. With friend functions, it becomes necessary to consider the interactions and dependencies between the class and the friend function, which can complicate the design and understanding of the system as a whole.

• Furthermore, maintaining the friend function can be challenging, especially when changes are made to the class. Modifications to the class's internal structure, such as the addition or removal of members, may require corresponding adjustments to the friend function. This can increase the maintenance burden and introduce the risk of introducing bugs or inconsistencies.

5. Limited reusability and inheritance:

• Friend functions do not participate in inheritance hierarchies. In other words, a friend function declared in a base class does not automatically become a friend of derived classes. If you have a hierarchy of classes and want to provide privileged access to derived classes, you would need to declare the friend function in each derived class explicitly. This can be cumbersome and limit the reusability of friend functions in an inheritance context.

• Additionally, friend functions themselves cannot be inherited or overridden. This means that derived classes cannot redefine or provide specialized implementations for friend functions. Friend functions remain tied to the specific class they are declared as friends of, which can limit flexibility in terms of polymorphism and customization.

Considering these disadvantages, it is important to use friend functions judiciously and consider alternative design approaches that maintain stronger encapsulation, minimize coupling, and promote code maintainability. Friend functions should be used sparingly and only when there is a clear and well-justified need for controlled access to the internal members of a class.

In C++, both friend classes and friend functions provide a way to grant privileged access to the private and protected members of a class. However, there are key differences between the two. Let's explore them in detail:

Friend Class:

- When a class is declared as a friend of another class, it can access the private and protected members of that class.

- The friendship declaration is typically specified within the class definition that grants access (the friend class is declared inside the class).

- The friend class has access to all the members of the class, including both data members and member functions.

- A friend class does not inherit the members of the class it is a friend of. The friendship relationship is not transitive; it only applies to the specific class declarations involved.

- Friend classes can be useful when multiple member functions or utility functions need access to the internal state of a class, as it allows them to interact with the class without having to declare each function individually as a friend.

Friend Function:

- When a function is declared as a friend of a class, it can access the private and protected members of that class.

- The friendship declaration is typically specified within the class definition that grants access (the friend function is declared inside the class).

- A friend function is a non-member function that is granted access to the class's private and protected members.

- Friend functions are not members of the class they are friends with. They are independent functions that can be defined either inside or outside the class definition.

- Friend functions must be explicitly called with the appropriate object(s) as arguments, as they do not have access to the specific object's state through the `this` pointer.

- Friend functions can be useful when a specific function or set of functions needs to access the private members of a class without making those members public. They allow external functions or classes to interact with the class's internals in a controlled manner.

In summary, friend classes and friend functions are mechanisms to grant privileged access to the private and protected members of a class. Friend classes have access to all members of the class and are typically used when multiple functions or utility functions need access to the class's internals. Friend functions, on the other hand, are independent functions that can access the class's members but are not members themselves. They are often used to provide access to specific functions or to implement non-member operations involving the class.

No, a friend function in C++ is not the same as inheritance. They are separate concepts with distinct purposes and behaviors. Let's explore the differences in detail:

Friend Function:

- A friend function is a non-member function that is granted access to the private and protected members of a class. It is declared as a friend inside the class definition.

- The primary purpose of a friend function is to provide controlled access to the private and protected members of a class, allowing the function to interact with the class's internal state.

- Friend functions do not participate in the inheritance hierarchy. They are not inherited or overridden by derived classes.

- Friend functions can access the private and protected members of a class without using the object's member access operator. They are called directly like regular functions, passing the necessary object(s) as arguments.

- Friend functions are not tied to any specific object. They do not have a hidden `this` pointer and do not operate on a particular instance of the class. Instead, they receive the object (s) explicitly as arguments.

Inheritance:

- Inheritance is a mechanism in object-oriented programming where one class (the derived class or subclass) inherits the properties and behaviors of another class (the base class or superclass).

- Inheritance establishes an "is-a" relationship between classes, allowing derived classes to inherit the members (variables and functions) of the base class.

- Inheritance allows derived classes to extend or specialize the behavior of the base class by adding new members or overriding inherited members.

- Derived classes have access to both the public and protected members of the base class. However, they do not have access to the private members of the base class.

- Derived classes can make use of the inherited members directly using the object's member access operator (`.` or `->`).

Key Differences:

1. Relationship: Friend functions provide access to private and protected members of a specific class, whereas inheritance establishes a relationship between classes, allowing derived classes to inherit the members of the base class.

2. Member Access: Friend functions can access private and protected members without using the object's member access operator, while inheritance allows derived classes to access inherited members directly using the object's member access operator.

3. Extensibility: Inheritance allows derived classes to add new members and override inherited members, providing flexibility in extending and specializing the behavior of the base class. Friend functions, on the other hand, do not participate in the inheritance hierarchy and cannot be inherited or overridden.

In summary, a friend function grants privileged access to private and protected members of a class, while inheritance establishes a relationship between classes, allowing derived classes to inherit and extend the members of the base class. Friend functions and inheritance serve different purposes and have different effects on the structure and behavior of the classes involved.

• In C++, a class can have any number of friend functions. There is no inherent limitation on the number of friend functions that can be declared for a class. You can declare multiple functions as friends within a class definition if you need to provide privileged access to different non-member functions.

• Each friend function declaration within the class specifies a separate function that is granted access to the private and protected members of the class. This allows you to selectively grant access to specific functions that require access to the internal state of the class, without exposing those members publicly.

• You can define these friend functions either within or outside the class definition. The friend function declarations simply establish the friendship relationship, allowing the functions to access the private and protected members.

• It's worth noting that while there is no technical limit to the number of friend functions a class can have, it is generally advisable to use friend functions judiciously and limit their usage to cases where they provide clear benefits and are necessary for the desired functionality. Overusing friend functions can increase coupling between classes and potentially compromise encapsulation. Therefore, it's important to carefully consider the design and necessity of each friend function in order to maintain a clean and maintainable codebase.

• No, friend functions cannot be called using class objects directly. Friend functions are non-member functions that have been granted access to the private and protected members of a class. They are not bound to any specific object of the class and do not have access to the object's state through the `this` pointer.

• Instead of calling friend functions using class objects, you need to call them directly by using their name and passing appropriate arguments. When invoking a friend function, you explicitly provide the required object(s) as arguments to operate on.

Here's an example to illustrate the invocation of a friend function:

```class MyClass {
private:
int privateData;

public:
MyClass(int data) : privateData(data) {}

friend void FriendFunction(const MyClass& obj);
};

void FriendFunction(const MyClass& obj) {
// Friend function can access private members of MyClass
std::cout << "Private data accessed through friend function: " << obj.privateData << std::endl;
}

int main() {
MyClass obj(42);
FriendFunction(obj);  // Calling the friend function by passing the object as an argument
return 0;
}
```

• In the example above, the `FriendFunction` is declared as a friend of the `MyClass`. Inside the friend function, we are able to access the private member `privateData` of the `MyClass` object by using the object's name (`obj`) and the dot `.` operator.

• To call the friend function, we pass the object `obj` as an argument when invoking the function (`FriendFunction(obj)`). The friend function operates on the provided object, accessing its private member through the parameter.

• So, although friend functions have access to the private members of a class, they cannot be called directly using the object's member access operator (`.` or `->`). Instead, they are called like regular functions, passing the required object(s) as arguments to perform the desired operations on the private members.