Use CRTP for Polymorphic Chaining—Marco Arena

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Use CRTP for Polymorphic Chaining

by Marco Arena


This suggested video reminded me another use of CRTP I described some months ago. It was about how to support method chaining when inheritance is involved.

Consider this simple scenario:

struct Printer
   Printer(ostream& stream) : m_stream(stream) {}

   template<typename T>
   Printer& println(T&& message)
      cout << message << endl;
      return *this;

   ostream& m_stream;

struct CoutPrinter : public Printer
   CoutPrinter() : Printer(cout) {}

   CoutPrinter& color(Color c) 
      // change console color
      return *this;


CoutPrinter printer;
printer.color(red).println("Hello").color( // OOPS

println("Hello") returns a Printer& and not a CoutPrinter&, so color is no longer available.

In this post I wrote a very simple approach based on CRTP to maintain the chaining relationship when inheritance is involved. I also propose a complicated-at-first-sight way to avoid duplication employing a bit of metaprogramming.

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