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C++ SFINAE example: how to detect if a class contains ToString method
// SFINAE, enable_if example
// based on
#include <iostream>
#include <type_traits>
class ClassWithToString
std::string ToString() { return "description of ClassWithToString object"; }
class ClassNoToString
int a;
// SFINAE test
template <typename T>
class HasToString
typedef char YesType[1];
typedef char NoType[2];
template <typename C> static YesType& test( decltype(&C::ToString) ) ;
template <typename C> static NoType& test(...);
enum { value = sizeof(test<T>(0)) == sizeof(YesType) };
template<typename T>
typename std::enable_if<HasToString<T>::value, std::string>::type
CallToString(T * t) {
/* something when T has toString ... */
return t->ToString();
template<typename T>
typename std::enable_if<std::is_class<T>::value, std::string>::type
CallToString(T * t) {
return "a class without ToString() method!";
std::string CallToString(...)
return "undefined object, cannot call ToString() method here";
int main(int argc, char *argv[])
std::cout << HasToString<ClassWithToString>::value << std::endl;
std::cout << HasToString<ClassNoToString>::value << std::endl;
std::cout << HasToString<int>::value << std::endl;
ClassWithToString c1;
std::cout << CallToString(&c1) << std::endl;
ClassNoToString c2;
std::cout << CallToString(&c2) << std::endl;
int c3 = 0;
std::cout << CallToString(&c3) << std::endl;
return 0;

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jheruty commented Jul 29, 2020

Clean implementation. Note that this only works for public members, since decltype will fail on private members. This can either be a bug or a feature depending on what you're trying to do.

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