This is the code I came up with:

void set_bit_at_pos(int* num, int pos, bool val)
    if (val) {
        int mask = 1 << pos;
        *num |= mask;
    else {
        int mask = ~(1 << pos);
        *num &= mask;

I'm new to bitwise operations, so this approach may not be the best. Nevertheless any suggestions are appreciated.

For the following main:

int main()
    int num = 5;
    cout << num << endl;
    set_bit_at_pos(&num, 1, true);
    cout << num << endl;

(I know about using namespace std;)

This is the output:

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It would be very helpful if you demonstrated how this function was expected to be used. In most cases I would recommend using unsigned int rather than int for num. There aren't very many reasons to adjust bits in signed integers and removing a bit may make it go negative. \$\endgroup\$ – pacmaninbw Jul 19 '19 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that's the point, @pacmaninbw , I'm not sure if it works correctly. I don't know if there's an off by 1 error, maybe bits start from 0 as well, and not from 1 which is I believe the way I wrote it. I'll provide some output though. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Ceitlin Jul 19 '19 at 22:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkCeitlin Bitwise operations on signed integers are unsafe. If you want to manipulate bits on signed integers, it's better to cast to unsigned integers, manipulate, and cast back to signed integers \$\endgroup\$ – Cacahuete Frito Jul 20 '19 at 0:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should'nt ask a question if you're not sure your code works. At least you could have written some tests to verify the correctness of your method. Here's a great post about bit operations: stackoverflow.com/questions/47981/… \$\endgroup\$ – dfhwze Jul 20 '19 at 5:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have retagged the question. This is clearly c++ code not c. \$\endgroup\$ – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 20 '19 at 6:36

This is simpler:

#include <stdint.h> // #include <cstdint> in C++

void write_bit_32b(uint32_t *num, uint8_t pos, bool val)

        *num &= ~(UINT32_C(1) << pos);
        *num |= (uint32_t)val << pos;

Use fixed-width integers if you can (see above).

Use int main(void):


Function declarators The use of function declarators with empty parentheses (not prototype-format parameter type declarators) is an obsolescent feature.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The OP obviously asks about c++ code. Thus citing c standards is pretty useless here. \$\endgroup\$ – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 20 '19 at 6:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a subtle difference between int main() and int main(void) in C. In C++ though the use of (void) is equivalent to () it is considered archaic and to avoid confusion with C considered bad practice by most coding standards. There are only two valid declarations for main int main() and int main(int, char**) See: n4820 main function [basic.start.main] \$\endgroup\$ – Martin York Jul 22 '19 at 6:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinYork In C, in a function definition, () and (void) are the same (unlike in function declarators other that definitions; don't remember and can't find the paragraph). Given that in C++ they are absolutely equivalent, although the wording of the standard is unfortunate, I would interpret it as in C17:: "or equivalent" \$\endgroup\$ – Cacahuete Frito Jul 22 '19 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ BTW, the only reason for the (void) comment is that this question was originally asked as a C question, not C++ \$\endgroup\$ – Cacahuete Frito Jul 22 '19 at 11:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ In C () and (void) are subtly different in that void indicates an unknown number of parameters. I was unaware that declaration and definition have different rules for void in C. But that just reinforces my conviction that you should use the version without void for both consistency and readability. Also since the rules are obscure using the one with the least exceptions would be best from a maintenance stand point. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin York Jul 22 '19 at 16:10

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