Was thinking about extending the C switch beyond integers. Here is what it came to - will gladly accept any suggestions for improvement. Note: "Any class" in the title is not quite correct - the class should have equal operator and hash function to be used in this switch.

#include <iostream>
#include <unordered_map>
#include <string>
#include <functional>

template<typename T>
using xmap = std::unordered_map<T, std::function<void()>>;

template<typename T>
void xwitch(const T& var, const xmap<T>& m, std::function<void()> otherwise = []() {})
    auto it = m.find(var);
    if (it == m.end())

#define SWITCH(var) xwitch(var, xmap<std::remove_const<decltype(str)>::type> {
#define END_SWITCH });
#define CASE {
#define THEN , []() {
#define END_CASE } },
#define DEFAULT }, []() {

int main()
    const std::string str{ "Second string" };
    using namespace std::string_literals;
        CASE "First string"s THEN std::cout << "First string matched\n"; END_CASE
        CASE "Second string"s THEN std::cout << "Second string matched\n"; END_CASE
        CASE "Third string"s THEN std::cout << "Third string matched\n"; END_CASE
        CASE "First string"s THEN std::cout << "First string matched\n"; END_CASE
        CASE "Second string"s THEN std::cout << "Second string matched\n"; END_CASE
        CASE "Third string"s THEN std::cout << "Third string matched\n"; END_CASE
        DEFAULT std::cout << "No matches\n";
  • \$\begingroup\$ Technically this doesn't work on any class, since it requires the keys to implement operator== and std::hash<T>(...). But your question is valid regardless. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 5 at 17:13
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Why use macros? coliru.stacked-crooked.com/a/bdad77d62fe85c84 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 5 at 17:45

1 Answer 1



I don't think I'd use these macros in production, but it seems like a useful tool for thinking about a proposal for how a more general C++ switch might be implemented.

One improvement that could be made is to fall back to std::map if std::unordered_map can't be used (for totally-ordered unhashable objects).

One disadvantage we have compared to a solution at language level is that the map is constructed dynamically each time the SWITCH() is reached, rather than requiring the map to be constexpr and populating it during compilation. I don't see any easy way to rectify that. (I guess some users might consider this a feature, in that the cases can be computed at run-time, but I would prefer a visible map object for those.)

A serious weakness is that local variables aren't available to the code, because they are not captured in the lambdas. We might want to define THEN as , [&]{ to address that (I removed the unnecessary (), too).


  • Missing include <type_traits>
  • In SWITCH() the type decltype(str) ought to be decltype(var).
  • <iostream> and <string> shouldn't be needed until main() - it's worth deferring them to show what's actually needed by SWITCH().
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ He can work around the dynamic construction by storing the value in a local variable, then constructing the map as static, and then invoking it. coliru.stacked-crooked.com/a/30d3a96dda0fa53c \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 5 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, Toby, I do think it'll be best as the language-level improvement. As for compile-time map, I tried making it a template class with operator (), but it was way more complicated. \$\endgroup\$
    – johngo
    Commented Jan 9 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just checked - works fine without explicitly including type_traits. Well, at least in Visual Studio. \$\endgroup\$
    – johngo
    Commented Jan 9 at 0:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Relying on things working without including the documented headers is a big portability risk (even to future versions of the same compiler). I recommend including headers that the standard says you need, rather than playing fast and loose like that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 11 at 8:26

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