In C++ and other influenced languages there is a construct called Structure (struct), and another called the class. Both are capable of holding functions and variables. Some differences are:

  1. Class is given memory in the heap and struct is given memory in the stack (remark: this is wrong for C++, but maybe correct in what the OP called "influenced languages")
  2. Class variable are private by default and in struct they are public

My question is: was the struct somehow abandoned for Class? If so, why? Other than the differences above, a struct can do all the same things that a class does. So why abandon it?

  • by abandon I meant why one is used over the other. Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 13:14
  • your question answers this itself I think.
    – Umair A.
    Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 14:26
  • 4
    The difference between classes and structs is language-dependent. Some lessons from C++ do not really apply to C#.
    – Job
    Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 15:56
  • 7
    Uhhhh. In C++ you can allocate objects on the stack or heap. Wherever you want.
    – jojo
    Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 12:25
  • 8
    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Stack vs. heap has nothing to do with the difference.
    – Aaronaught
    Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 13:28

3 Answers 3


It is not abandoned at all. In fact, even modern languages like C# which make heavy use of class still offer you struct. As for when it's useful to choose one over the other, I refer you to this article:

Choosing Between Classes and Structures

Quoted from the MSDN article:

Consider defining a structure instead of a class if instances of the type are small and commonly short-lived or are commonly embedded in other objects.

Do not define a structure unless the type has all of the following characteristics:

  • It logically represents a single value, similar to primitive types (integer, double, and so on).
  • It has an instance size smaller than 16 bytes.
  • It is immutable.
  • It will not have to be boxed frequently.
  • 5
    This answer is really misguided as .Net/C# struct/class meaning is different than C++ one: they use the same name but have different semantic depending on the language!!! In C++ there is almost no difference between struct and class and the question is totally wrong on the first point, which is right in c# and D but not in c++. So the link to this article, which is about .Net, is really really wrong. It's not C++!
    – Klaim
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 8:31
  • @Klaim technically its not right for C# either (structs can be on the heap) The important distinction in C# is between value semantics and reference semantics, a distinction that C++ doesn't need as it can have values or references for anything
    – jk.
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 12:30

You are mistaken about C++: the only significant difference between class and struct is the default access specifier difference. Struct and class are for all intents and purposes synonyms, I believe struct is kept around for backwards compatibility to C.

  • 7
    Not only. Struct is a good choice when you just want to dump a bunch of data in one object and don't add any behaviour to it.
    – quant_dev
    Commented Jul 30, 2011 at 11:52
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    @quant: That's a terrible reason to use a struct. I really hope that comment was tongue-in-cheek.
    – Aaronaught
    Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 13:29
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    @Aaronaught Why? My view on the usage of struct is fairly standard, see this answer for example: stackoverflow.com/questions/54585/…
    – quant_dev
    Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 16:13
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    @Aaronaught How do you return multiple values then? Say, a procing model returns the clean price, dirty price, and sum of accrued payments.
    – quant_dev
    Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 17:45
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    @quant_dev - you can decide to attach some meta-meaning to a struct for your purposes (and for former C programmers one that actually does make a lot of sense), but that does not change the fact that the only difference between the struct and class keywords in C++ is the default access. Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 9:33

the language D has created a greater distinction between class and struct

a struct in d is nothing but a stack allocated data record with some functions you can call on it (there is no option for inheritance unless you use a enum + union setup i.e. implement the polymorfism yourself) that is passed by value

a class is like we are used to: virtual functions, heap allocation, (single) inheritance, passed by ref

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