So how do we implement templates with actual code? Unlike regular functions, templates are entirely created in header files.

Templates let us choose the type implementation right when you call the function. The type we choose may apply to the return type, a parameter type, or both.

Here’s how we could build a template for print_cat_ears() so that the parameter type is flexible:

template <typename T> void print_cat_ears(T item) { std::cout << " " << item << " " << item << " " << "\n"; std::cout << item << item << item << " " << item << item << item << "\n"; }

We can call the function for int, char, std::string, or double:

print_cat_ears(2); // the output: // 2 2 // 222 222

Now we can use print_cat_ears() with a parameter of any type we want, as long as the type can be used with the methods expected. For example, we couldn’t pass an std::vector into the current print_cat_ears() because << won’t work with std::vector.

Note: Using templates will slow down the program’s compile time, but speed up the execution time.



Here’s the deal: You have get_smallest() overloaded for int and double, but you may want to use the function with more types later.

Equipped with your new understanding of function templates, you can make this happen. Ready?

Replace the function declarations in numbers.hpp with a function template that allows for various number types and returns the type passed in. (For example, if you pass in two ints, the function should return an int.)

Then remove the definitions in numbers.cpp (they are now unnecessary) and run main.cpp.

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