[Edit Note: as I made this is kind of mutated, so if there's more than two questions, or if it stays from what I told you I wanted in the beginning, please don't be frustrated because I'm still unsure about the matters talked about.]
I have been learning C++ for a while now, but I have a long history of programming with other languages that make sure of garbage collection (e.g. C#, python).
The topic of the post is pointers and references. I understand, at least most, of how they both work, but for the sake of making sure that my understanding is correct here is a simple example.
To condense all of above:
int main(int argc, char **argv)
// This is just a random variable I will be pointing to.
int importantNumber = 25;
// This is the pointer (int) variable that is pointing to "importantNumber"
int *pImportantNumber = &importantNumber;
// I know if I output this line of code below, that it will give me the actual number 25, which is stored in the (int) variable importantNumber
cout << *pImportantNumber << endl;
// I know the following two outputs will give me the memory address of where importantNumber is storing the value 25
cout << pImportantNumber << endl;
cout << &pImportantNumber << endl;
There are two variable: importantNumber, which holds the value 25, and pImportantNumber which is a pointer, pointing to the variable importantNumber (25).
Later on in my learning, when classes were being made, and then later on being used as objects, forks my two main questions:
When you're creating an object of a class that you create, when is the best time to create a regular object variable, and when it is best to create a "regular" object variable?
Here is an example of both (The method sayHello just outputs 'hello' [imagination?]):
// This is the "regular" declaration of my fake class "TestClass".
// This is creating a pointer object variable of "TestClass".
TestClass *ptest = new TestClass();
The pointer variable "ptest" doesn't point to anything but newly allocated memory. Should I do this at all, or only use pointers to point to a reference?
My Second main question deals more with using pointers and references when creating methods for classes. In the same point and time in my learning the previous question arouse, I saw a lot of methods being made with constant reference parameters:
void saySomething(const char &word);
Why would I make a parameter constant, and why is it a reference?
When is the best time to make a parameter a pointer? (Example below)
// pointer parameter method
// p.s. Would I use "const" with this like the previous code?
void saySomething(char *word);
If you are reading still, I just wanted to extend my gratitude for your help. Any kind of informative response will be helpful. If you are able to add examples I would be extremely grateful!