C++ Virtual vs non-virtual member functions


Example

With virtual member functions:

#include <iostream>

struct X {
    virtual void f() { std::cout << "X::f()\n"; }
};

struct Y : X {
    // Specifying virtual again here is optional
    // because it can be inferred from X::f().
    virtual void f() { std::cout << "Y::f()\n"; } 
};

void call(X& a) {
    a.f();
}

int main() {
    X x;
    Y y;
    call(x); // outputs "X::f()"
    call(y); // outputs "Y::f()"
}

Without virtual member functions:

#include <iostream>

struct X {
   void f() { std::cout << "X::f()\n"; }
};

struct Y : X {
   void f() { std::cout << "Y::f()\n"; }
};

void call(X& a) {
    a.f();
}

int main() {
    X x;
    Y y;
    call(x); // outputs "X::f()"
    call(y); // outputs "X::f()"
}