|n.||1.||(Zool.) One who, or that which, points.|
|Noun||1.||pointer - a mark to indicate a direction or relation|
|2.||pointer - an indicator as on a dial|
|3.||pointer - (computer science) indicator consisting of a movable spot of light (an icon) on a visual display; moving the cursor allows the user to point to commands or screen positions|
|4.||pointer - a strong slender smooth-haired dog of Spanish origin having a white coat with brown or black patches; scents out and points game|
Synonyms: Spanish pointer
|1.||(programming)||pointer - An address, from the point of view of a
programming language. A pointer may be typed, with its type
indicating the type of data to which it points.|
The terms "pointer" and "reference" are generally interchangable although particular programming languages often differentiate these two in subtle ways. For example, Perl always calls them references, never pointers. Conversely, in C, "pointer" is used, although "a reference" is often used to denote the concept that a pointer implements.
Anthony Hoare once said:
Pointers are like jumps, leading wildly from one part of the data structure to another. Their introduction into high-level languages has been a step backward from which we may never recover.
[C.A.R.Hoare "Hints on Programming Language Design", 1973, Prentice-Hall collection of essays and papers by Tony Hoare].
|2.||(operating system)||pointer - (Or "mouse pointer") An icon, usually a small arrow, that moves on the screen in response to movement of a pointing device, typically a mouse. The pointer shows the user which object on the screen will be selected etc. when a mouse button is clicked.|