Do you have problems with templates in C ++ Dll?



I currently have a game engine project structured in visual studio so that my 'Engine' is compiled into a dll for another project 'Game' to consume. The idea being I can swap out different game projects and still use the same engine dll code. Within my engine code I'm creating my own framework for which all other engine code will use. This will help to separate my implementation from the rest of my code and make modification easier if need be.

Since all my framework code with be used within the dll itself and not within 'Game' I thought I could implement templates. However, I still receive the 'undefined symbol' error anytime I try and implement templates with the Engine framework.


Is there a way to get around the 'undefined symbol' errors for templates from the linker within my dll without having to explicitly define every type my template will consume (ex. class template MyClass<int>, class template MyClass<float>, etc.)? If not, are there any suggestions on different ways I could implement my engine and different game projects to still keep things flexible? Thanks for any input.

P.S. I don't want to have to explicitly define all types a templated class could use since that would get rather large if I wanted to create say my own vector template class (as I would have to define A LOT of different classes).

Template intantiations are generated at compile time, so if you don't want to individually declare all possible instantiations then you must move all template definitions to be included with the header file.

One common way of doing this is for each class to have all of the template definitions in an inline file e.g a .inl or .cxx file, and then to include that inline file at the end of the corresponding header file.

For example, for a class Foo with a single templated function:

Contents of Foo.hpp:

class Foo
    template <typename T>
    void bar();

#include "Foo.inl" // Include template definitions

Contents of Foo.inl:

template <typename T>
void Foo::bar()
    // body

That way, whenever Foo::bar<T> is used with a new T then an a new template instantiation will be generated.