[c++] std::byte

In C++, std::byte is a new built-in type introduced in the C++17 standard. It is an enumeration that represents byte values and is particularly useful in low-level programming and when dealing with binary data. Unlike other built-in types, std::byte is especially designed to express byte values in a way that removes ambiguity about their intended use.

Key features of std::byte

  1. Type safety: std::byte promotes type safety by allowing the clear distinction between data that should be treated as raw bytes and other data types.

  2. Integral type operations: std::byte supports the fundamental operations common to integral types, such as bitwise operations (&, |, ^, ~) and shift operations (<< and >>).

  3. Standard library support: std::byte is a part of the standard library and has support for standard algorithms, allowing it to be efficiently used with standard library containers and algorithms.

Example usage

#include <iostream>
#include <cstddef>

int main() {
    std::byte b{0x12};
    std::byte mask{0xF0};

    // Perform a bitwise AND operation
    auto result = std::byte_to_integer<unsigned int>(b & mask);

    std::cout << "Result: " << static_cast<int>(result) << std::endl;
    return 0;

In this example, std::byte is used to perform a bitwise AND operation on two byte values. The result is then converted back to an integer for display.


std::byte is a valuable addition to C++ that simplifies and clarifies the manipulation of byte-level data, and its usage can greatly enhance the safety and clarity of code dealing with low-level data manipulation.