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what is Friend class and function in C++?

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A friend class can access private and protected members of other class in which it is declared as friend. It is sometimes useful to allow a particular class to access private members of other class. For example a LinkedList class may be allowed to access private members of Node.

Friend Function Like friend class, a friend function can be given special grant to access private and protected members. A friend function can be:

a) A method of another class

b) A global function

Important points about friend functions and classes:

1) Friends should be used only for limited purpose. too many functions or external classes are declared as friends of a class with protected or private data, it lessens the value of encapsulation of separate classes in object-oriented programming.

2) Friendship is not mutual. If a class A is friend of B, then B doesn’t become friend of A automatically.

3) Friendship is not inherited (See this for more details)

4) The concept of friends is not there in Java.

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