Argument dependent lookup (ADL)

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When calling a function without an explicit namespace qualifier, the compiler can choose to call a function within a namespace if one of the parameter types to that function is also in that namespace. This is called “Argument Dependent Lookup”, or ADL:

namespace Test
  int call(int i);

  class SomeClass {...};

  int call_too(const SomeClass &data);

call(5); //Fails. Not a qualified function name.

Test::SomeClass data;

call_too(data); //Succeeds

call fails because none of its parameter types come from the Test namespace. call_too works because SomeClass is a member of Test and therefore it qualifies for ADL rules.

When does ADL not occur

ADL does not occur if normal unqualified lookup finds a class member, a function that has been declared at block scope, or something that is not of function type. For example:

void foo();
namespace N {
    struct X {};
    void foo(X ) { std::cout << '1'; }
    void qux(X ) { std::cout << '2'; }

struct C {
    void foo() {}
    void bar() {
        foo(N::X{}); // error: ADL is disabled and C::foo() takes no arguments

void bar() {
    extern void foo(); // redeclares ::foo
    foo(N::X{});       // error: ADL is disabled and ::foo() doesn't take any arguments

int qux;

void baz() {
    qux(N::X{}); // error: variable declaration disables ADL for "qux"

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