Register Class Hierarchy

Within the current C++ standard it is not possible to extract a class hierarchy automatically from a certain type. Therefore the programmer has to put a certain macro inside every class in order to provide this information. Additionally this macro will be needed to retrieve the information about the most derived type of a current instance.

The macro you have to insert in the class declaration is named: RTTR_ENABLE()

Suppose we have a base struct called Base:

struct Base

Place the macro RTTR_ENABLE() somewhere in the class, it doesn't matter if its under the public, protected or private class accessor section.

Into the derived class you put the same macro, but now as argument the name of the parent class. Which is in this case Base.

struct Derived : Base

When you use multiple inheritance you simply separate every class with a comma.

struct MultipleDerived : Base, Other
RTTR_ENABLE(Base, Other)

Remark that the order in which you declare here the multiple inheritance, has an impact later when retrieving properties of a class. So it is best practice to use the same order like in your class. RTTR supports to register even virtual base classes.

The only limitation you have is: It is not possible to register a class twice in the same class hierarchy.

When no class hierarchies are used at all, it is not necessary to use the macro. However it is best practice to place it inside every class. This macro will also enable the possible usage of an own cast operator called: rttr_cast. How this will be done, is discussed in the next chapter.


  • to retrieve meta information of derived and base classes or using rttr_cast, it is necessary to place the macro: RTTR_ENABLE() inside every class declaration
  • the macro is not needed when working with classes which will be not inherited, e.g. POD classes