The this pointer is a pointer accessible only within the member functions of a class, struct, or union type. It points to the object for which the member function is called. Static member functions do not have a this pointer.
When a nonstatic member function is called for an object, the address of the object is passed as a hidden argument to the function. For example, the following function call
myDate.setMonth( 3 );
can be interpreted this way:
setMonth( &myDate, 3 );
The object's address is available from within the member function as the this pointer. It is legal, though unnecessary, to use the this pointer when referring to members of the class.
The code has two built-in pitfalls. First, if it executes in a member function for an extern, static, or automatic object, the program will probably crash as soon as the delete statement executes. There is no portable way for an object to tell that it was instantiated on the heap, so the class cannot assert that its object is properly instantiated. Second, when an object commits suicide this way, the using program might not know about its demise. As far as the instantiating program is concerned, the object remains in scope and continues to exist even though the object did itself in. Subsequent dereferencing of the pointer can and usually does lead to disaster.
You should never do this. Since compiler does not know whether the object was allocated on the stack or on the heap, "delete this" could cause a disaster.
Virtual functions are implemented using a table of function pointers, called the vtable. There is one entry in the table per virtual function in the class. This table is created by the constructor of the class. When a derived class is constructed, its base class is constructed first which creates the vtable. If the derived class overrides any of the base classes virtual functions, those entries in the vtable are overwritten by the derived class constructor. This is why you should never call virtual functions from a constructor: because the vtable entries for the object may not have been set up by the derived class constructor yet, so you might end up calling base class implementations of those virtual functions
The process of encoding the parameter types with the function/method name into a unique name is called name mangling. The inverse process is called demangling.
For example Foo::bar(int, long) const is mangled as `bar__C3Fooil'.
For a constructor, the method name is left out. That is Foo::Foo(int, long) const is mangled as `__C3Fooil'.
A reference must always refer to some object and, therefore, must always be initialized; pointers do not have such restrictions. A pointer can be reassigned to point to different objects while a reference always refers to an object with which it was initialized.