//  Iterator of the Week  (26-Nov-2002)
         // A regular (if not actually weekly) series of Open-source discussion 
         // projects.
         //  If this gets mangled by your newsreader, a clean
         // copy get by found at:
         // http://www.noveltheory.com/Iterators/serialstring.h
00010:   //
         //    #3 - SerialString -- An STL-style container adapter (with iterator) 
         //  to retrieve the items from a list of variable length string.
         // Copyright 2002, James M. Curran   jamescurran@mvps.org
         // May be used freely.
         // Comments, suggestions, modifications, improvements welcome....
00020:   // Some Win32 APIs, such as PdhEnumObjects, return a collection of text
         // as a series of NUL terminated string (with the complete list terminated
         // by a second NUL.  For example:
         //  "hello world\0greetings earthling\0\0"
         //  These classes are designed for easily handling of such collections.
         #if !defined(SERIALSTRING_H_INCLUDED)
00030:   #include <string.h>
         #include <string>
         #include <memory>
         #include <iterator>
         // Now, before we can define the iterator, we must define the container 
         // that we will be iterator through.
         // It was pointed out to me (by Craig Powers) that instead of using MFC's
         // TCHARS, it would be better (and more Standard) to use a template.
         template<typename CHAR>
00040:   class SerialString
         // Note they only care about reading items out of this container, so
         //all we're going to need it a pointer to the first item.
         // -- revising this to allow writing such containers is left as an 
         // exercise for the student.
             const CHAR*    pBegin;
              bool        self_delete;
00050:   // I had to revise the ctor a bit here. 
         // Originally, I had a ctor which took an auto_ptr.  The problem is that 
         // auto_ptr can't be used with an array. (I'd forgotten about that).
         // But I still want to be able to use this with a dynamically allocated
         // character buffer -- and without worrying about calling delete myself.
         // So, I replace the auto_ptr ctor, with one -- declared explicit --- which
         // takes an integer, allocates a buffer that size, and later deletes it.
         // The self_delete boolean differentiates between internally and 
         // externally allocated buffers.
             SerialString( const CHAR* p) : pBegin(p), self_delete(false)  {}
00060:       explicit SerialString(int n) : pBegin(new CHAR[n] ), self_delete(true) {}
         // Since this is useless unless filled, and it, by it's current design, 
         // must be filled externally, but the buffer needing to be filled may be
         // created internally, we gonna need a way to access that internal 
         // buffer.  This is not the slickest way of dealing with the problem 
         // but it'll work for now.  Unfortunately, this is (nearly) the only
         // spot where we'd need non-const access.  ("Only" is a bit on a misnomer
         // as this function drives a truck through const-correctness)
             CHAR*    data()            { return const_cast<CHAR*>(pBegin);    }
         // On the dtor, we delete the buffer only if we allocated it.
         // VC6 insisted on a non-const buffer here, although I'm not sure
         // if that is per the Standard.
             ~SerialString() { if (self_delete)  delete[] data();  }
         // Now, before we can continue defining the container (we're pretty
         // much done with it anyway), we have to start on the iterator 
         // (this is where all the flashy parts are anyway)
00080:   // Our goal here is to make the SerialString look as if it were an
         // array of char*s, so when derefenced, an iterator should return a 
         // char* pointing to the start of a string. After incrementing, it should
         // return a char* pointing to the start of the next string.
             class iterator : public std::iterator<std::forward_iterator_tag, const CHAR*>
         // Like the container, we'll only need a simple char* for our data member.
                  const CHAR*    ptr;
00090:           iterator( const CHAR* p) : ptr(p) {}
         // First, let's look at derefenceing -- nothing fancy here. 
         // I've included a member function function version in addition to 
         // the standard oper*
                 const  CHAR* operator*() const 
                         { return ptr; }
                 const CHAR* Ptr() const 
                         {return ptr; }
00100:   // When increamenting, you want to move the internal pointer to the
         // start of the next string, which means we want to move it by the
         // number of characters in the current string. 
         // NOTE: std::char_traits<CHAR>::length is the ISO Standard C++
         // way of saying either strlen() or wcslen() depending on the type
         // of CHAR  (Thanks to Igor Tandetnik for that).
                 iterator operator++()   
                 { ptr +=std::char_traits<CHAR>::length(ptr) + 1; return *this; }
                 iterator operator++(int) 
00110:           { iterator t(ptr); ptr += std::char_traits<CHAR>::length(ptr) + 1; return t; }
         // The next tricky item is the defining Equality between two 
         //    SerialString::iterators.  Naturally, they are equal if their internal
         // pointers are equal, but as we'll see in a moments, we're defining
         // a generic "end" iterator as having a NULL internal pointer, so we'll
         // need to return True, if one iterator is an End and the other really
         // is at the end.
                 static bool Equal(const iterator& lhs,  const iterator& rhs)
00120:                       return    lhs.ptr==rhs.ptr  || 
                                         (lhs.ptr==0 && *rhs.ptr==CHAR('\0') ) || 
                                         (rhs.ptr==0 && *lhs.ptr == CHAR('\0') ); 
         // OK,  we're done defining the iterator class, 
         // now back to the container class
         // Here, we define a begin() & end() just like the standard STL
00130:   // containers.   begin() just creates an iterator at of it's internal
         // pointer, while end() creates a NULL iterator.  Why NULL and not the
         // real end of the container?  Because we don't know where it is, and 
         // finding it would be a lot of work (O(n)).  Basically, we'd have to 
         //    scan through the whole text block (with nexted loops, due to the
         // internal NULs), looking for the repeated 00s.  Then, after we found 
         // it, more than likely, the user's code would scan through the text
         // again, doing the real work.  So, I've basically just move the act of 
         // looking for the double 00s to the users loop.
00140:       iterator begin() const { return iterator(pBegin); }
             iterator end()    const { return iterator(0);   }
         // OK, almost done --- now two quickie global inline 
         // functions for == and !=
         template<typename CHAR>
         inline bool operator==(const SerialString<CHAR>::iterator& lhs,  
                                            const SerialString<CHAR>::iterator& rhs)
00150:       return  SerialString<CHAR>::iterator::Equal(lhs, rhs);
         template<typename CHAR>
         inline bool operator!=(const SerialString<CHAR>::iterator& lhs,  
                                          const SerialString<CHAR>::iterator& rhs)
             return ! SerialString<CHAR>::iterator::Equal(lhs,rhs); 
00160:   // And finally, we'll tack on a output formatter, that makes printing an 
         // iterator equivalent to printing what it points to.
         #include <ostream>
         template<typename CHAR>
         inline std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, 
                                                         SerialString<CHAR>::iterator it)
             os << it.Ptr();   
             return os;
         #endif // defined(SERIALSTRING_H_INCLUDED)

Formatting by http://sourcepost.sytes.net/