### 6.1 Minimum and Maximum Operators in C++

It is very convenient to have operators which return the “minimum” or the
“maximum” of two arguments. In GNU C++ (but not in GNU C),

`a`` <? `

`b`- is the minimum, returning the smaller of the numeric values
`a` and `b`;

`a`` >? `

`b`- is the maximum, returning the larger of the numeric values
`a`
and `b`.

These operations are not primitive in ordinary C++, since you can
use a macro to return the minimum of two things in C++, as in the
following example.

#define MIN(X,Y) ((X) < (Y) ? : (X) : (Y))

You might then use int min = MIN (i, j); to set `min` to
the minimum value of variables `i` and `j`.

However, side effects in `X`

or `Y`

may cause unintended
behavior. For example, `MIN (i++, j++)`

will fail, incrementing
the smaller counter twice. The GNU C `typeof`

extension allows you
to write safe macros that avoid this kind of problem (see Typeof).
However, writing `MIN`

and `MAX`

as macros also forces you to
use function-call notation for a fundamental arithmetic operation.
Using GNU C++ extensions, you can write int min = i <? j;
instead.

Since `<?`

and `>?`

are built into the compiler, they properly
handle expressions with side-effects; int min = i++ <? j++;
works correctly.