For a moment, we can pretend that C/C++ have no arrays at all. Arrays are like syntactic sugar, nothing else.
Many C textbooks can tell you that a[i] is in fact a syntactic sugar for *(a+i).
But even more: array declarations can be seen as syntactic sugar as well.
int a; int b;
... you can think of:
int *a=<address of a chunk in global memory or local stack of size 128*sizeof(int)>; int *b=<address of a chunk in global memory or local stack of size 128*sizeof(int)>;
unsigned char some_random_chunk_in_memory; int *a=(int*)&some_random_chunk_in_memory; int *b=(int*)&(some_random_chunk_in_memory + sizeof(int)*128);
Then you can read/write to both a or b in several ways: a[idx] or *a or *(a+idx), no matter how a was declared/defined: as int a[size] or int *a.
We can write big programs without arrays at all.
This is why Hex-Rays and Ghidra decompilers are so often shows you pointers instead of arrays. There is no reliable way to discern pointer from array in machine code compiled by C/C++ compiler. It's just impossible,
Was it an array access or pointer dereference? Go figure.
This is why both Hex-Rays and Ghidra are interactive tools with GUI. A user should help in setting right data types for variables, giving hints.
Read more: there are couple of other pointers explanations in my Reverse Engineering for Beginners book. Also, see my C-notes.
UPD: As seen on lobste.rs.
List of my other blog posts.
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