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Programming Visual Basic 2005 by Jesse Liberty

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Chapter 17. Using Collections and Generics

The .NET Framework provides a rich suite of collection classes. With the advent of Generics in 2.0, most of these collection classes are now type safe, making for a greatly enhanced programming experience. The collection classes include the List, Dictionary, Sorted Dictionary, Queue, and Stack.

The simplest collection is the Array, the only collection type for which Visual Basic 2005 provides built-in support. In this chapter, you will learn to work with single, multidimensional, and jagged arrays . Arrays have built-in indexers, allowing you to request the nth member of the array.

The .NET Framework provides a number of interfaces, such as IEnumerable and ICollection, whose implementation provides you with standard ways to interact with collections. In this chapter, you will see how to work with the most essential of these. The chapter concludes with a tour of commonly used .NET collections, including List, Dictionary, Queue, and Stack.

Tip

In previous versions of Visual Basic.NET, the collection objects were not type safe (you could, for example, mix strings and integers in a Dictionary). The non-type-safe version of List (ArrayList), Dictionary, Queue, and Stack are still available for backward compatibility, but will not be covered in this book because their use is very similar to the Generics-based versions, and because they are obsolete and deprecated.

Arrays

An array is an indexed collection of objects, all of the same type. Arrays are ...

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