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Learning C# 2005, 2nd Edition by Brian MacDonald, Jesse Liberty

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Chapter 10. Arrays

Most of the examples in previous chapters have dealt with one object at a time. In many applications, however, you want to work with a collection of objects all at the same time. The simplest collection in C# is the array, the only collection type for which C# provides built-in support. The other collection types, such as stack and queue, are not part of the language; they are part of the Framework Class Library. The collection classes are covered in detail in Chapter 14. In this chapter, you will learn to work with three types of arrays : one-dimensional arrays, multidimensional rectangular arrays, and jagged arrays.

Using Arrays

Before we get to generic syntax, it makes sense to begin with the simplest collection: the array. An array is an indexed collection of objects, all of the same type (all ints, all strings, and so on). C# provides native syntax for the declaration of arrays. To picture a one-dimensional array, imagine a series of mailboxes, all lined up one after the other, as shown in Figure 10-1. Each mailbox can hold exactly one object (letter, box, and so on). Each mailbox also has a number, so you can identify which item is in which box. Unlike real-world mailboxes, though, all the mailboxes must hold the same kind of object; you declare the type of object that the mailboxes will hold when you declare the array.

An array of five integers

Figure 10-1. An array of five integers ...

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