Chapter 13. Memory Management and Pointers

WHAT'S IN THIS CHAPTER?

  • Allocating space on the stack and heap with runtime

  • Garbage collection

  • Releasing unmanaged resources using destructors and the System.IDisposable interface

  • The syntax for using pointers in C#

  • Using pointers to implement high-performance stack-based arrays

This chapter presents various aspects of memory management and memory access. Although the runtime takes much of the responsibility for memory management away from the programmer, it is useful to understand how memory management works and important to know how to work with unmanaged resources efficiently.

A good understanding of memory management and knowledge of the pointer capabilities provided by C# will better enable you to integrate C# code with legacy code and perform efficient memory manipulation in performance-critical systems.

MEMORY MANAGEMENT UNDER THE HOOD

One of the advantages of C# programming is that the programmer does not need to worry about detailed memory management; the garbage collector deals with the problem of memory cleanup on your behalf. The result is that you get something that approximates the efficiency of languages such as C++ without the complexity of having to handle memory management yourself as you do in C++. However, although you do not have to manage memory manually, it still pays to understand what is going on behind the scenes. Understanding how your program manages memory under the covers will only help you increase the speed and performance ...

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