C# - Indexers

Advertisements


An indexer allows an object to be indexed like an array. When you define an indexer for a class, this class behaves like a virtual array. You can then access the instance of this class using the array access operator ([ ]).

Syntax

A one dimensional indexer has the following syntax:

element-type this[int index] 
{
   // The get accessor.
   get 
   {
      // return the value specified by index 
   }

   // The set accessor.
   set 
   {
      // set the value specified by index 
   }
}

Use of Indexers

Declaration of behavior of an indexer is to some extent similar to a property. Like properties, you use get and set accessors for defining an indexer. However, properties return or set a specific data member, whereas indexers returns or sets a particular value from the object instance. In other words, it breaks the instance data into smaller parts and indexes each part, gets or sets each part.

Defining a property involves providing a property name. Indexers are not defined with names, but with the this keyword, which refers to the object instance. The following example demonstrates the concept:

using System;
namespace IndexerApplication
{
   class IndexedNames
   {
      private string[] namelist = new string[size];
      static public int size = 10;
      public IndexedNames()
      {
         for (int i = 0; i < size; i++)
         namelist[i] = "N. A.";
      }
      public string this[int index]
      {
         get
         {
            string tmp;

            if( index >= 0 && index <= size-1 )
            {
               tmp = namelist[index];
            }
            else
            {
               tmp = "";
            }

            return ( tmp );
         }
         set
         {
            if( index >= 0 && index <= size-1 )
            {
               namelist[index] = value;
            }
         }
      }

      static void Main(string[] args)
      {
         IndexedNames names = new IndexedNames();
         names[0] = "Zara";
         names[1] = "Riz";
         names[2] = "Nuha";
         names[3] = "Asif";
         names[4] = "Davinder";
         names[5] = "Sunil";
         names[6] = "Rubic";
         for ( int i = 0; i < IndexedNames.size; i++ )
         {
            Console.WriteLine(names[i]);
         }
         Console.ReadKey();
      }
   }
}

When the above code is compiled and executed, it produces the following result:

Zara
Riz
Nuha
Asif
Davinder
Sunil
Rubic
N. A.
N. A.
N. A.

Overloaded Indexers

Indexers can be overloaded. Indexers can also be declared with multiple parameters and each parameter may be a different type. It is not necessary that the indexes have to be integers. C# allows indexes to be of other types, for example, a string.

The following example demonstrates overloaded indexers:

using System;
namespace IndexerApplication
{
   class IndexedNames
   {
      private string[] namelist = new string[size];
      static public int size = 10;
      public IndexedNames()
      {
         for (int i = 0; i < size; i++)
         {
          namelist[i] = "N. A.";
         }
      }
      public string this[int index]
      {
         get
         {
            string tmp;

            if( index >= 0 && index <= size-1 )
            {
               tmp = namelist[index];
            }
            else
            {
               tmp = "";
            }

            return ( tmp );
         }
         set
         {
            if( index >= 0 && index <= size-1 )
            {
               namelist[index] = value;
            }
         }
      }
      public int this[string name]
      {
         get
         {
            int index = 0;
            while(index < size)
            {
               if (namelist[index] == name)
               {
                return index;
               }
               index++;
            }
            return index;
         }

      }

      static void Main(string[] args)
      {
         IndexedNames names = new IndexedNames();
         names[0] = "Zara";
         names[1] = "Riz";
         names[2] = "Nuha";
         names[3] = "Asif";
         names[4] = "Davinder";
         names[5] = "Sunil";
         names[6] = "Rubic";
         //using the first indexer with int parameter
         for (int i = 0; i < IndexedNames.size; i++)
         {
            Console.WriteLine(names[i]);
         }
         //using the second indexer with the string parameter
         Console.WriteLine(names["Nuha"]);
         Console.ReadKey();
      }
   }
}

When the above code is compiled and executed, it produces the following result:

Zara
Riz
Nuha
Asif
Davinder
Sunil
Rubic
N. A.
N. A.
N. A.
2


Advertisements
Advertisements