Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 6

The C# Station Tutorial

by Joe Mayo, 04/23/01, updated 3/12/03 and 2/21/08

Lesson 11: Indexers


This lesson teaches C# Indexers. Our objectives are as follows:

• Understand What Indexers Are For.


• Implement an Indexer.
• Overload Indexers.
• Understand How to Implement Multi-Parameter Indexers.

Indexers are real easy. They allow your class to be used just like an
array. On the inside of a class, you manage a collection of values any
way you want. These objects could be a finite set of class members,
another array, or some complex data structure. Regardless of the
internal implementation of the class, its data can be obtained
consistently through the use of indexers. Here's an example.

Listing 11-1. An Example of An Indexer: IntIndexer.cs

using System;

/// <summary>
/// A simple indexer example.
/// </summary>
class IntIndexer
{
private string[] myData;

public IntIndexer(int size)


{
myData = new string[size];

for (int i=0; i < size; i++)


{
myData[i] = "empty";
}
}

public string this[int pos]


{
get
{
return myData[pos];
}
set
{
myData[pos] = value;
}
}

static void Main(string[] args)


{
int size = 10;

IntIndexer myInd = new IntIndexer(size);

myInd[9] = "Some Value";


myInd[3] = "Another Value";
myInd[5] = "Any Value";

Console.WriteLine("\nIndexer Output\n");

for (int i=0; i < size; i++)


{
Console.WriteLine("myInd[{0}]: {1}", i, myInd[i]);
}
}
}

Listing 11-1 shows how to implement an Indexer. The IntIndexer class


has a string array named myData. This is a private array that external
users can't see. this array is initialized in the constructor, which
accepts an int size parameter, instantiates the myData array, and then
fills each element with the word "empty".

The next class member is the Indexer, which is identified by the this
keyword and square brackets, this[int pos]. It accepts a single position
parameter, pos. As you may have already guessed, the
implementation of an Indexer is the same as a Property. It has get and
set accessors that are used exactly like those in a Property. This
indexer returns a string, as indicated by the string return value in the
Indexer declaration.

The Main() method simply instantiates a new IntIndexer object, adds


some values, and prints the results. Here's the output:

Indexer Output

myInd[0]: empty
myInd[1]: empty
myInd[2]: empty
myInd[3]: Another Value
myInd[4]: empty
myInd[5]: Any Value
myInd[6]: empty
myInd[7]: empty
myInd[8]: empty
myInd[9]: Some Value

Using an integer is a common means of accessing arrays in many


languages, but the C# Indexer goes beyond this. Indexers can be
declared with multiple parameters and each parameter may be a
different type. Additional parameters are separated by commas, the
same as a method parameter list. Valid parameter types for Indexers
include integers, enums, and strings. Additionally, Indexers can be
overloaded. In listing 11-2, we modify the previous program to accept
overloaded Indexers that accept different types.

Listing 11-2. Overloaded Indexers: OvrIndexer.cs

using System;

/// <summary>
/// Implements overloaded indexers.
/// </summary>
class OvrIndexer
{
private string[] myData;
private int arrSize;

public OvrIndexer(int size)


{
arrSize = size;
myData = new string[size];

for (int i=0; i < size; i++)


{
myData[i] = "empty";
}
}

public string this[int pos]


{
get
{
return myData[pos];
}
set
{
myData[pos] = value;
}
}

public string this[string data]


{
get
{
int count = 0;

for (int i=0; i < arrSize; i++)


{
if (myData[i] == data)
{
count++;
}
}
return count.ToString();
}
set
{
for (int i=0; i < arrSize; i++)
{
if (myData[i] == data)
{
myData[i] = value;
}
}
}
}

static void Main(string[] args)


{
int size = 10;
OvrIndexer myInd = new OvrIndexer(size);

myInd[9] = "Some Value";


myInd[3] = "Another Value";
myInd[5] = "Any Value";

myInd["empty"] = "no value";

Console.WriteLine("\nIndexer Output\n");

for (int i=0; i < size; i++)


{
Console.WriteLine("myInd[{0}]: {1}", i, myInd[i]);
}

Console.WriteLine("\nNumber of \"no value\" entries: {0}", myInd["no


value"]);
}
}

Listing 11-2 shows how to overload Indexers. The first Indexer, with
the int parameter, pos, is the same as in Listing 11-1, but there is a
new Indexer that takes a string parameter. The get accessor of the
new indexer returns a string representation of the number of items
that match the parameter value, data. The set accessor changes each
entry in the array that matches the data parameter to the value that is
assigned to the Indexer.

The behavior of the overloaded Indexer that takes a string parameter


is demonstrated in the Main() method of Listing 11-2. It invokes the
set accessor, which assigns the value of "no value" to every member
of the myInd class that has the value of "empty". It uses the following
command: myInd["empty"] = "no value";. After each entry of the
myInd class is printed, a final entry is printed to the console, indicating
the number of entries with the "no value" string. This happens by
invoking the get accessor with the following code: myInd["no value"].
Here's the output:

Indexer Output

myInd[0]: no value
myInd[1]: no value
myInd[2]: no value
myInd[3]: Another Value
myInd[4]: no value
myInd[5]: Any Value
myInd[6]: no value
myInd[7]: no value
myInd[8]: no value
myInd[9]: Some Value

Number of "no value" entries: 7

The reason both Indexers in Listing 11-2 can coexist in the same class
is because they have different signatures. An Indexer signature is
specified by the number and type of parameters in an Indexers
parameter list. The class will be smart enough to figure out which
Indexer to invoke, based on the number and type of arguments in the
Indexer call. An indexer with multiple parameters would be
implemented something like this:

public object this[int param1, ..., int paramN]


{
get
{
// process and return some class data
}
set
{
// process and assign some class data
}
}
Summary

You now know what Indexers are for and how they're used. You can
create an Indexer to access class members similar to arrays.
Overloaded and multi-parameter Indexers were also covered.