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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What is Generics in C#?

1. Generics allow you to define type-safe data structures, without committing to actual data types.
2. Result higher quality of code by reuse data processing algorithm without duplicating type-specific code.
3. Generics allow you to define type-safe classes without compromising type safety, performance, or productivity.

.Net 1.1 way of implementing Stack data structure providing Push() and Pop() methods.
For general purpose of Stack, it used to store instances of various type. Old way using Object-based stack, which is amorphous object. This is because Object is canonical .NET base type, it able to hold any type of items.

1. Performance in boxing and unboxing value types when pushing and popping process.
2. Type safety. Compiler allow anything cast from Object type. Hence, programmer losing compile-time type safety. Cast wrongly will raise an invalid cast exception at run time.

Hence, to solve this, old way is to create type-specific Stack data structure. For Interger, using InsStack, for String, use StringStack.

Writing type-specific data structures is a tedious, repetitive, and error-prone task.
In addition, there is no way to foresee the use of unknown or yet-undefined future types, so you have to keep an Object-based data structure as well.

Sample Code Download :

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