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Old April 11th, 2006, 08:08 PM
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Default .NET 2.0 article: Understanding Generic Classes

Still wondering what generics are? How to make the transition to thinking in generics? From the best-kept secret in .NET 2.0 Programming, Professional .NET 2.0 Generics, Tod Golding's excerpt Understanding Generic Classes helps you make the transition to writing your own generic types. Here's the beginning of the excerpt:

Many developers will view themselves primarily as consumers of generics. However, as you get more comfortable with generics, you're likely to find yourself introducing your own generic classes and frameworks. Before you can make that leap, though, you'll need to get comfortable with all the syntactic mutations that come along with creating your own generic classes. Fortunately, you'll notice that the syntax rules for defining generic classes follow many of the same patterns you've already grown accustomed to with non-generic types. So, although there are certainly plenty of new generic concepts you'll need to absorb, you're likely to find it quite easy to make the transition to writing your own generic types.

Read the rest of the excerpt here.

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Old May 4th, 2007, 07:30 AM
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When programming, to keep components generic (applicable to all classes developed), you have to convert objects to a less descriptive version (and Object object) and then convert it back to the type you were using before. This is a little bit of a pain because normally you store objects of the same type.

Think of this.

When you store money in the bank, you give them the money and its stored no problems. When it comes back out the teller normally says "how do you want your money?", and you have to tell her "in cash.". Well, perhaps you'll always want it in cash, she'll still have the same conversation with you over and over and over again.

In object-orientated programming, you always need to cast (i.e. specify) what you want back because the computer has just stored it as an object (undescriptive "thing").

So the process of storage is:

1) Store what you want.

The process of retrieval is

1) Get the data back
2) Convert it back to the format you want.

Does sound too bad, but if you are ALWAYS storing the same time in a collection, and you will always add and remove strings then there would hopefully be a way of specifying it - which is what generics are.

Your book should cover plenty of examples.

Generics also offer a performance improvement as you do not have to convert from one type to another.

Hope this helps,


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