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Unbound Delegates

An unbound delegate allows you to pass an instance of the type whose function you want to call when the delegate is called.

Unbound delegates are especially useful if you want to iterate through the objects in a collection (using for each, in) keywords, and call a member function on each instance.

The following is a summary of how to declare, instantiate, and call bound and unbound delegates:

Action Bound Delegates Unbound Delegates

Declare

The delegate signature must match the signature of the function you want to call through the delegate.

The first parameter of the delegate signature is the type of this for the object you want to call.

After the first parameter, the delegate signature must match the signature of the function you want to call through the delegate.

Instantiate

When you instantiate a bound delegate, you can specify an instance function or a global or static member function.

To specify an instance function, the first parameter is an instance of the type whose member function you want to call and the second parameter is the address of the function you want to call.

If you want to call a global or static member function, you only pass the name of the static member function or the name of a global function.

When instantiating an unbound delegate, you only pass the address of the function you want to call.

Call

When you call a bound delegate, you only pass the parameters required by the delegate signature.

Same as a bound delegate (but remember the first parameter must be an instance of the object containing the function you want to call).

Example

This sample demonstrates the syntax for declaring, instantiating, and calling unbound delegates.

// unbound_delegates.cpp
// compile with: /clr
ref struct A {
   A(){}
   A(int i) : m_i(i) {}
   void Print(int i) { System::Console::WriteLine(m_i + i);}

private:
   int m_i;
};

value struct V {
   void Print() { System::Console::WriteLine(m_i);}
   int m_i;
};

delegate void Delegate1(A^, int i);
delegate void Delegate2(A%, int i);

delegate void Delegate3(interior_ptr<V>);
delegate void Delegate4(V%);

delegate void Delegate5(int i);
delegate void Delegate6();

int main() {
   A^ a1 = gcnew A(1);
   A% a2 = *gcnew A(2);

   Delegate1 ^ Unbound_Delegate1 = gcnew Delegate1(&A::Print);
   // delegate takes a handle
   Unbound_Delegate1(a1, 1);
   Unbound_Delegate1(%a2, 1);

   Delegate2 ^ Unbound_Delegate2 = gcnew Delegate2(&A::Print);
   // delegate takes a tracking reference (must deference the handle)
   Unbound_Delegate2(*a1, 1);
   Unbound_Delegate2(a2, 1);

   // instantiate a bound delegate to an instance member function
   Delegate5 ^ Bound_Del = gcnew Delegate5(a1, &A::Print);
   Bound_Del(1);

   // instantiate value types
   V v1 = {7};
   V v2 = {8};

   Delegate3 ^ Unbound_Delegate3 = gcnew Delegate3(&V::Print);
   Unbound_Delegate3(&v1);
   Unbound_Delegate3(&v2);

   Delegate4 ^ Unbound_Delegate4 = gcnew Delegate4(&V::Print);
   Unbound_Delegate4(v1);
   Unbound_Delegate4(v2);

   Delegate6 ^ Bound_Delegate3 = gcnew Delegate6(v1, &V::Print);
   Bound_Delegate3();
}

Output

2
3
2
3
2
7
8
7
8
7

Example

This sample shows how you can use unbound delegates and the for each, in keywords to iterate through objects in a collection and call a member function on each instance.

// unbound_delegates_2.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;

ref class RefClass {
   String^ _Str;

public:
   RefClass( String^ str ) : _Str( str ) {}
   void Print() { Console::Write( _Str ); }
};

delegate void PrintDelegate( RefClass^ );

int main() {
   PrintDelegate^ d = gcnew PrintDelegate( &RefClass::Print );

   array< RefClass^ >^ a = gcnew array<RefClass^>( 10 );

   for ( int i = 0; i < a->Length; ++i )
      a[i] = gcnew RefClass( i.ToString() );

   for each ( RefClass^ R in a )
      d( R );

   Console::WriteLine();
}

Output

0123456789

Example

This sample creates an unbound delegate to a property's accessor functions.

// unbound_delegates_3.cpp
// compile with: /clr
ref struct B {
   property int P1 {
      int get() { return m_i; }
      void set(int i) { m_i = i; }
   }

private:
   int m_i;
};

delegate void DelBSet(B^, int);
delegate int DelBGet(B^);

int main() {
   B^ b = gcnew B;

   DelBSet^ delBSet = gcnew DelBSet(&B::P1::set);
   delBSet(b, 11);

   DelBGet^ delBGet = gcnew DelBGet(&B::P1::get);   
   System::Console::WriteLine(delBGet(b));
}

Output

11

Example

This sample shows how to invoke a multicast delegate, where one instance is bound and one instance is unbound.

// unbound_delegates_4.cpp
// compile with: /clr
ref class R {
public:
   R(int i) : m_i(i) {}

   void f(R ^ r) {
      System::Console::WriteLine("in f(R ^ r)");
   }

   void f() {
      System::Console::WriteLine("in f()");
   }

private:
   int m_i;
};

delegate void Del(R ^);

int main() {
   R ^r1 = gcnew R(11);
   R ^r2 = gcnew R(12);

   Del^ d = gcnew Del(r1, &R::f);
   d += gcnew Del(&R::f);
   d(r2);
};

Output

in f(R ^ r)
in f()

Example

This sample shows how to create and call an unbound generic delegate.

// unbound_delegates_5.cpp
// compile with: /clr
ref struct R {
   R(int i) : m_i(i) {}

   int f(R ^) { return 999; }
   int f() { return m_i + 5; }
   
   int m_i;
};

value struct V {
   int f(V%) { return 999; }
   int f() { return m_i + 5; } 

   int m_i;
};

generic <typename T>
delegate int Del(T t);

generic <typename T>
delegate int DelV(T% t);


int main() {   
   R^ hr = gcnew R(7);
   System::Console::WriteLine((gcnew Del<R^>(&R::f))(hr));

   V v;
   v.m_i = 9;
   System::Console::WriteLine((gcnew DelV<V >(&V::f))(v) );
}

Output

12
14

See Also

Reference

delegate

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