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IDictionary Interface

Represents a nongeneric collection of key/value pairs.

Namespace:  System.Collections
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
[ComVisibleAttribute(true)]
public interface IDictionary : ICollection, 
	IEnumerable

The IDictionary interface is the base interface for nongeneric collections of key/value pairs. For the generic version of this interface, see System.Collections.Generic.IDictionary<TKey, TValue>.

Each element is a key/value pair stored in a DictionaryEntry object.

Each pair must have a unique key. Implementations can vary in whether they allow the key to be null. The value can be null and does not have to be unique. The IDictionary interface allows the contained keys and values to be enumerated, but it does not imply any particular sort order.

IDictionary implementations fall into three categories: read-only, fixed-size, variable-size. A read-only IDictionary object cannot be modified. A fixed-size IDictionary object does not allow the addition or removal of elements, but does allow the modification of existing elements. A variable-size IDictionary object allows the addition, removal, and modification of elements.

[Visual Basic, C#]

The foreach statement of the C# language (for each in Visual Basic) requires the type of each element in the collection. Since each element of the IDictionary object is a key/value pair, the element type is not the type of the key or the type of the value. Instead, the element type is DictionaryEntry. For example:

foreach (DictionaryEntry de in myHashtable) {...}

[Visual Basic, C#]

The foreach statement is a wrapper around the enumerator, which allows only reading from but not writing to the collection.

Notes to Implementers:

The implementing class must have a means to compare keys.

The following code example demonstrates how to define a simple dictionary class that implements the IDictionary interface.

using System;
using System.Collections;

// This class implements a simple dictionary using an array of DictionaryEntry objects (key/value pairs). 
public class SimpleDictionary : IDictionary
{
    // The array of items 
    private DictionaryEntry[] items;
    private Int32 ItemsInUse = 0;

    // Construct the SimpleDictionary with the desired number of items. 
    // The number of items cannot change for the life time of this SimpleDictionary. 
    public SimpleDictionary(Int32 numItems)
    {
        items = new DictionaryEntry[numItems];
    }


    #region IDictionary Members
    public bool IsReadOnly { get { return false; } }
    public bool Contains(object key)
    {
       Int32 index;
       return TryGetIndexOfKey(key, out index);
    }
    public bool IsFixedSize { get { return false; } }
    public void Remove(object key)
    {
        if (key == null) throw new ArgumentNullException("key");
        // Try to find the key in the DictionaryEntry array
        Int32 index;
        if (TryGetIndexOfKey(key, out index))
        {
            // If the key is found, slide all the items up.
            Array.Copy(items, index + 1, items, index, ItemsInUse - index - 1);
            ItemsInUse--;
        } 
        else
        {
            // If the key is not in the dictionary, just return. 
        }
    }
    public void Clear() { ItemsInUse = 0; }
    public void Add(object key, object value) 
    {
        // Add the new key/value pair even if this key already exists in the dictionary. 
        if (ItemsInUse == items.Length)
            throw new InvalidOperationException("The dictionary cannot hold any more items.");
        items[ItemsInUse++] = new DictionaryEntry(key, value);
    }
    public ICollection Keys
    {
        get
        {
            // Return an array where each item is a key.
            Object[] keys = new Object[ItemsInUse];
            for (Int32 n = 0; n < ItemsInUse; n++)
                keys[n] = items[n].Key;
            return keys;
        }
    }
    public ICollection Values
    {
        get
        {
            // Return an array where each item is a value.
            Object[] values = new Object[ItemsInUse];
            for (Int32 n = 0; n < ItemsInUse; n++)
                values[n] = items[n].Value;
            return values;
        }
    }
    public object this[object key]
    {
        get
        {   
            // If this key is in the dictionary, return its value.
            Int32 index;
            if (TryGetIndexOfKey(key, out index))
            {
                // The key was found; return its value. 
                return items[index].Value;
            } 
            else
            {
                // The key was not found; return null. 
                return null;
            }
        }

        set
        {
            // If this key is in the dictionary, change its value. 
            Int32 index;
            if (TryGetIndexOfKey(key, out index))
            {
                // The key was found; change its value.
                items[index].Value = value;
            } 
            else
            {
                // This key is not in the dictionary; add this key/value pair.
                Add(key, value);
            }
        }
    }
    private Boolean TryGetIndexOfKey(Object key, out Int32 index)
    {
        for (index = 0; index < ItemsInUse; index++)
        {
            // If the key is found, return true (the index is also returned). 
            if (items[index].Key.Equals(key)) return true;
        }

        // Key not found, return false (index should be ignored by the caller). 
        return false;
    }
    private class SimpleDictionaryEnumerator : IDictionaryEnumerator
    {
        // A copy of the SimpleDictionary object's key/value pairs.
        DictionaryEntry[] items;
        Int32 index = -1;

        public SimpleDictionaryEnumerator(SimpleDictionary sd)
        {
            // Make a copy of the dictionary entries currently in the SimpleDictionary object.
            items = new DictionaryEntry[sd.Count];
            Array.Copy(sd.items, 0, items, 0, sd.Count);
        }

        // Return the current item. 
        public Object Current { get { ValidateIndex(); return items[index]; } }

        // Return the current dictionary entry. 
        public DictionaryEntry Entry
        {
            get { return (DictionaryEntry) Current; }
        }

        // Return the key of the current item. 
        public Object Key { get { ValidateIndex();  return items[index].Key; } }

        // Return the value of the current item. 
        public Object Value { get { ValidateIndex();  return items[index].Value; } }

        // Advance to the next item. 
        public Boolean MoveNext()
        {
            if (index < items.Length - 1) { index++; return true; }
            return false;
        }

        // Validate the enumeration index and throw an exception if the index is out of range. 
        private void ValidateIndex()
        {
            if (index < 0 || index >= items.Length)
            throw new InvalidOperationException("Enumerator is before or after the collection.");
        }

        // Reset the index to restart the enumeration. 
        public void Reset()
        {
            index = -1;
        }
    }
    public IDictionaryEnumerator GetEnumerator()
    {
        // Construct and return an enumerator. 
        return new SimpleDictionaryEnumerator(this);
    }
    #endregion

    #region ICollection Members
    public bool IsSynchronized { get { return false; } }
    public object SyncRoot { get { throw new NotImplementedException(); } }
    public int Count { get { return ItemsInUse; } }
    public void CopyTo(Array array, int index) { throw new NotImplementedException(); }
    #endregion

    #region IEnumerable Members
    IEnumerator IEnumerable.GetEnumerator() 
    {
        // Construct and return an enumerator. 
        return ((IDictionary)this).GetEnumerator();
    }
    #endregion
}

public sealed class App
{
    static void Main()
    {
        // Create a dictionary that contains no more than three entries.
        IDictionary d = new SimpleDictionary(3);

        // Add three people and their ages to the dictionary.
        d.Add("Jeff", 40);
        d.Add("Kristin", 34);
        d.Add("Aidan", 1);

        Console.WriteLine("Number of elements in dictionary = {0}", d.Count);

        Console.WriteLine("Does dictionary contain 'Jeff'? {0}", d.Contains("Jeff"));
        Console.WriteLine("Jeff's age is {0}", d["Jeff"]);

        // Display every entry's key and value. 
        foreach (DictionaryEntry de in d)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("{0} is {1} years old.", de.Key, de.Value);
        }

        // Remove an entry that exists.
        d.Remove("Jeff");

        // Remove an entry that does not exist, but do not throw an exception.
        d.Remove("Max");

        // Show the names (keys) of the people in the dictionary. 
        foreach (String s in d.Keys)
            Console.WriteLine(s);

        // Show the ages (values) of the people in the dictionary. 
        foreach (Int32 age in d.Values)
            Console.WriteLine(age);
    }
}

// This code produces the following output. 
// 
// Number of elements in dictionary = 3 
// Does dictionary contain 'Jeff'? True 
// Jeff's age is 40 
// Jeff is 40 years old. 
// Kristin is 34 years old. 
// Aidan is 1 years old. 
// Kristin 
// Aidan 
// 34 
// 1

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0
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