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How to: Use Arrays in C++/CLI

This article describes how to use arrays in C++/CLI.

The following sample shows how to create single-dimension arrays of reference, value, and native pointer types. It also shows how to return a single-dimension array from a function and how to pass a single-dimension array as an argument to a function.

// mcppv2_sdarrays.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;

#define ARRAY_SIZE 2

value struct MyStruct {
   int m_i;
};

ref class MyClass {
public:
   int m_i;
};

struct MyNativeClass {
   int m_i;
};

// Returns a managed array of a reference type.
array<MyClass^>^ Test0() {
   int i;
   array< MyClass^ >^ local = gcnew array< MyClass^ >(ARRAY_SIZE);

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++) {
      local[i] = gcnew MyClass;
      local[i] -> m_i = i;
   }
   return local;
}


// Returns a managed array of Int32.
array<Int32>^ Test1() {
   int i;
   array< Int32 >^ local = gcnew array< Int32 >(ARRAY_SIZE);

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      local[i] = i + 10;
   return local;
}


// Modifies an array.
void Test2(array< MyNativeClass * >^ local) {
   for (int i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      local[i] -> m_i = local[i] -> m_i + 2;
}

int main() {
   int i;

   // Declares an array of user-defined reference types
   // and uses a function to initialize.
   array< MyClass^ >^ MyClass0;
   MyClass0 = Test0();

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      Console::WriteLine("MyClass0[{0}] = {1}", i, MyClass0[i] -> m_i);
   Console::WriteLine();


   // Declares an array of value types and uses a function to initialize.
   array< Int32 >^ IntArray;
   IntArray = Test1();

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      Console::WriteLine("IntArray[{0}] = {1}", i, IntArray[i]);
   Console::WriteLine();


   // Declares and initializes an array of user-defined 
   // reference types.
   array< MyClass^ >^ MyClass1 = gcnew array< MyClass^ >(ARRAY_SIZE);
   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++) {
      MyClass1[i] = gcnew MyClass;
      MyClass1[i] -> m_i = i + 20;
   }

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      Console::WriteLine("MyClass1[{0}] = {1}", i, MyClass1[i] -> m_i);
   Console::WriteLine();


   // Declares and initializes an array of pointers to a native type.
   array< MyNativeClass * >^ MyClass2 = gcnew array< 
      MyNativeClass * >(ARRAY_SIZE);
   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++) {
      MyClass2[i] = new MyNativeClass();
      MyClass2[i] -> m_i = i + 30;
   }

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      Console::WriteLine("MyClass2[{0}] = {1}", i, MyClass2[i]->m_i);
   Console::WriteLine();

   Test2(MyClass2);
   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      Console::WriteLine("MyClass2[{0}] = {1}", i, MyClass2[i]->m_i);
   Console::WriteLine();

   delete[] MyClass2[0];
   delete[] MyClass2[1];

   // Declares and initializes an array of user-defined value types.
   array< MyStruct >^ MyStruct1 = gcnew array< MyStruct >(ARRAY_SIZE);
   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++) {
      MyStruct1[i] = MyStruct();
      MyStruct1[i].m_i = i + 40;
   }

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      Console::WriteLine("MyStruct1[{0}] = {1}", i, MyStruct1[i].m_i);
}

Output

MyClass0[0] = 0
MyClass0[1] = 1

IntArray[0] = 10
IntArray[1] = 11

MyClass1[0] = 20
MyClass1[1] = 21

MyClass2[0] = 30
MyClass2[1] = 31

MyClass2[0] = 32
MyClass2[1] = 33

MyStruct1[0] = 40
MyStruct1[1] = 41

The next sample shows how to perform aggregate initialization on single-dimension managed arrays.

// mcppv2_sdarrays_aggregate_init.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;

ref class G {
public:
   G(int i) {}
};

value class V {
public:
   V(int i) {}
};

class N {
public:
   N(int i) {}
};

int main() {
   // Aggregate initialize a single-dimension managed array.
   array<String^>^ gc1 = gcnew array<String^>{"one", "two", "three"};
   array<String^>^ gc2 = {"one", "two", "three"};

   array<G^>^ gc3 = gcnew array<G^>{gcnew G(0), gcnew G(1), gcnew G(2)};
   array<G^>^ gc4 = {gcnew G(0), gcnew G(1), gcnew G(2)};   

   array<Int32>^ value1 = gcnew array<Int32>{0, 1, 2};
   array<Int32>^ value2 = {0, 1, 2};

   array<V>^ value3 = gcnew array<V>{V(0), V(1), V(2)};
   array<V>^ value4 = {V(0), V(1), V(2)};

   array<N*>^ native1 = gcnew array<N*>{new N(0), new N(1), new N(2)};
   array<N*>^ native2 = {new N(0), new N(1), new N(2)};
}

Output

MyClass0[0, 0] = 0
MyClass0[0, 1] = 0
MyClass0[1, 0] = 1
MyClass0[1, 1] = 1

IntArray[0, 0] = 10
IntArray[0, 1] = 10
IntArray[1, 0] = 11
IntArray[1, 1] = 11

This example shows how to perform aggregate initialization on a multi-dimension managed array:

// mcppv2_mdarrays_aggregate_initialization.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;

ref class G {
public:
   G(int i) {}
};

value class V {
public:
   V(int i) {}
};

class N {
public:
   N(int i) {}
};

int main() {
   // Aggregate initialize a multidimension managed array.
   array<String^, 2>^ gc1 = gcnew array<String^, 2>{ {"one", "two"}, 
       {"three", "four"} };
   array<String^, 2>^ gc2 = { {"one", "two"}, {"three", "four"} };

   array<G^, 2>^ gc3 = gcnew array<G^, 2>{ {gcnew G(0), gcnew G(1)}, 
       {gcnew G(2), gcnew G(3)} };
   array<G^, 2>^ gc4 = { {gcnew G(0), gcnew G(1)}, {gcnew G(2), gcnew G(3)} };

   array<Int32, 2>^ value1 = gcnew array<Int32, 2>{ {0, 1}, {2, 3} };
   array<Int32, 2>^ value2 = { {0, 1}, {2, 3} };

   array<V, 2>^ value3 = gcnew array<V, 2>{ {V(0), V(1)}, {V(2), V(3)} };
   array<V, 2>^ value4 = { {V(0), V(1)}, {V(2), V(3)} };

   array<N*, 2>^ native1 = gcnew array<N*, 2>{ {new N(0), new N(1)}, 
      {new N(2), new N(3)} };
   array<N*, 2>^ native2 = { {new N(0), new N(1)}, {new N(2), new N(3)} };
}

This section shows how to create single-dimension arrays of managed arrays of reference, value, and native pointer types. It also shows how to return a single-dimension array of managed arrays from a function and how to pass a single-dimension array as an argument to a function.

// mcppv2_array_of_arrays.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;

#define ARRAY_SIZE 2

value struct MyStruct {
   int m_i;
};

ref class MyClass {
public:
   int m_i;
};

// Returns an array of managed arrays of a reference type.
array<array<MyClass^>^>^ Test0() {
   int size_of_array = 4;
   array<array<MyClass^>^>^ local = gcnew 
      array<array<MyClass^>^>(ARRAY_SIZE);

   for (int i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++, size_of_array += 4) {
      local[i] = gcnew array<MyClass^>(size_of_array);
      for (int k = 0; k < size_of_array ; k++) {
         local[i][k] = gcnew MyClass;
         local[i][k] -> m_i = i;
      }
   }

   return local;
}

// Returns a managed array of Int32.
array<array<Int32>^>^ Test1() {
   int i;
   array<array<Int32>^>^ local = gcnew array<array< Int32 >^>(ARRAY_SIZE);

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++) {
      local[i] = gcnew array< Int32 >(ARRAY_SIZE);
         for ( int j = 0 ; j < ARRAY_SIZE ; j++ ) 
            local[i][j] = i + 10;
   }
   return local;
}

int main() {
   int i, j;

   // Declares an array of user-defined reference types
   // and uses a function to initialize.
   array< array< MyClass^ >^ >^ MyClass0;
   MyClass0 = Test0();

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      for ( j = 0 ; j < ARRAY_SIZE ; j++ ) 
         Console::WriteLine("MyClass0[{0}] = {1}", i, MyClass0[i][j] -> m_i);
   Console::WriteLine();


   // Declares an array of value types and uses a function to initialize.
   array< array< Int32 >^ >^ IntArray;
   IntArray = Test1();

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      for (j = 0 ; j < ARRAY_SIZE ; j++)
      Console::WriteLine("IntArray[{0}] = {1}", i, IntArray[i][j]);
   Console::WriteLine();

   // Declares and initializes an array of user-defined value types.
   array< MyStruct >^ MyStruct1 = gcnew array< MyStruct >(ARRAY_SIZE);
   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++) {
      MyStruct1[i] = MyStruct();
      MyStruct1[i].m_i = i + 40;
   }

   for (i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++)
      Console::WriteLine(MyStruct1[i].m_i);
}

Output

MyClass0[0] = 0
MyClass0[0] = 0
MyClass0[1] = 1
MyClass0[1] = 1

IntArray[0] = 10
IntArray[0] = 10
IntArray[1] = 11
IntArray[1] = 11

40
41

The following sample shows how to perform aggregate initialization with jagged arrays.

// mcppv2_array_of_arrays_aggregate_init.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;
#define ARRAY_SIZE 2
int size_of_array = 4;
int count = 0;

ref class MyClass {
public:
   int m_i;
};

struct MyNativeClass {
   int m_i;
};

int main() {
   // Declares an array of user-defined reference types
   // and performs an aggregate initialization.
   array< array< MyClass^ >^ >^ MyClass0 = gcnew array<array<MyClass^>^> {
      gcnew array<MyClass^>{ gcnew MyClass(), gcnew MyClass() },
      gcnew array<MyClass^>{ gcnew MyClass(), gcnew MyClass() }
   };

   for ( int i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++, size_of_array += 4 )
      for ( int k = 0 ; k < ARRAY_SIZE ; k++ )
         MyClass0[i][k] -> m_i = i;

   for ( int i = 0 ; i < ARRAY_SIZE ; i++ )
      for ( int j = 0 ; j < ARRAY_SIZE ; j++ ) 
         Console::WriteLine("MyClass0[{0}] = {1}", i, MyClass0[i][j] -> m_i);
   Console::WriteLine();

   // Declares an array of value types and performs an aggregate initialization.
   array< array< Int32 >^ >^ IntArray = gcnew array<array< Int32 >^> {
      gcnew array<Int32>{1,2},
      gcnew array<Int32>{3,4,5}
   };

   for each ( array<int>^ outer in IntArray ) {
      Console::Write("["); 

      for each( int i in outer )
         Console::Write(" {0}", i);

      Console::Write(" ]");
      Console::WriteLine();
   }
   Console::WriteLine();

   // Declares and initializes an array of pointers to a native type.
   array<array< MyNativeClass * >^ > ^ MyClass2 = 
      gcnew array<array< MyNativeClass * > ^> {
         gcnew array<MyNativeClass *>{ new MyNativeClass(), new MyNativeClass() },
         gcnew array<MyNativeClass *>{ new MyNativeClass(), new MyNativeClass(), new MyNativeClass() }
      };

   for each ( array<MyNativeClass *> ^ outer in MyClass2 )
      for each( MyNativeClass* i in outer )
         i->m_i = count++;

   for each ( array<MyNativeClass *> ^ outer in MyClass2 ) {
      Console::Write("[");
      for each( MyNativeClass* i in outer )
         Console::Write(" {0}", i->m_i);
      Console::Write(" ]");
      Console::WriteLine();
   }
   Console::WriteLine();


   // Declares and initializes an array of two-dimensional arrays of strings.
   array<array<String ^,2> ^> ^gc3 = gcnew array<array<String ^,2> ^>{ 
      gcnew array<String ^>{ {"a","b"}, {"c", "d"}, {"e","f"} },
      gcnew array<String ^>{ {"g", "h"} } 
   };

   for each ( array<String^, 2> ^ outer in gc3 ){
      Console::Write("[");
      for each( String ^ i in outer )
         Console::Write(" {0}", i);
      Console::Write(" ]");
      Console::WriteLine();
   }
}

Output

MyClass0[0] = 0
MyClass0[0] = 0
MyClass0[1] = 1
MyClass0[1] = 1

[ 1 2 ]
[ 3 4 5 ]

[ 0 1 ]
[ 2 3 4 ]

[ a b c d e f ]
[ g h ]

This example shows how to use a managed array as a parameter to a template:

// mcppv2_template_type_params.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;
template <class T> 
class TA {
public:
   array<array<T>^>^ f() {
      array<array<T>^>^ larr = gcnew array<array<T>^>(10);
      return larr;
   }
};

int main() {
   int retval = 0;
   TA<array<array<Int32>^>^>* ta1 = new TA<array<array<Int32>^>^>();
   array<array<array<array<Int32>^>^>^>^ larr = ta1->f();
   retval += larr->Length - 10;
   Console::WriteLine("Return Code: {0}", retval);
}

Output

Return Code: 0

This example shows how to make a typedef for a managed array:

// mcppv2_typedef_arrays.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;
ref class G {};

typedef array<array<G^>^> jagged_array;

int main() {
   jagged_array ^ MyArr = gcnew jagged_array (10);
}

Unlike standard C++ arrays, managed arrays are implicitly derived from an array base class from which they inherit common behavior. An example is the Sort method, which can be used to order the items in any array.

For arrays that contain basic intrinsic types, you can call the Sort method. You can override the sort criteria, and doing so is required when you want to sort for arrays of complex types. In this case, the array element type must implement the IComparable::CompareTo method.

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

int main() {
   array<int>^ a = { 5, 4, 1, 3, 2 };
   Array::Sort( a );
   for (int i=0; i < a->Length; i++)
      Console::Write("{0} ", a[i] );
}

To sort arrays that contain basic intrinsic types, just call the Array::Sort method. However, to sort arrays that contain complex types or to override the default sort criteria, override the IComparable::CompareTo method.

In the following example, a structure named Element is derived from IComparable, and written to provide a CompareTo method that uses the average of two integers as the sort criterion.

using namespace System;

value struct Element : public IComparable {
   int v1, v2;

   virtual int CompareTo(Object^ obj) {
      Element^ o = dynamic_cast<Element^>(obj);
      if (o) {
         int thisAverage = (v1 + v2) / 2;
         int thatAverage = (o->v1 + o->v2) / 2;
         if (thisAverage < thatAverage)
            return -1;
         else if (thisAverage > thatAverage)
            return 1;
         return 0;
         }
      else
         throw gcnew ArgumentException
      ("Object must be of type 'Element'");
   }
};

int main() {
   array<Element>^ a = gcnew array<Element>(10);
   Random^ r = gcnew Random;

   for (int i=0; i < a->Length; i++) {
      a[i].v1 = r->Next() % 100;
      a[i].v2 = r->Next() % 100;
   }

   Array::Sort( a );
   for (int i=0; i < a->Length; i++) {
      int v1 = a[i].v1;
      int v2 = a[i].v2;
      int v = (v1 + v2) / 2;
      Console::WriteLine("{0}  (({1}+{2})/2) ", v, v1, v2);
   }
}

Given reference class D that has direct or indirect base class B, an array of type D can be assigned to an array variable of type B.

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

int main() {
   // String derives from Object.
   array<Object^>^ oa = gcnew array<String^>(20);
}

An assignment to an array element shall be assignment-compatible with the dynamic type of the array. An assignment to an array element that has an incompatible type causes System::ArrayTypeMismatchException to be thrown.

Array covariance doesn't apply to arrays of value class type. For example, arrays of Int32 cannot be converted to Object^ arrays, not even by using boxing.

// clr_array_covariance2.cpp
// compile with: /clr
using namespace System;

ref struct Base { int i; };
ref struct Derived  : Base {};
ref struct Derived2 : Base {};
ref struct Derived3 : Derived {};
ref struct Other { short s; };

int main() {
   // Derived* d[] = new Derived*[100];
   array<Derived^> ^ d = gcnew array<Derived^>(100);

   // ok by array covariance
   array<Base ^> ^  b = d;

   // invalid
   // b[0] = new Other;

   // error (runtime exception)
   // b[1] = gcnew Derived2;

   // error (runtime exception),
   // must be "at least" a Derived.
   // b[0] = gcnew Base;

   b[1] = gcnew Derived;
   b[0] = gcnew Derived3;
}

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