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List<T>.AsReadOnly Method

Returns a read-only IList<T> wrapper for the current collection.

Namespace:  System.Collections.Generic
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public ReadOnlyCollection<T> AsReadOnly()

Return Value

Type: System.Collections.ObjectModel.ReadOnlyCollection<T>
A ReadOnlyCollection<T> that acts as a read-only wrapper around the current List<T>.

To prevent any modifications to List<T>, expose List<T> only through this wrapper.

A collection that is read-only is simply a collection with a wrapper that prevents modifying the collection; therefore, if changes are made to the underlying collection, the read-only collection reflects those changes.

This method is an O(1) operation.

The following code example demonstrates the AsReadOnly method. A List<T> of strings with a capacity of 4 is created, because the ultimate size of the list is known to be exactly 4. The list is populated with four strings, and the AsReadOnly method is used to get a read-only IList<T> generic interface implementation that wraps the original list.

An element of the original list is set to "Coelophysis" using the Item property (the indexer in C#), and the contents of the read-only list are displayed again to demonstrate that it is just a wrapper for the original list.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

public class Example
{
    public static void Main()
    {
        List<string> dinosaurs = new List<string>(4);

        Console.WriteLine("\nCapacity: {0}", dinosaurs.Capacity);

        dinosaurs.Add("Tyrannosaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Amargasaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Mamenchisaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Deinonychus");

        Console.WriteLine();
        foreach(string s in dinosaurs)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(s);
        }

        Console.WriteLine("\nIList<string> roDinosaurs = dinosaurs.AsReadOnly()");
        IList<string> roDinosaurs = dinosaurs.AsReadOnly();

        Console.WriteLine("\nElements in the read-only IList:");
        foreach(string dinosaur in roDinosaurs)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(dinosaur);
        }

        Console.WriteLine("\ndinosaurs[2] = \"Coelophysis\"");
        dinosaurs[2] = "Coelophysis";

        Console.WriteLine("\nElements in the read-only IList:");
        foreach(string dinosaur in roDinosaurs)
        {
            Console.WriteLine(dinosaur);
        }
    }
}

/* This code example produces the following output:

Capacity: 4

Tyrannosaurus
Amargasaurus
Mamenchisaurus
Deinonychus

IList<string> roDinosaurs = dinosaurs.AsReadOnly()

Elements in the read-only IList:
Tyrannosaurus
Amargasaurus
Mamenchisaurus
Deinonychus

dinosaurs[2] = "Coelophysis"

Elements in the read-only IList:
Tyrannosaurus
Amargasaurus
Coelophysis
Deinonychus
 */

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

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

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