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Generic Delegates

Generic Delegates (Visual C++)

You can use generic type parameters with delegates. For more information on delegates, see delegate.

generic < [class | typename] type-parameter-identifiers >
[accessibility-modifiers] delegate result-type identifier  

attributes (Optional)

Additional declarative information. For more information on attributes and attribute classes, see Attributes.


Comma-separated list of identifiers for the type parameters.


Takes the form specified in Constraints

accessibility-modifiers (Optional)

Accessibility modifiers (e.g. public, private).


The return type of the delegate.


The name of the delegate.

formal-parameters (Optional)

The parameter list of the delegate.

The type-parameter-identifiers are specified at the point where a delegate object is created. Both the delegate and method associated with it must have the same signature. The following is an example of a generic delegate declaration.

// generics_generic_delegate1.cpp
// compile with: /clr /c
generic < class ItemType>
delegate ItemType GenDelegate(ItemType p1, ItemType% p2);

The following sample shows that

  • You cannot use the same delegate object with different constructed types. Create different delegate objects for different types.

  • A generic delegate can be associated with a generic method.

  • When a generic method is called without specifying type arguments, the compiler tries to infer the type arguments for the call.

// generics_generic_delegate2.cpp
// compile with: /clr
generic < class ItemType>
delegate ItemType GenDelegate(ItemType p1, ItemType% p2);

generic < class ItemType>
ref struct MyGenClass {
   ItemType MyMethod(ItemType i, ItemType % j) {
      return ItemType();

ref struct MyClass {
   generic < class ItemType>
   static ItemType MyStaticMethod(ItemType i, ItemType % j) {
      return ItemType();

int main() {
   MyGenClass<int> ^ myObj1 = gcnew MyGenClass<int>();
   MyGenClass<double> ^ myObj2 = gcnew MyGenClass<double>();
   GenDelegate<int>^ myDelegate1 =
      gcnew GenDelegate<int>(myObj1, &MyGenClass<int>::MyMethod);

   GenDelegate<double>^ myDelegate2 = 
      gcnew GenDelegate<double>(myObj2, &MyGenClass<double>::MyMethod);

   GenDelegate<int>^ myDelegate =
      gcnew GenDelegate<int>(&MyClass::MyStaticMethod<int>);

The following example declares a generic delegate GenDelegate<ItemType>, and then instantiates it by associating it to the method MyMethod that uses the type parameter ItemType. Two instances of the delegate (an integer and a double) are created and invoked.

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

// declare generic delegate
generic <typename ItemType>
delegate ItemType GenDelegate (ItemType p1, ItemType% p2);

// Declare a generic class:
generic <typename ItemType>
ref class MyGenClass {
   ItemType MyMethod(ItemType p1, ItemType% p2) {
      p2 = p1;
      return p1;

int main() {
   int i = 0, j = 0; 
   double m = 0.0, n = 0.0;

   MyGenClass<int>^ myObj1 = gcnew MyGenClass<int>();
   MyGenClass<double>^ myObj2 = gcnew MyGenClass<double>(); 

   // Instantiate a delegate using int.
   GenDelegate<int>^ MyDelegate1 = 
      gcnew GenDelegate<int>(myObj1, &MyGenClass<int>::MyMethod);

   // Invoke the integer delegate using MyMethod.
   i = MyDelegate1(123, j);

      "Invoking the integer delegate: i = {0}, j = {1}", i, j);

   // Instantiate a delegate using double.
   GenDelegate<double>^ MyDelegate2 = 
      gcnew GenDelegate<double>(myObj2, &MyGenClass<double>::MyMethod);

   // Invoke the integer delegate using MyMethod.
   m = MyDelegate2(0.123, n);

      "Invoking the double delegate: m = {0}, n = {1}", m, n);
Invoking the integer delegate: i = 123, j = 123 Invoking the double delegate: m = 0.123, n = 0.123

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