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12.3Array element access


Array elements are accessed using element-access expressions (§7.5.6.1) of the form A[I1, I2, ..., IN], where A is an expression of an array type and each IX is an expression of type int, uint, long, ulong, or of a type that can be implicitly converted to one or more of these types. The result of an array element access is a variable, namely the array element selected by the indices.

The elements of an array can be enumerated using a foreach statement (§8.8.4).


12.4Array members


Every array type inherits the members declared by the System.Array type.

12.5Array covariance


For any two reference-types A and B, if an implicit reference conversion (§6.1.6) or explicit reference conversion (§6.2.4) exists from A to B, then the same reference conversion also exists from the array type A[R] to the array type B[R], where R is any given rank-specifier (but the same for both array types). This relationship is known as array covariance. Array covariance in particular means that a value of an array type A[R] may actually be a reference to an instance of an array type B[R], provided an implicit reference conversion exists from B to A.

Because of array covariance, assignments to elements of reference type arrays include a run-time check which ensures that the value being assigned to the array element is actually of a permitted type (§7.16.1). For example:

class Test
{
static void Fill(object[] array, int index, int count, object value) {
for (int i = index; i < index + count; i++) array[i] = value;
}

static void Main() {


string[] strings = new string[100];
Fill(strings, 0, 100, "Undefined");
Fill(strings, 0, 10, null);
Fill(strings, 90, 10, 0);
}
}

The assignment to array[i] in the Fill method implicitly includes a run-time check which ensures that the object referenced by value is either null or an instance of a type that is compatible with the actual element type of array. In Main, the first two invocations of Fill succeed, but the third invocation causes a System.ArrayTypeMismatchException to be thrown upon executing the first assignment to array[i]. The exception occurs because a boxed int cannot be stored in a string array.

Array covariance specifically does not extend to arrays of value-types. For example, no conversion exists that permits an int[] to be treated as an object[].

12.6Array initializers


Array initializers may be specified in field declarations (§10.5), local variable declarations (§8.5.1), and array creation expressions (§7.5.10.4):

array-initializer:
{ variable-initializer-listopt }
{ variable-initializer-list , }


variable-initializer-list:
variable-initializer
variable-initializer-list , variable-initializer


variable-initializer:
expression
array-initializer

An array initializer consists of a sequence of variable initializers, enclosed by “{”and “}” tokens and separated by “,” tokens. Each variable initializer is an expression or, in the case of a multi-dimensional array, a nested array initializer.

The context in which an array initializer is used determines the type of the array being initialized. In an array creation expression, the array type immediately precedes the initializer, or is inferred from the expressions in the array initializer. In a field or variable declaration, the array type is the type of the field or variable being declared. When an array initializer is used in a field or variable declaration, such as:

int[] a = {0, 2, 4, 6, 8};

it is simply shorthand for an equivalent array creation expression:

int[] a = new int[] {0, 2, 4, 6, 8};

For a single-dimensional array, the array initializer must consist of a sequence of expressions that are assignment compatible with the element type of the array. The expressions initialize array elements in increasing order, starting with the element at index zero. The number of expressions in the array initializer determines the length of the array instance being created. For example, the array initializer above creates an int[] instance of length 5 and then initializes the instance with the following values:

a[0] = 0; a[1] = 2; a[2] = 4; a[3] = 6; a[4] = 8;

For a multi-dimensional array, the array initializer must have as many levels of nesting as there are dimensions in the array. The outermost nesting level corresponds to the leftmost dimension and the innermost nesting level corresponds to the rightmost dimension. The length of each dimension of the array is determined by the number of elements at the corresponding nesting level in the array initializer. For each nested array initializer, the number of elements must be the same as the other array initializers at the same level. The example:

int[,] b = {{0, 1}, {2, 3}, {4, 5}, {6, 7}, {8, 9}};

creates a two-dimensional array with a length of five for the leftmost dimension and a length of two for the rightmost dimension:

int[,] b = new int[5, 2];

and then initializes the array instance with the following values:

b[0, 0] = 0; b[0, 1] = 1;


b[1, 0] = 2; b[1, 1] = 3;
b[2, 0] = 4; b[2, 1] = 5;
b[3, 0] = 6; b[3, 1] = 7;
b[4, 0] = 8; b[4, 1] = 9;

When an array creation expression includes both explicit dimension lengths and an array initializer, the lengths must be constant expressions and the number of elements at each nesting level must match the corresponding dimension length. Here are some examples:

int i = 3;
int[] x = new int[3] {0, 1, 2}; // OK
int[] y = new int[i] {0, 1, 2}; // Error, i not a constant
int[] z = new int[3] {0, 1, 2, 3}; // Error, length/initializer mismatch

Here, the initializer for y results in a compile-time error because the dimension length expression is not a constant, and the initializer for z results in a compile-time error because the length and the number of elements in the initializer do not agree.




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