Appendix E: Class Definitions in C

A C# class is defined in the following format:

 [  attributes  ] [  modifiers  ] class identifier [:  base-list  ] { class-body }[;] 

where attributes may be one of the following:

  • public The class is available to all other pieces of code.

  • Internal The class is available only to other pieces of code in the same assembly.


    Protected and Private are not permissible at the class definition level, except for nested classes.

Modifiers may be

  • abstract The class is an abstract class, and can only be used as a base class for new classes.

  • sealed The class is a sealed class, and cannot be used as the base class of a new class.

The new keyword is not permissible at the class definition level, but is used to make members of a base class invisible to a derived class ( new appears in the derived class).

The base-list is a list of base classes. Unlike C++ where a derived class defines the accessibility of its base class, the base class defines accessibility. For example, if a base class declared itself as internal, then a derived class would inherit the base classes members as internal.

A class can contain declarations of the following member types: constructors, destructors, constants, fields, methods , properties, indexers, and operators. Fields are common data members.

Properties are methods that define accessor functions for some value or property of the class. There is no property keyword; instead the declaration of the property appears in formatting the code:

 public class Picture 
private int m_RotateAngle;
public int RotateAngle
get{ return(m_RotateAngle); }
set{ if(value>=0 && value<=359) m_RotateAngle = value; }

Indexers are methods that provide an index operator on the class. The special format of declaration is similar to a property, only it uses the this keyword in the declaration as the property name . For example:

 public class Picture 
private int[] m_TagID;
public int this [int Index] // Index can be of any data type.
set { if(Index >=0 && Index <= m_TagID.Length)
m_TagID[Index]=value; }
get { if(Index >=0 && Index <= m_TagID.Length)
return(m_TagID[Index]); else return(-1);

Operator methods are operator overloads similar to those in C++. The main difference is that the methods must be declared public static , and all parameters are passed to them (unlike the implicit left-hand operator this in C++). An example of an operator would be the following:

 Class Date { 
public static int operator+(Date D, int Days) {};

Destructors and Garbage Collection

Like Java, C# implements automatic garbage collection. Though a destructor can be declared in C#, it is important to note that they are called when the Garbage Collector determines the object is no longer reachable by code, and when memory space is needed.

A destructor has the same format in C# as in C++: ~ClassName(); . The garbage collector will invoke this method automatically, when it sees fit.

In the event you are handling nonmanaged (non-CLR) resources, you may want to force the garbage collection for the object. In order to do this, you must declare your class to implement the IDispose interface, and also provide a Dispose method. A typical example is

 using System; 
class Testing : IDisposable
bool is_disposed = false;
protected virtual void Dispose(bool disposing)
if (!is_disposed) // only dispose once!
if (disposing)
// Not in destructor, OK to reference other objects
// perform cleanup for this object
this.is_disposed = true;
public void Dispose()
// tell the GC not to finalize

OOP Demystified
OOP Demystified
ISBN: 0072253630
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 130

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