Multidimensional Arrays

Multidimensional arrays with two dimensions are often used to represent tables of values consisting of information arranged in rows and columns. To identify a particular table element, we must specify two indices. By convention, the first identifies the element's row and the second its column. Arrays that require two indices to identify a particular element are called two-dimensional arrays. (Multidimensional arrays can have more than two dimensions, but arrays with more than two dimensions are beyond the scope of this book.) C# supports two types of two-dimensional arraysrectangular arrays and jagged arrays.

Rectangular Arrays

Rectangular arrays are used to represent tables of information in the form of rows and columns, where each row has the same number of columns. Figure 8.17 illustrates a rectangular array named a containing three rows and four columna three-by-four array. In general, an array with m rows and n columns is called an m-by-n array.

Figure 8.17. Rectangular array with three rows and four columns.

Every element in array a is identified in Fig. 8.17 by an array-access expression of the form a[ row, column ]; a is the name of the array, and row and column are the indices that uniquely identify each element in array a by row and column number. Note that the names of the elements in row 0 all have a first index of 0, and the names of the elements in column 3 all have a second index of 3.

Like one-dimensional arrays, multidimensional arrays can be initialized with array initializers in declarations. A rectangular array b with two rows and two columns could be declared and initialized with nested array initializers as follows:

int[ , ] b = { { 1, 2 }, { 3, 4 } };

The initializer values are grouped by row in braces. So 1 and 2 initialize b[ 0, 0 ] and b[ 0, 1 ], respectively, and 3 and 4 initialize b[ 1, 0 ] and b[ 1, 1 ], respectively. The compiler counts the number of nested array initializers (represented by sets of two inner braces within the outer braces) in the array declaration to determine the number of rows in array b. The compiler counts the initializer values in the nested array initializer for a row to determine the number of columns (two) in that row. The compiler will generate an error if the number of initializers in each row is not the same, because every row of a rectangular array must have the same length.

Jagged Arrays

A jagged array is maintained as a one-dimensional array in which each element refers to a one-dimensional array. The manner in which jagged arrays are represented makes them quite flexible, because the lengths of the rows in the array need not be the same. For example, jagged arrays could be used to store a single student's exam grades across multiple classes, where the number of exams may vary from class to class.

We can access the elements in a jagged array by an array-access expression of the form arrayName[ row ][ column ]similar to the array-access expression for rectangular arrays, but with a separate set of square brackets for each dimension. A jagged array with three rows of different lengths could be declared and initialized as follows:

int[][] jagged = { new int[] { 1, 2 },
 new int[] { 3 },
 new int[] { 4, 5, 6 } };

In this statement, 1 and 2 initialize jagged[ 0 ][ 0 ] and jagged[ 0 ][ 1 ], respectively; 3 initializes jagged[ 1 ][ 0 ]; and 4, 5 and 6 initialize jagged[ 2 ][ 0 ], jagged[ 2 ][ 1 ] and jagged[ 2 ][ 2 ], respectively. Therefore, array jagged in the preceding declaration is actually composed of four separate one-dimensional arraysone that represents the rows, one containing the values in the first row ({ 1, 2 }), one containing the value in the second row ({ 3 }) and one containing the values in the third row ({ 4, 5, 6 }). Thus, array jagged itself is an array of three elements, each reference to a one-dimensional array of int values.

Observe the differences between the array-creation expressions for rectangular arrays and jagged arrays. Two sets of square brackets follow the type of jagged, indicating that this is an array of int arrays. Furthermore, in the array initializer, C# requires the keyword new to create an array object for each row. Figure 8.18 illustrates the array reference jagged after it has been declared and initialized.

Figure 8.18. Jagged array with three rows of different lengths.


Creating Two-Dimensional Arrays with Array-Creation Expressions

A rectangular array can be created with an array-creation expression. For example, the following lines declare array b and assign it a reference to a three-by-four rectangular array:

int[ , ] b;
b = new int[ 3, 4 ];

In this case, we use the literal values 3 and 4 to specify the number of rows and number of columns, respectively, but this is not requiredapplications can also use variables and expressions to specify array dimensions. As with one-dimensional arrays, the elements of a rectangular array are initialized when the array object is created.

A jagged array cannot be completely created with a single array creation expression. The following statement is a syntax error:

int[][] c = new int[ 2 ][ 5 ]; // error

Instead, each one-dimensional array in the jagged array must be initialized separately. A jagged array can be created as follows:

int[][] c;
c = new int[ 2 ][ ]; // create 2 rows
c[ 0 ] = new int[ 5 ]; // create 5 columns for row 0
c[ 1 ] = new int[ 3 ]; // create 3 columns for row 1

The preceding statements create a jagged array with two rows. Row 0 has five columns, and row 1 has three columns.

Two-Dimensional Array Example: Displaying Element Values

Figure 8.19 demonstrates initializing rectangular and jagged arrays with array initializers and using nested for loops to traverse the arrays (i.e., visit every element of each array).

Figure 8.19. Initializing jagged and rectangular arrays.

 1 // Fig. 8.19: InitArray.cs
 2 // Initializing rectangular and jagged arrays.
 3 using System;
 5 public class InitArray
 6 {
 7 // create and output rectangular and jagged arrays
 8 public static void Main( string[] args )
 9 {
10 // with rectangular arrays,
11 // every column must be the same length.
12 int[ , ] rectangular = { { 1, 2, 3 }, { 4, 5, 6 } };
14 // with jagged arrays,
15 // we need to use "new int[]" for every row,
16 // but every column does not need to be the same length.
17 int[][] jagged = { new int[] { 1, 2 }, 
18  new int[] { 3 }, 
19  new int[] { 4, 5, 6 } };
21 OutputArray( rectangular ); // displays array rectangular by row
22 Console.WriteLine(); // output a blank line
23 OutputArray( jagged ); // displays array jagged by row
24 } // end Main
26 // output rows and columns of a rectangular array 27 public static void OutputArray( int[ , ] array ) 28 { 29 Console.WriteLine( "Values in the rectangular array by row are" ); 30 31 // loop through array's rows 32 for ( int row = 0; row < array.GetLength( 0 ); row++ ) 33 { 34 // loop through columns of current row 35 for ( int column = 0; column < array.GetLength( 1 ); column++ ) 36 Console.Write( "{0} ", array[ row, column ] ); 37 38 Console.WriteLine(); // start new line of output 39 } // end outer for 40 } // end method OutputArray 41 42 // output rows and columns of a jagged array 43 public static void OutputArray( int[][] array ) 44 { 45 Console.WriteLine( "Values in the jagged array by row are" ); 46 47 // loop through array's rows 48 for ( int row = 0; row < array.Length; row++ ) 49 { 50 // loop through columns of current row 51 for ( int column = 0; column < array[ row ].Length; column++ ) 52 Console.Write( "{0} ", array[ row ][ column ] ); 53 54 Console.WriteLine(); // start new line of output 55 } // end outer for 56 } // end method OutputArray 57 } // end class InitArray
 Values in the rectangular array by row are
 1 2 3
 4 5 6

 Values in the jagged array by row are
 1 2
 4 5 6

Class InitArray's Main method declares two arrays. The declaration of rectangular (line 12) uses nested array initializers to initialize row 0 of the array to the values 1, 2 and 3, and the row 1 to the values 4, 5 and 6. The declaration of jagged (lines 1719) uses nested initializers of different lengths. In this case, the initializer uses the keyword new to create a one-dimensional array for each row. Row 0 is initialized to have two elements with values 1 and 2, respectively. Row 1 is initialized to have one element with value 3. Row 2 is initialized to have three elements with the values 4, 5 and 6, respectively.

Method OutputArray has been overloaded with two versions. The first version (lines 2740) specifies the array parameter as int[ , ] array to indicate that it takes a rectangular array. The second version (lines 4356) takes a jagged array, because its array parameter is listed as int[][] array.

Line 21 invokes method OutputArray with argument rectangular, so the version of OutputArray at lines 2740 is called. The for statement (lines 3239) outputs the rows of a rectangular array. The loop-continuation condition of each for statement (lines 32 and 35) uses the rectangular array's GetLength method to obtain the length of each dimension. The dimensions are numbered starting from 0. So the method call GetLength( 0 ) on array returns the size of the first dimension of the array (the number of rows), and the call GetLength( 1 ) returns the size of the second dimension (the number of columns).

Line 23 invokes method OutputArray with argument jagged, so the version of OutputArray at lines 4356 is called. The for statement (lines 4855) outputs the rows of a jagged array. In the loop-continuation condition of the outer for statement (line 48), we use the property array.Length to determine the number of rows in the array. In the inner for statement (line 51), we use the property array[ row ].Length to determine the number of columns in the current row of the array. This condition enables the loop to determine the exact number of columns in each row.

Common Multidimensional-Array Manipulations Performed with for Statements

Many common array manipulations use for statements. As an example, the following for statement sets all the elements in row 2 of rectangular array a in Fig. 8.17 to 0:

for ( int column = 0; column < a.GetLength( 1 ); column++)
 a[ 2, column ] = 0;

We specified row 2; therefore, we know that the first index is always 2 (0 is the first row, and 1 is the second row). This for loop varies only the second index (i.e., the column index). The preceding for statement is equivalent to the assignment statements

a[ 2, 0 ] = 0;
a[ 2, 1 ] = 0;
a[ 2, 2 ] = 0;
a[ 2, 3 ] = 0;

The following nested for statement totals the values of all the elements in array a:

int total = 0;

for ( int row = 0; row < a.GetLength( 0 ); row++ )
 for ( int column = 0; column < a.GetLength( 1 ); column++ )
 total += a[ row, column ];
} // end outer for

These nested for statements total the array elements one row at a time. The outer for statement begins by setting the row index to 0 so that row 0's elements can be totaled by the inner for statement. The outer for then increments row to 1 so that row 1's elements can be totaled. Then the outer for increments row to 2 so that row 2's elements can be totaled. The variable total can be displayed when the outer for statement terminates. In the next example, we show how to process a rectangular array in a more concise manner using foreach statements.



    Introduction to Computers, the Internet and Visual C#

    Introduction to the Visual C# 2005 Express Edition IDE

    Introduction to C# Applications

    Introduction to Classes and Objects

    Control Statements: Part 1

    Control Statements: Part 2

    Methods: A Deeper Look


    Classes and Objects: A Deeper Look

    Object-Oriented Programming: Inheritance

    Polymorphism, Interfaces & Operator Overloading

    Exception Handling

    Graphical User Interface Concepts: Part 1

    Graphical User Interface Concepts: Part 2


    Strings, Characters and Regular Expressions

    Graphics and Multimedia

    Files and Streams

    Extensible Markup Language (XML)

    Database, SQL and ADO.NET

    ASP.NET 2.0, Web Forms and Web Controls

    Web Services

    Networking: Streams-Based Sockets and Datagrams

    Searching and Sorting

    Data Structures



    Appendix A. Operator Precedence Chart

    Appendix B. Number Systems

    Appendix C. Using the Visual Studio 2005 Debugger

    Appendix D. ASCII Character Set

    Appendix E. Unicode®

    Appendix F. Introduction to XHTML: Part 1

    Appendix G. Introduction to XHTML: Part 2

    Appendix H. HTML/XHTML Special Characters

    Appendix I. HTML/XHTML Colors

    Appendix J. ATM Case Study Code

    Appendix K. UML 2: Additional Diagram Types

    Appendix L. Simple Types


    Visual C# How to Program
    Visual C# 2005 How to Program (2nd Edition)
    ISBN: 0131525239
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2004
    Pages: 600

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