Visual Basic 2005 makes it very easy to pass arrays and collections into and out of methods. This makes arrays, collections, and similar objects very useful for efficiently grouping data. Additionally, there are some new and useful methods for processing arrays that are easy to overlook if you're just moving up from Visual Basic 6.0. Several recipes in this chapter focus on these methods. For example, arrays have a built-in Sort() method that will sort some or all of the elements in the array, a feature that had to be coded by hand before .NET.
Generics are also new in Visual Basic 2005, providing a powerful new type-safe way to define collections and other objects such as lists, stacks, and queues. Generics enable compile-time typing of objects without your having to write separate classes for each type you want to support. This chapter demonstrates a simple generic collection. Other chapters provide further examples of generics.