Parameter Examples
This page was last reviewed on Apr 16, 2024.
Dot Net Perls
Parameter. In C# programs, ref and out change the behavior of method parameters. Sometimes we want the actual value of a variable to be copied as the parameter.
Other times we want a reference. These modifiers (ref and out) affect definite assignment analysis. In C# it is also possible to use named and optional parameters, but this only affects syntax.
Ref and out example. This program introduces 3 methods. Example1 uses the default parameter passing technique. Example2 uses the ref modifier. And Example3 employs the out modifier.
Next We pass the local int val to each of these 3 methods and examine the results.
int, uint
Note Example1 uses value-passing semantics. If it assigns the parameter, it only affects the local state of the method.
And Example2 uses ref. When this method sets its parameter to 2, this is reflected in the calling location (Main).
Finally Example3 uses out on its parameter. It sets its parameter to 3—this is reflected in the calling location.
using System; class Program { static void Main() { int val = 0; Example1(val); Console.WriteLine(val); // Still 0. Example2(ref val); Console.WriteLine(val); // Now 2. Example3(out val); Console.WriteLine(val); // Now 3. } static void Example1(int value) { value = 1; } static void Example2(ref int value) { value = 2; } static void Example3(out int value) { value = 3; } }
0 2 3
Arguments, parameters. Arguments are values that are passed to a specific method call. You can call a method with many different arguments, as many times as you wish.
Detail The name of the argument variables (if any) does not affect the behavior of the method.
using System; class Program { static void Main() { // Argument = 5 // Argument = Sam Perls(5, "Sam"); } static void Perls(int id, string name) { Console.WriteLine(id); Console.WriteLine(name); } }
5 Sam
Parameters, continued. Formal parameters are found in the method itself. The names they use are not affected by the argument names.
And When the arguments are passed to the method, they are received as formal parameters.
using System; class Program { static void Main() { Perls(5, "Sam"); } static void Perls(int id, string name) { // Parameter = id // Parameter = name Console.WriteLine(id); Console.WriteLine(name); } }
5 Sam
Named parameters. We use the syntax "name:" and then a string literal to specify the value of the name parameter. The syntax "size:" and then an integer signifies the size parameter.
Tip You can reorder these named parameters in any way you want. This is a key benefit of named parameters.
Also You can specify names on only some parameters, using the positional syntax for some arguments.
using System; class Program { static void Main() { // Call the Test method several times in different ways. Test(name: "Perl", size: 5); Test(name: "Dot", size: -1); Test(6, "Net"); Test(7, name: "Cat"); } static void Test(int size, string name) { Console.WriteLine("Size = {0}, Name = {1}", size, name); } }
Size = 5, Name = Perl Size = -1, Name = Dot Size = 6, Name = Net Size = 7, Name = Cat
Optional parameters. We introduce a method named "Method" that has 2 parameters. Each of the parameters is optional. We use special syntax form to declare them.
Tip To specify an optional parameter, assign the formal parameter in the method parameter list to an appropriate value.
Here We set the formal parameter "value" to 1, and the formal parameter "name" to "Perl."
And Whenever Method is called without a parameter specified, its default value is used instead in the method body.
Thus We can call Method() with no parameters. And we can call it with only an int parameter.
Important The C# compiler transforms the calls where parameters were omitted to regular syntax calls.
using System; class Program { static void Main() { // Omit the optional parameters. Method(); // Omit second optional parameter. Method(4); // You can't omit the first but keep the second. // Method("Dot"); // Classic calling syntax. Method(4, "Dot"); // Specify one named parameter. Method(name: "Tara"); // Specify both named parameters. Method(value: 5, name: "Tara"); } static void Method(int value = 1, string name = "Perl") { Console.WriteLine("value = {0}, name = {1}", value, name); } }
value = 1, name = Perl value = 4, name = Perl value = 4, name = Dot value = 1, name = Tara value = 5, name = Tara
Some notes. What is the difference between ref and out? The difference is in the compiler's application of the definite assignment analysis step.
Important The compiler demands that an out parameter be "definitely assigned" before any exit. There is no such restriction with the ref.
Info When a method uses the out modifier, you can be sure that after you invoke it, your variable is definitely assigned.
And This means you can write code that does not assign the variable before calling an out method.
The C# language has strict rules regarding the passing of parameters. Out is often preferred to ref. It ensures that you can avoid assigning the variable before passing it as an argument.
Other parameter features. With named and optional parameters, we can specify parameters in different ways, but this syntactic sugar and does not affect how the program executes.
Dot Net Perls is a collection of tested code examples. Pages are continually updated to stay current, with code correctness a top priority.
Sam Allen is passionate about computer languages. In the past, his work has been recommended by Apple and Microsoft and he has studied computers at a selective university in the United States.
This page was last updated on Apr 16, 2024 (rewrite).
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