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An Array: A Series of Similar Items

 

Introduction

Imagine you want to create a program that would use a series of numbers. In math, we represent such a series as follows: X1, X2, X3, X4, X5. You can also represent a list of items as follows:

Alex
Gaston
Hermine
Jerry

In C#, so far, to use a series of items, we were declaring a variable for each of them. If the list was made of numbers, we would declare variables for such numbers as follows:

using System;

namespace CSharpLessons
{
    class Exercise
    {
	static void Main()
	{
	    double number1 = 12.44,
	     	   number2 = 525.38,
		   number3 = 6.28,
		   number4 = 2448.32,
	           number5 = 632.04;
	}
    }
}

Instead of using individual variables that share the same characteristics, you can group them in an entity like a regular variable but called an array. Therefore, an array is a series of items of the same kind. It could be a group of numbers, a group of cars, a group of words, etc but all items of the array must be of the same type.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Introducing Arrays

  1. Start Microsoft Visual C# and create a Console Application named IceCream1
  2. To save the project, on the Standard toolbar, click the Save All button Save All
  3. Change the Solution Name to VendingMachine1
  4. To create a new class, on the main menu, click Project -> Add Class...
  5. Set the Name to IceCreamOrder and press Enter
  6. Change the file as follows:
     
    using System;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using System.Text;
    
    namespace IceCream1
    {
        public class IceCreamOrder
        {
            public const decimal BasePrice = 1.55M;
    
            public void ProcessAnOrder()
            {
                int dFlv   = 0,
                    dCont  = 0,
                    dIngrd = 0;
                int Scoops = 0;
                decimal PriceIngredient = 0.00M, TotalPrice = 0.00M;
    
                Console.WriteLine("Ice Cream Vendor Machine");
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                        Console.WriteLine("What type of flavor do you want?");
                        Console.WriteLine("1 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("2 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("3 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("4 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("5 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("6 - ");
                        Console.Write("Your Choice? ");
                        dFlv = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (dFlv < 1 || dFlv > 6)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!\n");
                } while (dFlv < 1 || dFlv > 6);
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                      Console.WriteLine("What type of container do you want?");
                        Console.WriteLine("1 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("2 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("3 - ");
                        Console.Write("Your Choice? ");
                        dCont = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (dCont < 1 || dCont > 3)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!");
                } while (dCont < 1 || dCont > 3);
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                        Console.WriteLine("Do you want an ingredient or not");
                        Console.WriteLine("1 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("2 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("3 - ");
                        Console.WriteLine("4 - ");
                        Console.Write("Your Choice? ");
                        dIngrd = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (dIngrd < 1 || dIngrd > 4)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!");
                } while (dIngrd < 1 || dIngrd > 4);
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                        Console.Write("How many scoops(1, 2, or 3)? ");
                        Scoops = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (Scoops < 1 || Scoops > 3)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!");
                } while (Scoops < 1 || Scoops > 3);
    
                if (dIngrd == 2 || dIngrd == 3 || dIngrd == 4)
                    PriceIngredient = 0.65M;
                else
                    PriceIngredient = 0.00M;
    
                TotalPrice = (BasePrice * Scoops) + PriceIngredient;
    
                DisplayReceipt(dFlv, dCont, dIngrd, Scoops, TotalPrice);
            }
    
            public void DisplayReceipt(int Flv, int Cont, int Ingrd,
                                       int spoons, decimal TotalPrice)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("\nIce Cream Order");
    
                Console.WriteLine("Scoops:      {0}", spoons);
                Console.WriteLine("Total Price: {0:C}\n", TotalPrice);
            }
        }
    }
  7. Save the file

Array Creation

Before creating an array, you must first decide the type its items will be made of. Is it a group of numbers, a group of chairs, a group of buttons on a remote control? This information allows the compiler to know how much space each item of the group will require. This is because each item of the group will occupy its own memory space, just like any of the variables we have used so far.

After deciding about the type of data of the items that make up the series, you must use a common name to identify them. The name is simply the same type of name you would use for a variable as we have used so far. The name allows you and the compiler to identify the area in memory where the items are located.

Ice Cream

Thirdly, you must specify the number of items that will constitute the group. For the compiler to be able to allocate an adequate amount of space for the items of the list, once it knows how much space each item will require, it needs to know the number of items so an appropriate and large enough amount of space can be reserved. The number of items of an array is included in square brackets, as in [5].

In C# (unlike some other languages such as C/C++ or Pascal), an array is considered a reference type. Therefore, an array requests its memory using the new operator. Based on this, the basic formula to declare an array is:

DataType[] VariableName = new DataType[Number];

In this formula, the DataType factor can be one of the types we have used so far. It can also be the name of a class. The square brackets on the left of the assignment operator are used to let the compiler know that you are declaring an array instead of a regular variable. The new operator allows the compiler to reserve memory. The Number factor is used to specify the number of items of the list.

Based on the above formula, here is an example of an array variable:

using System;

namespace CSharpLessons
{
    class Exercise
    {
	static void Main()
	{
	    double[] number = new double[5];

            Console.WriteLine();
	}
    }
}

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Creating an Array

  1. To create arrays, change the IceCreamOrder.cs file as follows:
     
    uusing System;
    
    namespace IceCream1
    {
        class IceCreamOrder
        {
            public const decimal BasePrice = 1.55M;
    
            public void ProcessAnOrder()
            {
                int dFlv   = 0,
                    dCont  = 0,
                    dIngrd = 0;
                int Scoops = 0;
                decimal PriceIngredient = 0.00M, TotalPrice = 0.00M;
    
                string[] Flavor = new string[6];
                string[] Container = new string[3];
                string[] Ingredient = new string[4];
    
                Console.WriteLine("Ice Cream Vendor Machine");
    
                . . . No Change
            }
        }
    }
  2. Save the file

Initializing an Array

When creating an array, you can specify the number of items that make up its list. Each item of the series is referred to as a member or an element of the array. Once the array has been created, each one of its members is initialized with a 0 value. Most, if not all, of the time, you will need to change the value of each member to a value of your choice. This is referred to as initializing the array.

An array is primarily a variable; it is simply meant to carry more than one value. Like every other variable, an array can be initialized. There are two main techniques you can use to initialize an array. If you have declared an array as done above, to initialize it, you can access each one of its members and assign it a desired but appropriate value.

In math, if you create a series of values as X1, X2, X3, X4, and X5, each member of this series can be identified by its subscript number. In this case the subscripts are 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. This subscript number is also called an index. In the case of an array also, each member of an array can be referred to by an incremental number called an index. A C# (like a C/C++) array is zero-based. This means that the first member of the array has an index of 0, the second has an index of 1. In math, the series would be represented as X0, X1, X2, X3, and X4. In C#, the index of a member of an array is written in its own square brackets. This is the notation you would use to locate each member. One of the actions you can take would consist of assigning it a value. Here is an example:

using System;

namespace CSharpLessons
{
    class Exercise
    {
	static void Main()
	{
	    double[] number = new double[5];

             number[0] = 12.44;
             number[1] = 525.38;
	     number[2] = 6.28;
             number[3] = 2448.32;
             number[4] = 632.04;

             Console.WriteLine();
	}
    }
}

Besides this technique, you can also initialize the array as a whole when declaring it. To do this, on the right side of the declaration, before the closing semi-colon, type the values of the array members between curly brackets and separated by a comma. Here is an example:

using System;

namespace CSharpLessons
{
    class Exercise
    {
	static void Main()
	{
	    double[] number = new double[5]{ 12.44, 525.38, 6.28, 2448.32, 632.04 };

            	    Console.WriteLine();
	}
    }
}

If you use this second technique, you don't have to specify the number of items in the series. In this case, you can leave all square brackets empty:

using System;

namespace CSharpLessons
{
    class Exercise
    {
	static void Main()
	{
	double[] number = new double[]{ 12.44, 525.38, 6.28, 2448.32, 632.04 };

	Console.WriteLine();
	}
    }
}

If you leave the square brackets empty, the compiler will figure out the number of items.

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Using the Members of an Array

  1. To initialize arrays and use their members, change the IceCreamOrder.cs file as follows:
     
    using System;
    
    namespace IceCream1
    {
        class IceCreamOrder
        {
            public const decimal BasePrice = 1.55M;
    
            public void ProcessAnOrder()
            {
                int dFlv   = 0,
                    dCont  = 0,
                    dIngrd = 0;
                int Scoops = 0;
                decimal PriceIngredient = 0.00M, TotalPrice = 0.00M;
    
                string[] Flavor = new string[6]{ "Vanilla",
    				             "Cream of Cocoa",
    					     "Organic Strawberry",
    					     "Butter Pecan",
    					     "Cherry Coke",
    					     "Chocolate Brownies" };
    
                string[] Container = new string[3];
                Container[0] = "Cone";
                Container[1] = "Cup";
                Container[2] = "Bowl";
    
                string[] Ingredient = new string[]{"No Ingredient",
    					       "Peanuts",
    				               "M & M",
    	                                       "Cookies" };
    
                Console.WriteLine("Ice Cream Vendor Machine");
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                        Console.WriteLine("What type of flavor do you want?");
                        Console.WriteLine("1 - {0}", Flavor[0]);
                        Console.WriteLine("2 - {0}", Flavor[1]);
                        Console.WriteLine("3 - {0}", Flavor[2]);
                        Console.WriteLine("4 - {0}", Flavor[3]);
                        Console.WriteLine("5 - {0}", Flavor[4]);
                        Console.WriteLine("6 - {0}", Flavor[5]);
                        Console.Write("Your Choice? ");
                        dFlv = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (dFlv < 1 || dFlv > 6)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!\n");
                } while (dFlv < 1 || dFlv > 6);
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                        Console.WriteLine("What type of container do you want?");
                        Console.WriteLine("1 - {0}", Container[0]);
                        Console.WriteLine("2 - {0}", Container[1]);
                        Console.WriteLine("3 - {0}", Container[2]);
                        Console.Write("Your Choice? ");
                        dCont = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (dCont < 1 || dCont > 3)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!");
                } while (dCont < 1 || dCont > 3);
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                        Console.WriteLine("Do you want an ingredient or not");
                        Console.WriteLine("1 - {0}", Ingredient[0]);
                        Console.WriteLine("2 - {0}", Ingredient[1]);
                        Console.WriteLine("3 - {0}", Ingredient[2]);
                        Console.WriteLine("4 - {0}", Ingredient[3]);
                        Console.Write("Your Choice? ");
                        dIngrd = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (dIngrd < 1 || dIngrd > 4)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!");
                } while (dIngrd < 1 || dIngrd > 4);
    
                do
                {
                    try
                    {
                        Console.Write("How many scoops(1, 2, or 3)? ");
                        Scoops = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine());
                    }
                    catch (FormatException)
                    {
    Console.WriteLine("You must enter a valid number and no other character!");
                    }
    
                    if (Scoops < 1 || Scoops > 3)
                        Console.WriteLine("Invalid Choice - Try Again!");
                } while (Scoops < 1 || Scoops > 3);
    
                if (dIngrd == 2 || dIngrd == 3 || dIngrd == 4)
                    PriceIngredient = 0.65M;
                else
                    PriceIngredient = 0.00M;
    
                TotalPrice = (BasePrice * Scoops) + PriceIngredient;
    
                DisplayReceipt(dFlv, dCont, dIngrd, Scoops, TotalPrice);
            }
    
            public void DisplayReceipt(int Flv, int Cont, int Ingrd,
                int spoons, decimal TotalPrice)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("\n==================================");
                Console.WriteLine("Ice Cream Order");
                Console.WriteLine("----------------------------------");
                switch (Flv)
                {
                    case 2:
                        Console.WriteLine("Flavor:      Cream of Cocoa");
                        break;
                    case 3:
                        Console.WriteLine("Flavor:      Organic Strawberry");
                        break;
                    case 4:
                        Console.WriteLine("Flavor:      Butter Pecan");
                        break;
                    case 5:
                        Console.WriteLine("Flavor:      Cherry Coke");
                        break;
                    case 6:
                        Console.WriteLine("Flavor:      Chocolate Brownies");
                        break;
                    default:
                        Console.WriteLine("Flavor:      Vavilla");
                        break;
                }
    
                switch (Cont)
                {
                    case 2:
                        Console.WriteLine("Container:   Cup");
                        break;
                    case 3:
                        Console.WriteLine("Container:   Bowl");
                        break;
                    default:
                        Console.WriteLine("Container:   Cone");
                        break;
                }
    
                switch (Ingrd)
                {
                    case 2:
                        Console.WriteLine("Ingredient:  Peanuts");
                        break;
                    case 3:
                        Console.WriteLine("Ingredient:  M & M");
                        break;
                    case 4:
                        Console.WriteLine("Ingredient:  Cookies");
                        break;
                    default:
                        Console.WriteLine("Ingredient:  None");
                        break;
                }
    
                Console.WriteLine("Scoops:      {0}", spoons);
                Console.WriteLine("Total Price: {0:C}", TotalPrice);
                Console.WriteLine("==================================\n");
            }
        }
    }
  2. Access the Program.cs file
  3. To test the IceCreamOrder class, change the file as follows:
     
    using System;
    
    namespace IceCream1
    {
        class Program
        {
            static int Main()
            {
                IceCreamOrder IS = new IceCreamOrder();
    
                IS.ProcessAnOrder();
                return 0;
            }
        }
    }
  4. Execute the application and test it. Here is an example:
     
    Ice Cream Vendor Machine
    What type of flavor do you want?
    1 - Vanilla
    2 - Cream of Cocoa
    3 - Organic Strawberry
    4 - Butter Pecan
    5 - Cherry Coke
    6 - Chocolate Brownies
    Your Choice? 5
    What type of container do you want?
    1 - Cone
    2 - Cup
    3 - Bowl
    Your Choice? 3
    Do you want an ingredient or not
    1 - No Ingredient
    2 - Peanuts
    3 - M & M
    4 - Cookies
    Your Choice? 4
    How many scoops(1, 2, or 3)? 3
    
    ==================================
    Ice Cream Order
    ----------------------------------
    Flavor:      Cherry Coke
    Container:   Bowl
    Ingredient:  Cookies
    Scoops:      3
    Total Price: $5.30
    ==================================
    
    Press any key to continue . . .
  5. Close the DOS window
 

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