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C#

Attributes for Interoperation


Note: This section is applicable only to the Microsoft .NET implementation of C#.

      1. Interoperation with COM and Win32 components

The .NET runtime provides a large number of attributes that enable C# programs to interoperate with components written using COM and Win32 DLLs. For example, the DllImport attribute can be used on a static extern method to indicate that the implementation of the method is to be found in a Win32 DLL. These attributes are found in the System.Runtime.InteropServices namespace, and detailed documentation for these attributes is found in the .NET runtime documentation.

      1. Interoperation with other .NET languages

        1. The IndexerName attribute

Indexers are implemented in .NET using indexed properties, and have a name in the .NET metadata. If no IndexerName attribute is present for an indexer, then the name Item is used by default. The IndexerName attribute enables a developer to override this default and specify a different name.

namespace System.Runtime.CompilerServices.CSharp
{
[AttributeUsage(AttributeTargets.Property)]
public class IndexerNameAttribute: Attribute
{
public IndexerNameAttribute(string indexerName) {...}

public string Value { get {...} }
}
}

  1. Unsafe code

The core C# language, as defined in the preceding chapters, differs notably from C and C++ in its omission of pointers as a data type. Instead, C# provides references and the ability to create objects that are managed by a garbage collector. This design, coupled with other features, makes C# a much safer language than C or C++. In the core C# language it is simply not possible to have an uninitialized variable, a “dangling” pointer, or an expression that indexes an array beyond its bounds. Whole categories of bugs that routinely plague C and C++ programs are thus eliminated.

While practically every pointer type construct in C or C++ has a reference type counterpart in C#, nonetheless, there are situations where access to pointer types becomes a necessity. For example, interfacing with the underlying operating system, accessing a memory-mapped device, or implementing a time-critical algorithm may not be possible or practical without access to pointers. To address this need, C# provides the ability to write unsafe code.

In unsafe code it is possible to declare and operate on pointers, to perform conversions between pointers and integral types, to take the address of variables, and so forth. In a sense, writing unsafe code is much like writing C code within a C# program.

Unsafe code is in fact a “safe” feature from the perspective of both developers and users. Unsafe code must be clearly marked with the modifier unsafe, so developers can’t possibly use unsafe features accidentally, and the execution engine works to ensure that unsafe code cannot be executed in an untrusted environment.



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