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Archive for July 14th, 2004

Here’s some code that shows how you can directly manipulate the contents of an array using native pointers. The first sample is for a single dimensional array and the second is for a jagged array.

Natively accessing a single-dimensional array

void Test1()
{
    array<int>^ arr = gcnew array<int>(3);
    arr[0] = 100;
    arr[1] = 200;
    arr[2] = 300;

    Console::WriteLine(arr[0]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[1]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[2]);

    /*
    Output :-
      100
      200
      300
    */

    // Modifying the array using a native int*
    // that points to a pinned pointer in GC'd heap
    pin_ptr<int> p1 = &arr[0];
    int* p2 = p1;
    while(*p2)
    {
        (*p2)++;
        p2++;
    }

    Console::WriteLine(arr[0]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[1]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[2]);

    /*
    Output :-
      101
      201
      301
    */
} 

Natively accessing a jagged array

void Test2()
{
    array<array<int>^>^ arr = gcnew array<array<int>^>(2);
    arr[0] = gcnew array<int>(2);
    arr[1] = gcnew array<int>(2);
    arr[0][0] = 10;
    arr[0][1] = 100;
    arr[1][0] = 20;
    arr[1][1] = 200;

    Console::WriteLine(arr[0][0]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[0][1]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[1][0]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[1][1]);

    /*
    Output:
      10
      100
      20
      200
    */


    // Copying the managed jagged array to
    // a native array of pointers and accessing
    // the members using the native array
    pin_ptr<int> p1 = &arr[0][0];
    pin_ptr<int> p2 = &arr[1][0];
    int* p3[2];
    p3[0] = p1;
    p3[1] = p2;

    Console::WriteLine(p3[0][0]);
    Console::WriteLine(p3[0][1]);
    Console::WriteLine(p3[1][0]);
    Console::WriteLine(p3[1][1]);

    /*
    Output:
      10
      100
      20
      200
    */

    // Assigning the native array of pointers
    // to a native int** and modifying the array
    int** p4 = p3;
    for(int i=0; i<2; i++)
        for(int j=0; j<2; j++)
            p4[i][j] += 3;

    Console::WriteLine(arr[0][0]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[0][1]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[1][0]);
    Console::WriteLine(arr[1][1]);

    /*
    Output:
      13
      103
      23
      203
    */
}

Essentially we use a pinning pointer to the GC’d heap and then treat the casted native pointer as if it were pointing to a native array. Gives us a really fast method to manipulate array content!

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