Programming

Delegates C Sharp – The Complete Tutorial

Introduction

        Delegate is like a buzz word in C#.NET programming. In this article, I explain delegates, multicast delegates and their usage with the help of simple C# programs.

What is a Delegate?

        Delegate is a type which holds the method(s) reference in an object. It is also referred to as a type safe function pointer. The below figure illustrates the overview of Delegate.

Delegate is a type which holds the method(s) reference in an object. It is also referred to as a type safe function pointer.

Advantages

  • Encapsulating the method’s call from caller
  • Effective use of delegate improves the performance of application
  • Used to call a method asynchronously

Declaration

public delegate type_of_delegatedelegate_name()

Example:

publicdelegate int mydelegate(int delvar1,int delvar2)

Note

  • You can use delegates without parameters or with parameter list
  • You should follow the same syntax as in the method
    (If you are referring to the method with two int parameters and int return type, the delegate which you are declaring should be in the same format. This is why it is referred to as type safe function pointer.)

Sample Program using Delegate

public delegate double Delegate_Prod(int a,int b);
class Class1
{    
  static double fn_Prodvalues(int val1,int val2)    
  {        
    return val1*val2;    
  }    
  static void Main(string[] args)    
  {        //Creating the Delegate Instance        
    Delegate_Prod delObj = new Delegate_Prod(fn_Prodvalues);        
    Console.Write("Please Enter Values");        
    int v1 = Int32.Parse(Console.ReadLine());        
    int v2 = Int32.Parse(Console.ReadLine());        //use a delegate for processing        
    double res = delObj(v1,v2);        
    Console.WriteLine ("Result :"+res);        
    Console.ReadLine();    
  }
}

Explanation

Here I have used a small program which demonstrates the use of delegate.

The delegate “Delegate_Prod” is declared with double return type and accepts only two integer parameters.

Inside the class, the method named fn_Prodvalues is defined with double return type and two integer parameters. (The delegate and method have the same signature and parameter type.)

Inside the Main method, the delegate instance is created and the function name is passed to the delegate instance as follows:

Delegate_Prod delObj = new Delegate_Prod(fn_Prodvalues);

After this, we are accepting the two values from the user and passing those values to the delegate as we do using method:

delObj(v1,v2);

Here delegate object encapsulates the method functionalities and returns the result as we specified in the method.

Multicast Delegate

What is Multicast Delegate?

 

It is a delegate which holds the reference of more than one method.

Multicast delegates must contain only methods that return void, else there is a run-time exception.

Simple Program using Multicast Delegate

delegate void Delegate_Multicast(int x, int y);
Class Class2
{    
 static void Method1(int x, int y)    
 {        
   Console.WriteLine("You r in Method 1");    
 }     
 static void Method2(int x, int y)    
 {        
   Console.WriteLine("You r in Method 2");    
 }    
 public static void Main()  
 {      
   Delegate_Multicast func = new Delegate_Multicast(Method1);     
   func += new Delegate_Multicast(Method2);   
   func(1,2);             // Method1 and Method2 are called     
   func -= new Delegate_Multicast(Method1);     
   func(2,3);             // Only Method2 is called    
 }
}

Explanation

In the above example, you can see that two methods are defined named method1 and method2 which take two integer parameters and return type as void.

In the main method, the Delegate object is created using the following statement:

Delegate_Multicast func = new Delegate_Multicast(Method1);

Then the Delegate is added using the += operator and removed using the -= operator.

For more information see this MSDN C# Programming Guide.

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