Archive for the ‘ csharp ’ Category

Dynamic Three Dimensional Arrays in C\C++\C#\Java


If you come from a Java or C# perspective and want to create a multi-dimensional array in C or C++, you’ll soon figure out that multi-dimensional array allocation in C\C++ is not as simple, plus you’ll have to worry about deallocation since there is no garbage collector to do the work for you. Below I’ll show four different sample codes showing how to work with a three dimensional array in Java, C#, C++ and C, respectively.

Java 3D Array

In Java, creating a 3-dimensional array is as simple as saying

int[][][] array3D = new int[x][y][z];

You can then access the elements of the 3-dimensional array at array3D[i][j][k].

Sample Code

public static void main(String[] args)
{
    //  Array 3 Dimensions
    int x = 4, y = 5, z = 6;

    //  Array Iterators
    int i, j, k;

    //  Allocate 3D Array
    int[][][] array3D = new int[x][y][z];

    //  Access array elements
    for (i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        System.out.println(i);

        for (j = 0; j < y; j++)
        {
            System.out.println();

            for (k = 0; k < z; k++)
            {
                array3D[i][j][k] = (i * y * z) + (j * z) + k;
                System.out.print("\t" + array3D[i][j][k]);
            }
        }

        System.out.println('\n');
    }
}

C# 3D Array

In C#, the concept is almost the same as in Java. However, C# makes the distinction between jagged and multi-dimensional arrays. Elements of a multi-dimensional array are stored in a contiguous block in memory while elements of a jagged array are not. Java arrays are actually jagged arrays, while C# supports both and allows you to choose which one you want based on the syntax of your code. Note that multi-dimensional arrays are better (in most cases) than jagged arrays, and that is considered a minus point for Java.

Using jagged arrays in C# is not as simple as in Java. It’s almost like the way we would implement it in C++.

int[][] jaggedArray = new int[2][];
jaggedArray[0] = new int[4];
jaggedArray[1] = new int[3];

However, multi-dimensional arrays in C# are very simply to use. You can create a 3 dimensional array as follows

int[,,] array3D = new int[x, y, z];

then access its elements at array3D[i][j][k].

Sample Code

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    //  Array 3 Dimensions
    int x = 4, y = 5, z = 6;

    //  Array Iterators
    int i, j, k;

    //  Allocate 3D Array
    int[,,] array3D = new int[x, y, z];

    //  Access array elements
    for (i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        Console.WriteLine(i);

        for (j = 0; j < y; j++)
        {
            Console.WriteLine();

            for (k = 0; k < z; k++)
            {
                array3D[i, j, k] = (i * y * z) + (j * z) + k;
                Console.Write("\t{0}", array3D[i, j, k]);
            }
        }

        Console.WriteLine('\n');
    }
}

C++ 3D Array

To create a multi-dimensional array in C++, we should change perspective a little bit and think of creating arrays that point to other arrays, which point to other arrays, and so on. For example, to create a 2x3x4 array in C++, we should imagine the implementation as follows:

For simplicity, we are doing the jagged implementation of the multi-dimensional array (address of array3d[0][1][0] is not directly after array3d[0][0][3] in memory representation above). In the next section, we will implement it in C the contiguous way. To allocate a jagged 2D array in C++, one can write the following (compare to C# jagged above):

int** jaggedArray = new int*[2];
jaggedArray[0] = new int[4];
jaggedArray[1] = new int[3];

The elements can be accessed as usual: jaggedArray[i][j]. The extra work we have to do in C++ is to explicitly deallocate the array.

delete[] jaggedArray[0];
delete[] jaggedArray[1];
delete[] jaggedArray;

See the code sample below to understand how we allocate and deallocate a 3 dimensional array in C++.

Sample Code

#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

void main()
{
    //  Array 3 Dimensions
    int x = 4, y = 5, z = 6;

    //  Array Iterators
    int i, j, k;

    //  Allocate 3D Array
    int ***array3D = new int**[x];

    for(i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        array3D[i] = new int*[y];

        for(j = 0; j < y; j++)
        {
            array3D[i][j] = new int[z];
        }
    }

    //  Access array elements
    for(i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        cout << i << endl;

        for(j = 0; j < y; j++)
        {
            cout << endl;

            for(k = 0; k < z; k++)
            {
                array3D[i][j][k] = (i * y * z) + (j * z) + k;
                cout << '\t' << array3D[i][j][k];
            }
        }

        cout << endl << endl;
    }

    //  Deallocate 3D array
    for(i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        for(j = 0; j < y; j++)
        {
            delete[] array3D[i][j];
        }

        delete[] array3D[i];
    }
    delete[] array3D;
}

C 3D Array

Implementing multi-dimensional arrays in C is very similar to C++, except that we use malloc()\free()  stdlib methods instead of the new\delete keywords. The memory representation below is the same, but we are going to focus in this section on making the elements of the 3 dimensional array contiguous.

To do so, we start by allocating space for all array elements in one call to malloc.

int *allElements = malloc(x * y * z * sizeof(int));

Next, we create the arrays of pointers, and point to the contiguous elements we’ve already allocated.

int ***array3D = malloc(x * sizeof(int **));
for(i = 0; i < x; i++)
{
    array3D[i] = malloc(y * sizeof(int *));

    for(j = 0; j < y; j++)
    {
        array3D[i][j] = allElements + (i * y * z) + (j * z);
    }
}

Note that if we wanted the same jagged implementation as in the C++ example above, we could ignore the allocation of allElements and change the line of code array3D[i][j] = allElements + (i * y * z) + (j * z); to array3D[i][j] = malloc(z * sizeof(int)). Below is a sample code for allocating, accessing and deallocating a 3 dimensional array in C.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

void main()
{
    //  Array 3 Dimensions
    int x = 4, y = 5, z = 6;

    //  Array Iterators
    int i, j, k;

    //  Allocate 3D Array
    int *allElements = malloc(x * y * z * sizeof(int));
    int ***array3D = malloc(x * sizeof(int **));

    for(i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        array3D[i] = malloc(y * sizeof(int *));

        for(j = 0; j < y; j++)
        {
            array3D[i][j] = allElements + (i * y * z) + (j * z);
        }
    }

    //  Access array elements
    for(i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        printf("%d\n", i);

        for(j = 0; j < y; j++)
        {
            printf("\n");

            for(k = 0; k < z; k++)
            {
                array3D[i][j][k] = (i * y * z) + (j * z) + k;
                printf("\t%d", array3D[i][j][k]);
            }
        }

        printf("\n\n");
    }

    //  Deallocate 3D array
    free(allElements);
    for(i = 0; i < x; i++)
    {
        free(array3D[i]);
    }
    free (array3D);
}

Source Code

Full source code for the above 4 samples is available here.

Xml Editor Control


If you have a Windows Forms application that involves Xml editing or viewing, you can use this control to save yourself the effort of formatting the Xml content. For now, only syntax highlighting is implemented. I expect to add more features in the future like spacing, grouping, intellisense, etc…

Usage

Simply add the files (XmlToken.cs, XmlTokenizer.cs, XmlEditor.cs, XmlEditor.designer.cs) to your project then drag and drop the XmlEditor control from the Toolbox into your Windows Form.

The XmlEditor control currently has three public properties. Use AllowXmlFormatting to enable or disable formatting on the Xml content in the editor. The ReadOnly property tells whether or not to allow the user to change the text. The Text property sets or gets the text of the Xml editor.

Here is how the control looks like when AllowXmlFormatting = true and ReadOnly = false (default values):

Implementation

To color the Xml string, we have to split it into multiple tokens, then color each token based on its type. I have identified the following token types (based on syntax highlighting behavior in Visual Studio 2008):

  • A “Value” is anything between double quotes
  • A “Comment” is anything that starts with <!– and ends with –> (or starts with <!– and is never closed with –>)
  • An “Element” is any letter or digit that falls between < and a space or >
  • An “Attribute” is any letter or digit that falls after a < followed by space and not closed by >
  • An “Escape” is anything that starts with & and ends with ; (For example &quote;)
  • A “SpecialChar” is any character that is not a letter or a digit
  • A “None” is anything else

The Tokenize() public static method of the XmlTokenizer class does the job of splitting a string into Xml tokens.

An XmlToken object is a representation of an Xml token with details about the exact text of that token, its location in the string and its type.

Here is the code in the XmlEditor control that does the syntax highlighting:

List<XmlToken> tokens = XmlTokenizer.Tokenize(xmlEditor.Text);

foreach (XmlToken token in tokens)
{
    xmlEditor.Select(token.Index, token.Text.Length);

    switch (token.Type)
    {
        case XmlTokenType.Attribute:
            xmlEditor.SelectionColor = Color.Red;
            break;
        case XmlTokenType.Comment:
            xmlEditor.SelectionColor = Color.DarkGreen;
            break;

        //  and so on for the other token types
    }
}

Download source and exe.

C# Windows Form is Busy


There are two very common ways of telling the user that your application is busy. One is to show a progress bar that gets updated based on the progress getting done, and another is to show the “Waiting” cursor while the application is doing work.

Waiting Cursor

To show the user the Waiting cursor while your program is busy, all you have to do is to set the current cursor to the Waiting cursor before your code runs, then set it back to an arrow after your code completes.

Cursor.Current = Cursors.WaitCursor;

//  Your Code

Cursor.Current = Cursors.Default;

Progress Bar

The progress bar is a more user-friendly solution, but in most cases showing the waiting cursor does the job. Here is the simplest way to use a progress bar:

int totalSteps = 10;
for (int i = 1; i <= totalSteps; i++)
{
    //  One chunk of your code

    int progress = i * 100 / totalSteps;
    blocksProgressBar.Value = progress;
}
blocksProgressBar.Value = 0;

Yes, it’s that easy to implement a progress bar that gets updated based on the work done by your app. However, while progress is shown, the user can’t interact with the UI or do any other operation (the UI thread is the single thread doing the work here). To get the multi-threaded behavior, the easiest way is to use a background worker process, as shown below:

So instead of putting your code in the event handler method, you will replace it with a call to start the worker process then move the code to the worker process events.

private void doButton_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
    backgroundWorker.RunWorkerAsync();
}

The worker process will do its work in the DoWork event. To show progress, the code needs to be split into segments and the background worker ReportProgress method needs to be called whenever a segment of code is executed.

private void backgroundWorker_DoWork(object sender, DoWorkEventArgs e)
{
    int totalSteps = 10;

    for (int i = 1; i <= totalSteps; i++)
    {
        //  One chunk of your code

        int progress = i * 100 / totalSteps;
        backgroundWorker.ReportProgress(progress);
    }
}

Whenever progress changes, we need to update the value of the progress bar.

private void backgroundWorker_ProgressChanged(object sender, ProgressChangedEventArgs e)
{
    blocksProgressBar.Value = e.ProgressPercentage;
}

When the worker process is done (progress = 100%), we reset the progress bar.

private void backgroundWorker_Completed(object sender, RunWorkerCompletedEventArgs e)
{
    blocksProgressBar.Value = 0;
}

Below is a Windows Form application that lets you try the concepts explained above, and also shows you how the Marquee progress bar works, which is shockingly harder than the more realistic single-threaded progress bar we’ve discussed above.

Download source and exe from here.

Sortable ListView


The Windows Forms ListView control doesn’t provide column sorting functionality. So if you click on a column in a ListView Details view, don’t expect the items to be sorted by the clicked column. To get this functionality, we’ll need to sort the items by the clicked column in the ListView ColumnClick event. I searched online for “Sortable ListView” and I found three MSDN articles talking about this: Sort ListView Column in Visual C#, Sorting ListView Items by Column Using Windows Forms, and How to: Sort ListView Items. None of those implementations takes into consideration the type of the column being sorted. That is, they all do string sorting. If you have dates and numbers in your list, then they’ll not be sorted properly. For example, number 2 will be considered greater than 11. Date time 9/9/1400 will be considered greater than 11/11/2020. Below is an implementation that takes into consideration string, DateTime, int and double types. It can be easily extended to handle more types.

  • Add the SortableListView control to your Windows Form
  • When adding columns to the SortableListView, set the Tag attribute to the type of the column.
sortableListView.Columns.Add("String Field").Tag = typeof(string);
sortableListView.Columns.Add("DateTime Field").Tag = typeof(DateTime);
sortableListView.Columns.Add("Int Field").Tag = typeof(int);
sortableListView.Columns.Add("Double Field").Tag = typeof(double);
  • Now, you can add the items as usual.

For example, the below list is sorted by the DateTime field.

Sortable ListView

Sortable ListView

 Click on the above image to download the SortableListView control.

PropertGrid Collection Events


You are using the PropertyGrid control to allow the user to edit the properties of an object at run-time from the UI. This works great and is in fact very reliable since this is the same control used by Visual Studio to display the properties of controls. Now that you are letting the user update the object directly, you’d like to get a PropertyValueChanged event whenever the user changes a property, so you can respond to the user’s action. You’ll be able to do that by adding a PropertValueChanged event to the PropertyGrid, which will get triggered every time a property is changed, unless the property is a collection. So if you have a collection inside the property grid selected object and you’d like to be notified when a property changes in that collection or when an item is added\removed, there is no way to do so with the OOB Microsoft PropertyGrid control. Clearly, the reason why the PropertyValueChanged event is not triggered when a collection is changed is because the reference to the collection object is still the same.

In order to be notified when a property changes inside a collection, follow instructions on this blog. You’ll find this very helpful. However, this solution can’t help you if you’d like to be notified when an item is removed from the collection or when it is added without any of its properties changed. A more generic solution I found was to get a notification when the collection form is closed. This way, I wouldn’t have to worry too much about the steps the user is taking in the collection editor. When the collection form is closed, I get notified and act on the collection object based on its current state.

Solution

First, add a reference to System.Design dll in your Visual Studio project. Create the following class, which represents a collection editor that triggers a MyFormClosed event when the collection editor form is closed.

using System;
using System.ComponentModel.Design;
using System.Windows.Forms;

public class MyCollectionEditor : CollectionEditor
{
    public delegate void MyFormClosedEventHandler(object sender,
                                        FormClosedEventArgs e);

    public static event MyFormClosedEventHandler MyFormClosed;

    public MyCollectionEditor(Type type) : base(type) { }
    protected override CollectionForm CreateCollectionForm()
    {
        CollectionForm collectionForm = base.CreateCollectionForm();
        collectionForm.FormClosed += new FormClosedEventHandler(collection_FormClosed);
        return collectionForm;
    }

    void collection_FormClosed(object sender, FormClosedEventArgs e)
    {
        if (MyFormClosed != null)
        {
            MyFormClosed(this, e);
        }
    }
}

To use the above collection editor for the property grid, you can simply add the following attribute above the collection Property of the object which you set to propertGrid.SelectedObject.

[Editor(typeof(MyCollectionEditor), typeof(UITypeEditor))]

The final part is to create our custom FormClosed event handler and bind it to our custom collection editor as follows:

public MyForm()
{
    InitializeComponent();

    //  Make the property grid listen to collection properties changes
    MyCollectionEditor.MyFormClosed += new MyCollectionEditor.MyFormClosedEventHandler
                                        (propertyGrid_CollectionFormClosed);
}

private void propertyGrid_CollectionFormClosed(object s, FormClosedEventArgs e)
{
    //  Code to run when collection form is closed
}
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