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What are the fundamental differences between value types and reference types?

  Shared By: Willard Washington    Date: Mar 12    Category: C#    Views: 1828

Answer:

C# divides types into two categories - value types and reference types. Most of the intrinsic types (e.g. int, char) are value types. Structs are also value types. Reference types include classes, arrays and strings. The basic idea is straightforward - an instance of a value type represents the actual data, whereas an instance of a reference type represents a pointer or reference to the data.

The most confusing aspect of this for C++ developers is that C# has predetermined which types are represented as values, and which are represented as references. A C++ developer expects to take responsibility for this decision.

For example, in C++ we can do this:

int x1 = 3; // x1 is a value on the stack
int *x2 = new int(3) // x2 is a pointer to a value on the heap
but in C# there is no control:

int x1 = 3; // x1 is a value on the stack
int x2 = new int();
x2 = 3; // x2 is also a value on the stack!

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