Data Types in Visual C#.NET

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2 Data Types
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F rom chapter's 1's HelloWorld program, you got a feel for the C# language, its structure, basic syntax characteristics, and how to write the simplest of programs This chapter continues to discuss the C# basics by investigating the fundamental C# types
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Until now, you have worked with only a few primitive data types, with little explanation In C#, thousands of types exist, and you can combine types to create new types A few types in C#, however, are relatively simple and are considered the building blocks of all other types These types are predefined types or primitives The C# language's primitive types include eight integer types, two floating-point types, a high-precision type, one Boolean type, and a character type This chapter investigates these primitives, looks more closely at the string type, and introduces arrays
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Fundamental Numeric Types
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The basic numeric types in C# have keywords associated with them These types include integer types, floating-point types, and a decimal type to store large numbers with a high degree of accuracy
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Integer Types
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There are eight C# integer types This variety allows you to select a data type large enough to hold its intended range of values without wasting resources Table 21 lists each integer type
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Table 21 Integer Types
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Type
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sbyte byte short ushort int
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Size 8 bits 8 bits 16 bits 16 bits 32 bits 32 bits 64 bits
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Range (Inclusive) 128 and 127 0 and 255 32,768 and 32,767 0 and 65,535 2,147,483,648 and 2,147,483,647 0 and 4,294,967,295 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 and 9,223,372,036,854,775,807
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BCL Name
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SystemSByte SystemByte SystemInt16 SystemUInt16 SystemInt32
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Signed Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes
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uint long
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SystemUInt32 SystemInt64
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ulong
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64 bits
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SystemUInt64 0 and 18,446,744,073,709,551,615
There was significant discussion among language designers and CLI designers about which types should be in the CLS Ultimately, the decision was made to support only one type, signed or unsigned, per length The C# designers insisted that although signed types for all lengths were acceptable in general, the byte type was an exception because unsigned bytes were more useful and common In fact, it was argued, signed bytes could potentially cause programming problems In the end, the C# team's perspective won out and the unsigned byte was included in the CLS instead of the signed byte
Included in Table 21 (and in Tables 22 and 23) is a column for the full name of each type All the fundamental types in C# have a short name and a full name The full name corresponds to the type as it is named in the Base Class Library (BCL) This name is the same across all languages and it uniquely identifies the type within an assembly Because of the fundamental nature of primitive types, C# also supplies keywords as short names or abbreviations to the full names of fundamental types From the compiler's perspective, both names are exactly the same, producing exactly the same code In fact, an examination of the resulting CIL code would provide no indication of which name was used
Language Contrast: C++short Data Type
In C/C++, the short data type is an abbreviation for short int In C#, short on its own is the actual data type
Floating-Point Types (float, double)
Floating-point numbers have varying degrees of precision If you were to read the value of a floatingpoint number to be 01, it could very easily be 0099999999999999999 or 01000000000000000001 or some other number very close to 01 Alternatively, a large number such as Avagadro's number, 602E23, could be off by 99E9, which is something also exceptionally close to 602E23, considering its size By definition, the accuracy of a floating-point number is in proportion to the size of the number it contains Accuracy, therefore, is determined by the number of significant digits, not by a fixed value such as 001 C# supports the two floating-point number types listed in Table 22 Binary numbers appear as base 10 (denary) numbers for human readability The number of bits (binary digits) converts to 15 decimal digits, with a remainder that contributes to a sixteenth decimal digit as expressed in Table 22 Specifically, numbers between 17 * 10307 and less than 1 * 10308 have only 15 significant digits However, numbers ranging from 1 * 10308 to 17 * 10308 will have 16 significant digits A similar range of significant digits occurs with the decimal type as well