#323 – A Generic Class is a Template for a Class

A generic class is a class that takes one or more type parameters, which it then uses in the definition of the class.  It can be thought of as a template for a class.

    public class ThingContainer<TParam>
    {
        private TParam theThing;

        public void SetThing(TParam newValue)
        {
            theThing = newValue;
        }
    }

You use a generic class by specifying a type for each of the type parameters.

            ThingContainer<int> intContainer = new ThingContainer<int>();
            intContainer.SetThing(5);

            ThingContainer<Dog> dogContainer = new ThingContainer<Dog>();
            dogContainer.SetThing(new Dog("Kirby", 5));

In this example, we use a generic class to store an object of an arbitrary type.  We use one version of the class to store an int and another to store a Dog.  Notice that wherever we use the name of the generic class to define an instance, we need to supply a typename (e.g. int, Dog) as a parameter.

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About Sean
Software developer in the Twin Cities area, passionate about .NET technologies. Equally passionate about my own personal projects related to family history and preservation of family stories and photos.

17 Responses to #323 – A Generic Class is a Template for a Class

  1. Pingback: #324 – A Generic Class Can Have More than One Type Parameter « 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  2. Pingback: #326 – Generic Type vs. Constructed Type « 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  3. Pingback: #534 – What Good Are Generics? « 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  4. Pingback: #535 – Creating a Generic Struct « 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  5. Pingback: #536 – Using a Generic Interface « 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  6. Pingback: #1,027 – Type Parameters vs. Type Arguments in a Generic Class | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  7. Pingback: #1,028 – Generic Types vs. Generic Methods | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  8. Pingback: #1,029 – How to Define a Constructor in a Generic Type | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  9. Pingback: #1,030 – Requiring Generic Type Parameters to Derive from a Specified Class | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  10. Pingback: #1,031 – Requiring Generic Type Parameters to Implement an Interface | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  11. Pingback: #1,032 – Requiring Generic Type Parameters to Be a Reference or Value Type | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  12. Pingback: #1,033 – Requiring a Generic Type Parameter to Have a Parameterless Constructor | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  13. Pingback: #1,039 – Deriving from a Generic Class | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  14. Pingback: #1,043 – Deriving from a Self-Referencing Constructed Type, part II | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  15. Pingback: #1,070 – A Generic Type Can Be Compiled | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  16. Pingback: #1,135 – Overloading a Generic Class | 2,000 Things You Should Know About C#

  17. Simplest explanation of a generic class ever! I wish I had discovered this when I was first learning about generics!

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