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Returning read-only collection

, 4 Jun 2011 CPOL
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Returning read-only collection
Sometimes, you want a class to expose a collection of items. At the same time, you don’t want the client code to add or remove items from the collection, because that could – for example – break the integrity of the class. Of the ways to achieve this is returning ReadOnlyCollection, which can't be cast into the editable collection.
 
using System.Collections.ObjectModel;
 
public class MyClass
{
    private List<MyItem> m_privateCollection = new List<MyItem>();  // private collection
    public ReadOnlyCollection<MyItem> MyItems
    {
        get
        {
            return m_privateCollection.AsReadOnly();
        }
    }
}
 
Caveats
Calling code can modify the contents within collection items:
ReadOnlyCollection<MyItem> myReadOnlyCollection = obj.MyItems;
myReadOnlyCollection[0].Voltage = 1.1f;

The underlying collection can be modified by another thread.

Still, by using ReadOnlyCollection, some bugs can be repelled.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Nick Alexeev
Systems Engineer Prolitech
United States United States
doing business as Prolitech
Redwood City, CA
http://www.prolifictec.com

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