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Posted 9 Aug 2003


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Delegates - a 15 minutes quick start tutorial

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3.13/5 (26 votes)
9 Aug 20031 min read
Teaches you about delegates using an example program


  • Delegate invoke instance method with parameter.
  • Delegate invoke static method with parameter.
  • Delegate multi-casting: delegate invoking more than one methods at once.


Just compile and run the sample. The code is documented and is self-explanatory.


Delegate are just simple mechanism to re-route calls to functions/methods that it references. The idea is simple. Invoking delegate invokes the methods/functions that the delegate references. The question is, why delegate? Why not just invoke the function/method directly?

  • The association between delegate and methods referenced by delegate is established in runtime - so, you get flexibility here.
  • Multi-cast: That's to associate a few methods/functions to ONE delegate. Invoking one delegate fires off ALL methods referenced by that one delegate all at once.

Code fragments

Here's your delegate

  • Delegate - Note that delegate has the same signature to all functions/methods that it references.
  • A delegate can reference more than one function/method - that's called multi-casting.
    public delegate int SomeDelegate(int nID, string sName);

Methods referenced by SomeDelegate can be found in WorkerClass

public class WorkerClass
  //(1) First method (instance method) referenced by delegate:
  public int InstanceMethod(int nID, string sName) {...}
  //(2) Second method (static method) referenced by delegate:
  static public int StaticMethod(int nID, string sName) {...}

The only difference between these two methods is that "InstanceMethod" is an instance method, that is, it must be invoked by an actual instance of WorkerClass. StaticMethod is a static member function - invoke it by: WorkerClass.StaticMethod(10,"aaa");

What the function does?

  • It will multiply "nID" by LENGTH of "sName". For example, nID=10, sName="aaa" (Length=3). Therefore return value=10x3=30.
  • It will write to console:
    "InstanceMethod invoked, return value=..." OR
    "StaticMethod invoked, return value=..."

Association between delegates and methods it references can be found in main(...)

//PART 1: invoking instance method            
WorkerClass wr = new WorkerClass();
SomeDelegate d1 = new SomeDelegate(wr.InstanceMethod); 
   //Associating delegate with wr.InstanceMethod

Console.WriteLine("Invoking delegate InstanceMethod, return={0}", 
   d1(5, "aaa") ); //Invoking wr.InstanceMethod with input parameters.

//PART 2: invoking static method
SomeDelegate d2 = new SomeDelegate(WorkerClass.StaticMethod); 
    //Associating delegate with WorkerClass.StaticMethod (NOTE: "wr" 
    //instance is NOT used. The class itself is used!!)
Console.WriteLine("Invoking delegate StaticMethod, return={0}", 
  d2(5, "aaa") ); //Invoking InstanceMethod with input parameters.

//PART 3: MultiCAST!
Console.WriteLine("Testing delegate multi-cast..");
SomeDelegate d3 = (SomeDelegate) Delegate.Combine(d1, d2);
Console.WriteLine("Invoking delegate(s) d1 AND d2 (multi-cast), return={0} ", 
  d3(5, "aaa") ); //Fire BOTH delegates (d1 AND d2) by firing d3!


That's it. It's simple right?


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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 3 Pin
SDINES5-Oct-10 1:14
MemberSDINES5-Oct-10 1:14 
GeneralMore details about threading, please! Pin
Uwe Keim11-Aug-03 2:57
sitebuilderUwe Keim11-Aug-03 2:57 
GeneralRe: More details about threading, please! Pin
devvvy11-Aug-03 3:07
Memberdevvvy11-Aug-03 3:07 
GeneralRe: More details about threading, please! Pin
Uwe Keim11-Aug-03 3:34
sitebuilderUwe Keim11-Aug-03 3:34 
GeneralRe: More details about threading, please! Pin
J. Dunlap11-Aug-03 9:58
MemberJ. Dunlap11-Aug-03 9:58 

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