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[Class] Associate array in C# .NET

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Associative array is very useful due to its flexibility and expandability. It can contain any data types and unlimited sub arrays. So far, .NET framework has not provide similar functionality with PHP associative array. Don't worry, we can still do it in C#.NET by utilizing dictionary. We have to use dictionary to keep the order of array element entry. If we use hashtable, the element order will be messed up. In this article, we will show you how dictionary can support the flexibility and expandability of PHP associative array.

Source Code

//By    : Xhanch Studio
//URL  : http://xhanch.com/

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using System.Collections.ObjectModel;

namespace AssociativeArray{
    public class AssociativeArray{
        public Dictionary<object, object> Item;

        public AssociativeArray(){
          this.Item = new Dictionary<object, object>();

        public void Add(object name, object value){
        this.Item.Add(name, value);

        public void Add(object name, AssociativeArray value){
        this.Item.Add(name, value.Item);

        public Dictionary<object, object>.KeyCollection GetKeys(){
        return this.Item.Keys;

        public bool InArray(object hook){
        return this.Item.ContainsKey(hook);

        public int Count(){
        return this.Item.Count;

        public static bool IsAssociativeArray(){
        return (this.Item.GetType().ToString().StartsWith("System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary"));

Usage Examples

using System;
using AssociativeArray;

namespace Test{
    public class Test{
        static void Main(string[] args){
            AssociativeArray arr= new AssociativeArray();
            arr.Add("elm 1", "value 1");
            arr.Add("elm 2", true);
            arr.Add("elm 3", 1);

            //Add a sub array
            AssociativeArray arrChd = new AssociativeArray();
            arrChd .Add("chd 1", "value 1");
            arrChd .Add("chd 2", true);
            arrChd .Add("chd 3", 1);
            arr.Add("elm 4", arrChd);

            // List all AssociativeArray manually
            foreach (string key in arr.GetKeys()){
                //Check if the current element is an associative array
                    //Accessing sub array
                    AssociativeArray tmp = new AssociativeArray();
                    tmp.Item = arr.Item[key];
                    foreach (string key1 in tmp.GetKeys()){
                        Console.WriteLine(key1 + ": " + tmp.Item[key1 ]);
                    Console.WriteLine(key + ": " + arr.Item[key]);

    // Single Item
            Console.WriteLine("User: " + arr.Item["Line 1"]);
Posted : 05/08/2012 8:56 am

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