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Tip of the Day
Language: VB.NET
Expertise: Intermediate
Jan 19, 2002

Implementing ICloneable - Deep copies

The simplest way to create a generic deep copy routine, that is a procedure that can create a true, distinct copy of an object and all its dependent object, is to rely on the serialization features of the .NET framework.

Function CloneObject(ByVal obj As Object) As Object
    ' Create a memory stream and a formatter.
    Dim ms As New MemoryStream(1000)
    Dim bf As New BinaryFormatter()
    ' Serialize the object into the stream.
    bf.Serialize(ms, obj)
    ' Position streem pointer back to first byte.
    ms.Seek(0, SeekOrigin.Begin)
    ' Deserialize into another object.
    CloneObject = bf.Deserialize(ms)
    ' Release memory.
    ms.Close()
End Function
You can use this routine as follows:

Dim ar(100) As Person
' Fill the array.
' ...
' Create a copy of the array AND all the objects it contains.
ar = CType(CloneObject(ar), Person())
Francesco Balena
 
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