Span<T> Span<T> Span<T> Span<T> Struct

Definition

Provides a type- and memory-safe representation of a contiguous region of arbitrary memory.

generic <typename T>
public value class Span
public struct Span<T>
type Span<'T> = struct
Public Structure Span(Of T)

Type Parameters

T

The type of items in the Span<T>.

Inheritance

Remarks

Span<T> is a ref struct that is allocated on the stack rather than on the managed heap. Ref struct types have a number of restrictions to ensure that they cannot be promoted to the managed heap, including that they can't be boxed, they can't be assigned to variables of type Object, dynamic or to any interface type, they can't be fields in a reference type, and they can't be used across await and yield boundaries. In addition, calls to two methods, Equals(Object) and GetHashCode, throw a NotSupportedException.

Important

Because it is a stack-only type, Span<T> is unsuitable for many scenarios that require storing references to buffers on the heap. This is true, for example, of routines that make asynchrous method calls. For such scenarios, you can use the complimentary System.Memory<T> and System.ReadOnlyMemory<T> types.

For spans that represent immutable or read-only structures, use System.ReadOnlySpan<T>.

Span<T> and memory

A Span<T> represents a contiguous region of arbitrary memory. A Span<T> instance is often used to hold the elements of an array or a portion of an array. Unlike an array, however, a Span<T> instance can point to managed memory, native memory, or memory managed on the stack. The following example creates a Span<Byte> from an array:

// Create a span over an array.
var array = new byte[100];
var arraySpan = new Span<byte>(array);

byte data = 0;
for (int ctr = 0; ctr < arraySpan.Length; ctr++)
   arraySpan[ctr] = data++;

int arraySum = 0;
foreach (var value in array)
   arraySum += value;

Console.WriteLine($"The sum is {arraySum}");
// Output:  The sum is 4950

The following example creates a Span<Byte> from 100 bytes of native memory:

// Create a span from native memory.
var native = Marshal.AllocHGlobal(100);
Span<byte> nativeSpan;
unsafe {
    nativeSpan = new Span<byte>(native.ToPointer(), 100);
}
byte data = 0;
for (int ctr = 0; ctr < nativeSpan.Length; ctr++)
   nativeSpan[ctr] = data++;

int nativeSum = 0;
foreach (var value in nativeSpan)    
   nativeSum += value;

Console.WriteLine($"The sum is {nativeSum}");    
Marshal.FreeHGlobal(native);
// Output:  The sum is 4950

The following example uses the C# stackalloc keyword to allocate 100 bytes of memory on the stack:

// Create a span on the stack.
byte data = 0;
Span<byte> stackSpan = stackalloc byte[100];
for (int ctr = 0; ctr < stackSpan.Length; ctr++)
   stackSpan[ctr] = data++;

int stackSum = 0;
foreach (var value in stackSpan)    
   stackSum += value;

Console.WriteLine($"The sum is {stackSum}");    
// Output:  The sum is 4950

Because Span<T> is an abstraction over an arbitrary block of memory, methods of the Span<T> class and methods with Span<T> parameters operate on any Span<T> object regardless of the kind of memory it encapsulates. For example, each of the separate sections of code that initialize the span and calculate the sum of its elements can be changed into single initialization and calculation methods, as the following example illustrates:

public static void WorkWithSpans()
{
    // Create a span over an array.
    var array = new byte[100];
    var arraySpan = new Span<byte>(array);
    
    InitializeSpan(arraySpan);
    Console.WriteLine($"The sum is {ComputeSum(arraySpan):N0}");    

    // Create an array from native memory.
    var native = Marshal.AllocHGlobal(100);
    Span<byte> nativeSpan;
    unsafe {
        nativeSpan = new Span<byte>(native.ToPointer(), 100);
    }

    InitializeSpan(nativeSpan);
    Console.WriteLine($"The sum is {ComputeSum(arraySpan):N0}");    
    
    Marshal.FreeHGlobal(native);

    // Create a span on the stack.
    Span<byte> stackSpan = stackalloc byte[100];

    InitializeSpan(stackSpan);
    Console.WriteLine($"The sum is {ComputeSum(arraySpan):N0}");    
}        

public static void InitializeSpan(Span<byte> span)
{
    byte value = 0;
    for (int ctr = 0; ctr < span.Length; ctr++)
        span[ctr] = value++;
}

public static int ComputeSum(Span<byte> span)
{
    int sum = 0;
    foreach (var value in span)
       sum += value;

    return sum;
}
// The example displays the following output:
//    The sum is 4,950
//    The sum is 4,950
//    The sum is 4,950

Span<T> and arrays

When it wraps an array, Span<T> can wrap an entire array, as it did in the examples in the Span<T> and memory section. Because it supports slicing, Span<T> can also point to any contiguous range within the array.

The following example creates a slice of the middle five elements of a 10-element integer array. Note that the code doubles the values of each integer in the slice. As the output shows, the changes made by the span are reflected in the values of the array.

using System;

namespace span
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            var array = new int[] { 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 };
            var slice = new Span<int>(array, 2, 5);
            for (int ctr = 0; ctr < slice.Length; ctr++)
               slice[ctr] *= 2;
            
            // Examine the original array values.
            foreach (var value in array)
                Console.Write($"{value}  ");
            Console.WriteLine();
        }
    }
}
// The example displays the following output:
//      2  4  12  16  20  24  28  16  18  20

Span<T> and slices

Span<T> includes two overloads of the Slice method that form a slice out of the current span that starts at a specified index. This makes it possible to treat the data in a Span<T> as a set of logical chunks that can be processed as needed by portions of a data processing pipeline with minimal performance impact. For example, since modern server protocols are often text-based, manipulation of strings and substrings is particularly important. In the String class, the major method for extracting substrings is Substring. For data pipelines that rely on extensive string manipulation, its use offers some performance penalties, since it:

  1. Creates a new string to hold the substring.

  2. Copies a subset of the characters from the original string to the new string.

This allocation and copy operation can be eliminated by using either Span<T> or ReadOnlySpan<T>, as the following example shows:

using System;

class Program
{
    static void Main()
    {
        string contentLength = "Content-Length: 132";
        var length = GetContentLength(contentLength.ToCharArray());	
        Console.WriteLine($"Content length: {length}"); 
    }

    private static int GetContentLength(ReadOnlySpan<char> span)
    {
        var slice = span.Slice(16);
	return Int32.Parse(slice);	
    }
}
// Output:
//      Content length: 132

Constructors

Span<T>(T[]) Span<T>(T[]) Span<T>(T[]) Span<T>(T[])

Creates a new Span<T> object over the entirety of a specified array.

Span<T>(Void*, Int32) Span<T>(Void*, Int32) Span<T>(Void*, Int32) Span<T>(Void*, Int32)

Creates a new Span<T> object from a specified number of bytes starting at a specified memory address.

Span<T>(T[], Int32, Int32) Span<T>(T[], Int32, Int32) Span<T>(T[], Int32, Int32) Span<T>(T[], Int32, Int32)

Creates a new Span<T> object that includes a specified number of elements of an array starting at a specified index.

Properties

Empty Empty Empty Empty

Returns an empty Span<T> object.

IsEmpty IsEmpty IsEmpty IsEmpty

Returns a value that indicates whether the current Span<T> is empty.

Item[Int32] Item[Int32] Item[Int32] Item[Int32]

Gets or sets the element at the specified zero-based index.

Length Length Length Length

Returns the length of the current span.

Methods

Clear() Clear() Clear() Clear()

Clears the contents of this Span<T> object.

CopyTo(Span<T>) CopyTo(Span<T>) CopyTo(Span<T>) CopyTo(Span<T>)

Copies the contents of this Span<T> into a destination Span<T>.

Equals(Object) Equals(Object) Equals(Object) Equals(Object)

Calls to this method are not supported.

Fill(T) Fill(T) Fill(T) Fill(T)

Fills the elements of this span with a specified value.

GetEnumerator() GetEnumerator() GetEnumerator() GetEnumerator()

Returns an enumerator for this Span<T>.

GetHashCode() GetHashCode() GetHashCode() GetHashCode()

Throws a NotSupportedException.

GetPinnableReference() GetPinnableReference() GetPinnableReference() GetPinnableReference()

Returns a reference to the element of the Span<T> at index zero.

Slice(Int32) Slice(Int32) Slice(Int32) Slice(Int32)

Forms a slice out of the current span that begins at a specified index.

Slice(Int32, Int32) Slice(Int32, Int32) Slice(Int32, Int32) Slice(Int32, Int32)

Forms a slice out of the current span starting at a specified index for a specified length.

ToArray() ToArray() ToArray() ToArray()

Copies the contents of this span into a new array.

ToString() ToString() ToString() ToString()

Returns the string representation of this Span<T> object.

TryCopyTo(Span<T>) TryCopyTo(Span<T>) TryCopyTo(Span<T>) TryCopyTo(Span<T>)

Attempts to copy the current Span<T> to a destination Span<T> and returns a value that indicates whether the copy operation succeeded.

Operators

Equality(Span<T>, Span<T>) Equality(Span<T>, Span<T>) Equality(Span<T>, Span<T>) Equality(Span<T>, Span<T>)

Returns a value that indicates whether two Span<T> objects are equal.

Implicit(Span<T> to ReadOnlySpan<T>) Implicit(Span<T> to ReadOnlySpan<T>) Implicit(Span<T> to ReadOnlySpan<T>) Implicit(Span<T> to ReadOnlySpan<T>)

Defines an implicit conversion of a Span<T> to a ReadOnlySpan<T>.

Implicit(T[] to Span<T>) Implicit(T[] to Span<T>) Implicit(T[] to Span<T>) Implicit(T[] to Span<T>)

Defines an implicit conversion of an array to a Span<T>.

Implicit(ArraySegment<T> to Span<T>) Implicit(ArraySegment<T> to Span<T>) Implicit(ArraySegment<T> to Span<T>) Implicit(ArraySegment<T> to Span<T>)

Defines an implicit conversion of an ArraySegment<T> to a Span<T>.

Inequality(Span<T>, Span<T>) Inequality(Span<T>, Span<T>) Inequality(Span<T>, Span<T>) Inequality(Span<T>, Span<T>)

Returns a value that indicates whether two Span<T> objects are not equal.

Extension Methods

BinarySearch<T>(Span<T>, IComparable<T>) BinarySearch<T>(Span<T>, IComparable<T>) BinarySearch<T>(Span<T>, IComparable<T>) BinarySearch<T>(Span<T>, IComparable<T>)
BinarySearch<T,TComparer>(Span<T>, T, TComparer) BinarySearch<T,TComparer>(Span<T>, T, TComparer) BinarySearch<T,TComparer>(Span<T>, T, TComparer) BinarySearch<T,TComparer>(Span<T>, T, TComparer)
BinarySearch<T,TComparable>(Span<T>, TComparable) BinarySearch<T,TComparable>(Span<T>, TComparable) BinarySearch<T,TComparable>(Span<T>, TComparable) BinarySearch<T,TComparable>(Span<T>, TComparable)
EndsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) EndsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) EndsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) EndsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T) IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T) IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T) IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T)
IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) IndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T)
IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T)
IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) IndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T) LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T) LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T) LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, T)
LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) LastIndexOf<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T)
LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, T, T, T)
LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) LastIndexOfAny<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>, Int32) Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>, Int32) Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>, Int32) Overlaps<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>, Int32)
Reverse<T>(Span<T>) Reverse<T>(Span<T>) Reverse<T>(Span<T>) Reverse<T>(Span<T>)
SequenceCompareTo<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) SequenceCompareTo<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) SequenceCompareTo<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) SequenceCompareTo<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
SequenceEqual<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) SequenceEqual<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) SequenceEqual<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) SequenceEqual<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)
StartsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) StartsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) StartsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>) StartsWith<T>(Span<T>, ReadOnlySpan<T>)

Applies to