Creating and Manipulating Collections

The most common collections are provided by the .NET Framework. You can use any of them or create your own collection based on one of them. Each collection is designed for specific purposes. The members included in each System.Collections class reflect the purpose of the collection. In addition, the generic collections in System.Collections.Generic make it easy to create strongly typed collections.

If you decide to implement your own collection, use the following guidelines:

  • Start with the right base class and interfaces. See Selecting a Collection Class for tips on how to choose a collection type.

  • Consider making your collection strongly typed. Strongly typed collections provide automatic type validation and avoid processes that adversely affect performance, such as boxing and unboxing and conversions. If your language supports generics, use one of the System.Collections.Generic types. If your language does not support generics, System.Collections.Specialized contains examples of strongly typed collections.

  • Consider providing synchronization in your class. See Collections and Synchronization (Thread Safety) for details.

In This Section


  • Collections and Data Structures
    Discusses the various collection types available in the .NET Framework, including stacks, queues, lists, arrays, and structs.