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DataTable in C#

On February 17, 2004 Articles | ADO.NET
The ADO.NET DataSet is a data construct that can contain several relational rowsets, the relations that link those rowsets, and the metadata for each rowset. The DataSet also tracks which fields have changed, their new values and their original values, and can store custom information in its Extended Properties collection. The DataSet can be exported to XML or created from an XML document, thus enabling increased interoperability between applications.
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Understanding StreamingContext Structure

Describes the source and destination of a given serialized stream is as well as a means for serialization to retain that context and an additional caller-defined context.

[Serializable]
public struct
StreamingContext

Any public static members of this type are safe for multithreaded operations. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe. Indicates are the source or destination of the bits that the formatter is using. Classes with surrogates or implementing ISerializable can serialize or ignore fields and values based on the information stored in the streaming context. For example, a window handle is still valid if State has the State CrossProcess value set, but not with the CrossMachine or File value set.

The following code example demonstrates the StreamingContext struct.

using System;
using
System.Runtime.Serialization;
[Serializable()]
public class
ExampleClass: ISerializable
{
public static void
Main() {}
// A handle to a window that has meaning only at this time and on this computer.
public int
WindowsHandle;
public double value
= 3.14159265358;
// Serialization constructor.
public
ExampleClass (SerializationInfo info, StreamingContext context)
{
// If this is a serialization to another process, WindowsHandle must be deserialized.
if
(context.State == StreamingContextStates.CrossProcess)
{
WindowsHandle = (
int)info.GetValue("WindowsHandle", typeof(int
));
}
else

{
// If this is a serialization from anywhere else, set WindowsHandle to a default value.
WindowsHandle = -1;
}
// Deserializes the value.
value = (double)info.GetValue("ExampleClass_value", typeof(double
));
}
// Serializes the object.
public void
GetObjectData(SerializationInfo info, StreamingContext context)
{
// Serializes the value.
info.AddValue("ExampleClass_value", value
);
// If this object is going not to another process but to a different computer,
// WindowsHandle has no meaning, and does not need to be serialized.
if
(context.State == StreamingContextStates.CrossProcess)
{
info.AddValue("WindowsHandle", WindowsHandle);
}
}
}

A Soft Landing to DataTable

As we remember, a DataTable is stores data in a similar form to a database table. The DataTable class is a central class in the ADO.NET architecture. It can be used independently, and in DataSet objects. A DataTable consists of Columns, Rows, and a Constraints collection.

A DataColumn defines the column name and datatype. We can create a new DataColumn using the DataColumn constructor or by invoking the Add method of the DataTable.Columns collection property. The DataColumn is the fundamental building block for creating the schema of a DataTable. We build the schema by adding one or more DataColumn objects to the DataColumnCollection. For more information, see Adding Columns to a Table. Each DataColumn has a DataType property that determines the kind of data the DataColumn contains. For example, we can restrict the data type to integers, or strings, or decimals. Because data contained by the DataTable is usually merged back into its original data source, we must match the data types to those in the data source.

DataColumn FirstColumn == new DataColumn("ISBN", Type.GetType("System.Int32");

Properties are such as AllowDBNull, Unique, and ReadOnly place restrictions on the entry and updating of data, thereby helping to ensure data integrity. We can also use the AutoIncrement, AutoIncrementSeed, and AutoIncrementStep properties to control automatic data generation. For more information about AutoIncrement columns, see Creating AutoIncrement Columns. For more information, see Defining a Primary Key for a Table. We can also ensure that values in a DataColumn are unique by creating a UniqueConstraint and adding it to the ConstraintCollection of the DataTable to which the DataColumn belongs. For more information, see Adding Constraints to a Table.

To create a relation between DataColumn objects, create a DataRelation object and add it to the DataRelationCollection of a DataSet. We can use the Expression property of the DataColumn object calculate the values in a column, or create an aggregate column.

private void MakeTable(DataTable firstTable)
{
// Create a DataTable. DataTable firstTable = new DataTable("firstTable");
// Create a DataColumn and set various properties.
DataColumn firstColumn = new DataColumn();
firstColumn.DataType = System.Type.GetType("System.Decimal");
firstColumn.AllowDBNull = false;
firstColumn.Caption = "Price";
firstColumn.ColumnName = "Price";
firstColumn.DefaultValue = 25;
// Add the column to the table.
firstTable.Columns.Add(firstColumn);
// Add 10 rows and set values.
DataRow firstRow;
for(int
i = 0; i < 10; i++)
{
firstRow = firstTable.NewRow(); firstRow["Price"] = i + 1;
// Be sure to add the new row to the DataRowCollection.
firstTable.Rows.Add(firstRow);
}

The DataRow and DataColumn objects are primary components of a DataTable. Use the DataRow object and its properties and methods to retrieve and evaluate; and insert, delete, and update the values in the DataTable. The DataRowCollection represents the actual DataRow objects in the DataTable, and the DataColumnCollection contains the DataColumn objects that describe the schema of the DataTable. Use the overloaded Item property to return or sets the value of a DataColumn. Use the HasVersion and IsNull properties to determine the status of a particular row value, and the RowState property to determine the state of the row in relation to its parent DataTable.

To create a new DataRow, use the NewRow method of the DataTable object. After creating a new DataRow, use the Add method to add the new DataRow to the DataRowCollection. Finally, call the AcceptChanges method of the DataTable object to confirm the addition. For more information about adding data to a DataTable, see Adding Data to a Table. We can delete a DataRow from the DataRowCollection by calling the Remove method of the DataRowCollection, or by calling the Delete method of the DataRow object. The Remove removes the row from the collection. In contrast, Delete marks the DataRow for removal. The actual removal occurs when we call AcceptChanges method. By calling Delete, we can programmatically check which rows are marked for removal before actually deleting them.

private void CreateNewDataRow()
{
// Use the MakeTable function below to create a new table.
DataTable firstTable;
firstTable = MakeNamesTable();
// Once a table has been created, use the NewRow to create a DataRow.
DataRow firstRow;
firstRow = firstTable.NewRow();
// Then add the new row to the collection.
firstRow["FirstName"] = "John";
firstRow["LastName"] = "Smith";
firstTable.Rows.Add(firstRow);
foreach(DataColumn dc in
firstTable.Columns)
Console.WriteLine(dc.ColumnName);
dataGrid1.DataSource=firstTable;
}
private
DataTable MakeNamesTable()
{
// Create a new DataTable titled 'Names.'
DataTable namesTable = new
DataTable("Names");
// Add three column objects to the table.
DataColumn idColumn = new DataColumn();
idColumn.DataType = System.Type.GetType("System.Int32");
idColumn.ColumnName = "id";
idColumn.AutoIncrement =
true
;
namesTable.Columns.Add(idColumn);
DataColumn FirstNameColumn =
new
DataColumn();
FirstNameColumn.DataType = System.Type.GetType("System.String");
FirstNameColumn.ColumnName = "FirstName";
FirstNameColumn.DefaultValue = "FirstName";
namesTable.Columns.Add(FirstNameColumn);
DataColumn LastNameColumn =
new
DataColumn();
LastNameColumn.DataType = System.Type.GetType("System.String");
LastNameColumn.ColumnName = "LastName";
namesTable.Columns.Add(LastNameColumn);
// Create an array for DataColumn objects.
DataColumn [] keys = new
DataColumn [1];
keys[0] = idColumn;
namesTable.PrimaryKey = keys;
// Return the new DataTable.
return
namesTable;
}

Relational databases enforce data integrity with constraints, or rules applied to a column hat defines what action to take when data in a related column or row is changed. In ADO.NET there re two types of constraints; ForeignKeyConstraint and UniqueConstraint. A constraint is a rule used to maintain the integrity of the data in the DataTable. For example, when we delete a value that is used in one or more related tables, a ForeignKeyConstraint determines whether the values in the related tables are also deleted, set to null values, set to default values, or whether no action occurs. A UniqueConstraint, on the other hand, simply ensures that all values within a particular table are unique. A base Constraint constructor is not used. Primary or unique key constraints are created using the UniqueConstraint constructor, and foreign key constraints are created using the ForeignKeyConstraint constructor.

private void GetConstraints(DataTable firstTable)
{
Console.WriteLine();
// Print the table's name.
Console.WriteLine("TableName: " + firstTable.TableName);
// Iterate through the collection and print each name and type value.
foreach(Constraint cs in
firstTable.Constraints )
{
Console.WriteLine("Constraint Name: " + cs.ConstraintName);
Console.WriteLine("Type: " + cs.GetType().ToString());
// If the constraint is a UniqueConstraint, print its properties using
// a function below.
if(cs is
UniqueConstraint)
{
PrintUniqueConstraintProperties(cs);
}
// If the constraint is a ForeignKeyConstraint, print its properties
// using a function below.
if(cs is
ForeignKeyConstraint)
{
PrintForeigKeyConstraintProperties(cs);
}
}
}
private void PrintUniqueConstraintProperties(Constraint cs)
{

UniqueConstraint uCS;
uCS = (UniqueConstraint) cs;
// Get the Columns as an array.
DataColumn[] colArray;
colArray = uCS.Columns;
// Print each column's name.
for(int
i = 0;i<colArray.Length ;i++)
{
Console.WriteLine("Column Name: " + colArray[i].ColumnName);
}
}
private void
PrintForeigKeyConstraintProperties(Constraint cs)
{
ForeignKeyConstraint fkeyCS;

fkeyCS = (ForeignKeyConstraint) cs;
// Get the Columns as an array.
DataColumn[] colArray;
colArray = fkeyCS.Columns;
// Print each column's name.
for(int
i = 0;i<colArray.Length ;i++)
{
Console.WriteLine("Column Name: " + colArray[i].ColumnName);
}
Console.WriteLine();
// Get the related columns and print each columns name.
colArray = fkeyCS.RelatedColumns ;
for(int
i = 0;i<colArray.Length ;i++)
{
Console.WriteLine("Related Column Name: " + colArray[i].ColumnName);
}
Console.WriteLine();
}

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