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Review of VB.NET Data Storage Structures
Part one of an eight-part series of blogs

There are a bewildering array (excuse the pun) of data storage structures available to you in Visual Basic. Choose from arrays, ArrayLists, SortedLists, Dictionaries, HashTables, Lists and DataTables, among others. This blog gives an example of each type of structure, and benchmarks them to show which perform best and worst.

  1. VB.NET Data Storage Types Compared and Benchmarked (this blog)
  2. VB.NET Benchmarking Test of speeds of data structures
  3. Arrays - Visual Basic data structures
  4. ArrayLists and SortedLists - Visual Basic data structures
  5. Dictionaries and HashTables - Visual Basic data structures
  6. Lists - Visual Basic data structures
  7. Using data tables - Visual Basic data structures
  8. Benchmark Results and Recommendations

Posted by Andy Brown on 24 August 2011

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VB.NET Data Storage Types Compared and Benchmarked

Just been looking on the web for an article comparing all the many and confusing data storage structures in Visual Basic 2010 (or earlier).  I've failed to find one, so thought I'd blog about it in the hope that it might help others in the same position.

This blog doesn't claim to be a technical guide to the ins and outs of every possible data structure.  Instead, its aim is to help you decide which structures you want to learn about, and which you can safely ignore.

The blog is divided into the following parts:

Number Part Notes
1 This page Introducing the blog, and explainng the ground rules
2 The test Explaining the benchmarking test involved
3 Arrays The concepts and code behind using static and dynamic arrays
4 ArrayLists and SortedLists The concepts and code for ArrayList structures, and how SortedList structures differ
Dictionaries and hashtables How dictionaries and hashtables work, and the code used
6 Lists Using lists to store text items, and the code used
7 Data tables Using a data table to store data in rows and columns
8 Conclusions and recommendations The results of running the various tests (for small and large data sets), together with my tentative recommendations for which data type to use

I found dot net perls to be the most useful site for getting examples of the different data structures.

Informed and helpful comments welcome!

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