Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dynamic Array - Scalar Variables and Array Variables

Scalar Variables and Array Variables
Much of the time, you just want to assign a single value to a variable you've declared. A variable containing a single value is a scalar variable. Other times, it's convenient to assign more than one related value to a single variable. Then you can create a variable that can contain a series of values. This is called an array variable. Array variables and scalar variables are declared in the same way, except that the declaration of an array variable uses parentheses ( ) following the variable name. In the following example, a single-dimension array containing 11 elements is declared:
 Dim A(10)
Although the number shown in the parentheses is 10, all arrays in VBScript are zero-based, so this array actually contains 11 elements. In a zero-based array, the number of array elements is always the number shown in parentheses plus one. This kind of array is called a fixed-size array.

You assign data to each of the elements of the array using an index into the array. Beginning at zero and ending at 10, data can be assigned to the elements of an array as follows:

 A(0) = 256
A(1) = 324
A(2) = 100
. . .
A(10) = 55
Similarly, the data can be retrieved from any element using an index into the particular array element you want. For example:
 . . .
SomeVariable = A(8)
. . .
Arrays aren't limited to a single dimension. You can have as many as 60 dimensions, although most people can't comprehend more than three or four dimensions. Multiple dimensions are declared by separating an array's size numbers in the parentheses with commas. In the following example, the MyTable variable is a two-dimensional array consisting of 6 rows and 11 columns:
 Dim MyTable(5, 10)
In a two-dimensional array, the first number is always the number of rows; the second number is the number of columns.

You can also declare an array whose size changes during the time your script is running. This is called a dynamic array. The array is initially declared within a procedure using either the Dim statement or using the ReDim statement. However, for a dynamic array, no size or number of dimensions is placed inside the parentheses. For example:

 Dim MyArray()
ReDim AnotherArray()
To use a dynamic array, you must subsequently use ReDim to determine the number of dimensions and the size of each dmension. In the following example, ReDim sets the initial size of the dynamic array to 25. A subsequent ReDim statement resizes the array to 30, but uses the Preserve keyword to preserve the contents of the array as the resizing takes place.
 ReDim MyArray(25)
. . .
ReDim Preserve MyArray(30)
There is no limit to the number of times you can resize a dynamic array, but you should know that if you make an array smaller than it was, you lose the data in the eliminated elements.

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