Pass a method to another method in C#

Pass a method to another method

This example shows how you can use delegates to pass a method to another method.

The example Plot an equation containing two variables in C# shows how to draw a graph of a function even if you don’t really understand its shape ahead of time. That example’s PlotFunction method invokes the function F1 to get values for the function to plot.

The PlotFunction method would be a lot more useful if it could plot lots of different functions. This example shows how you can use delegates to let it do just that.

A delegate is basically a pointer or address for a method. You can make a delegate type that indicates a specific type of method, such as one that takes two float parameters and returns void, or one that takes no parameters and returns an int.

After you define a delegate type, you can create variables of that type, assign them to point to a particular method, and invoke them.

This example uses the following code to define a delegate type named FofXY. This represents a method that takes two float parameters and returns a float value.

// Define a delegate type named FofXY.
private delegate float FofXY(float x, float y);

The program’s DrawGraph method prepares a Bitmap to hold the graph and then calls PlotFunction to do the actual plotting. The following code shows DrawGraph‘s declaration. Notice the parameter of type FofXY.

// Draw the indicated function.
private void DrawGraph(FofXY func)

The DrawGraph method uses the following code to invoke PlotFunction. Notice how it passes the delegate variable func (declared in its parameter list) into PlotFunction.

PlotFunction(gr, func, -8, -8, 8, 8, dx, dy);

The PlotFunction method’s declaration includes a delegate parameter much as DrawGraph‘s declaration does.

// Plot a function.
private void PlotFunction(Graphics gr, FofXY func,
    float xmin, float ymin, float xmax, float ymax,
    float dx, float dy)

The PlotFunction method uses code similar to the following to invoke the delegate that it is passed.

float last_y = func(x, ymin);

When you click the program’s radio buttons, their event handlers invoke DrawGraph, passing it the appropriate function. For example, when you click the last radio button, the following code calls DrawGraph, passing it the method F4 to generate the result shown at the beginning of this entry.

private void radF4_CheckedChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)

Delegates are just another kind of variable, but they can make methods far more flexible.

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