Workaround: Arrays with non-zero lower bounds


Posted by: Phil Weber, VB MVP
This post applies to Visual Basic .NET 2002/2003/2005


OK, now that Paul Vick has explained why VB.NET doesn’t support arrays with non-zero lower bounds, let’s see how we can do them anyway. 😉


Say you want to store a collection of annual values in an array of integers. It’s reasonable that the array index would correspond to the year in question; that is, TotalSales(1981) would contain the sales total for the year 1981.


In pre-.NET versions of VB, we could simply do this:

    Dim TotalSales(1981 To 2000) As Integer
Problem solved. But as Paul has explained, VB.NET no longer lets us do that. We can, however, do this:
    Dim TotalSales As New VBArray(1981, 2000)
    TotalSales(1981) = 345
    TotalSales(2000) = 995
    Console.WriteLine(TotalSales(1981))
    Console.WriteLine(TotalSales(2000))

I can live with that, how about you?


This class (based on this post by Eric Gunnerson) is what makes it all possible:

Public Class VBArray
    Private _lbound As Integer
    Private _int() As Integer

    Public Sub New(ByVal LBound As IntegerByVal UBound As Integer)
        Me.ReDim(LBoundUBound)
    End Sub

    Public Sub [ReDim](ByVal LBound As IntegerByVal UBound As Integer)
        _lbound = LBound
        ReDim _int(UBound  LBound + 1)
    End Sub

    Default Public Property Item(ByVal Index As IntegerAs Integer
        Get
            Return _int(Index  _lbound)
        End Get
        Set(ByVal Value As Integer)
            _int(Index  _lbound= Value
        End Set
    End Property

    Public Function ToArray() As Integer()
        Return _int
    End Function
End Class
I’ve included a ToArray method which returns the underlying array, in case you need to pass it to another method, or manipulate it in other array-type ways.


Note that this class is hard-coded to handle Integers; in VB.NET 2002/2003, you must create a separate class for each array type you wish to simulate. Generics in Visual Basic .NET 2005 will make this sort of thing much cleaner.