Whether a Dictionary can have Array as Key?

Am Facing a problem in Dictionaries. Whether an Array can be a Key of a Value???

Dictionary<string[], int> di = new Dictionary<string[], int>();
di.Add(new string[]
}, 1);

di.Add(new string[]
}, 2);

MessageBox.Show(di[new string[] { "2", "3" }].ToString()); // Here KeyNotFoundException occurred.

Why Exception?


By default only references of the arrays would be compared, so you either have to

  1. provide a custom IEqualityComparer<string[]> or
  2. use a Tuple<string, string> as key instead ( since you only have two strings)

Here's a similar question's answer which shows how to create a custom comparer for the Dictionary- constructor.

No, actually you should not use arrays as a Dictionary<> Key; Dictionary<> when works with keys uses their hash codes which are computed as addresses:

String[] a = new[]{"1", "2"}; 
String[] b = new[]{"1", "2"}; 

a.GetHashCode() == b.GetHashCode(); // <- false

Arrays a and b have different addresses, and so different hash codes that's why

di.Add(a, 1); 
di[b]; // <- error since a.GetHashCode() != b.GetHashCode() 

Because a the Equals and GetHashCode functions of an array don't compare the content but the reference of the array himself.

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