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Destructor (Java and C# Cross Reference Guide)

By Mike Prestwood

Java versus C#: A side by side comparison between Java and C#.

OOP Details

More object oriented (OO) stuff.


[Other Languages] 

General Info: Class Destructor

A special class method called when an object instance of a class is destroyed. With some languages they are called when the object instance goes out of scope, with some languages you specifically have to call the destructor in code to destroy the object, and others use a garbage collector to dispose of object instances at specific times.

Desctructors are commonly used to free the object instance but with languages that have a garbage collector object instances are disposed of when appropriate. Either way, destructors or their equivalent are commonly used to free up resources allocated in the class constructor.

Languages Focus

Are object instances freed with a garbage collector? Or, do you have to destroy object instances.

Java:  "finalize" finalize()

Java has a garbage collection algorythm that runs as a background task so it has no destructors. You can use the finalize() method to close additonal resources such as file handles.

Syntax Example:
protected void finalize() throws Throwable {
try {
close(); // close open files
} finally {
C#:  "Finalizer" ~ClassName

In C# you cannot explicitly destroy a managed object. Instead, the .Net Framework's garbage collector (GC) takes care of destroying all objects. The GC destroys the objects only when necessary. Some situations of necessity are when memory is exhausted or you explicitly call the System.GC.Collect() method. In general, you never need to call System.GC.Collect().

In .Net, a finalizer is used to free non-managed objects such as a file or network resource. In C#, a finalizer is a method with the same name as the class but preceded with a tilde (as in ~ClassName). The finalizer method implicity creates an Object.Finalize method (you cannot directly call nor override the Object.Finalize method). Because you don't know when the garbage collector will call your finalizer, Microsoft recommends you implement the IDisposable interface for non-managed resources and call it's Dispose() method at the appropriate time.

Syntax Example:
class Cyborg {
//Destructor for class Cyborg.
  //Free non-managed resources here.

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