This FAQ is about "Method Overloading In VB.NET" Level of complexity : intermediate intended audiance : begginers / intermediate may turn helpful to advance users ------------------------------------ For comments/corrections/advice contact E-mail : email@example.com _______________________________________________
Method in an Object Oriented (OO) Language is a sub routine which performs some action on data. Visual Basic .NET is now completly follows OO rules and so we have a new feature which is callled Method Overloading. Any sub routine created using SUB/FUNCTION keyword is actually a Method.
*** In this Documentation Method referes to sub / function procedure created in VB.NET.***
Standard Declaration of Sub procedure _________________________________________
public sub <procedureName> ( <parameter_list>)
Standared Declaration of Function Precedure ____________________________________________
public Function <procedureName> ([ <paramlist ]) _ [as <Returned_Datatype> ]
When Overloading methods is Required ? ================================== Promlem : Generally, objects have members which uses unique names, that differentiate them from other members. Sometimes, our reqirement needs us to be able to create more members with same names this allows programer to provide easyness to the user by allowing user to use single name for different purposes.for instance, consider a scenario where you are required to create routines for adding 2 values. you are informed that values will always be numbers but these can be integers,decimal numbers,dates or other numeric data. In VB6 you don't see any choice but to create routine with varient datatype or you could have created number of different methods for different datatypes. Each has its pros and cons which should be considered. Creating routine with varient is simple but it decrease execution speed because it is a dymanic datatype which can change it self according to the type of data. Creating different versions of addition with different datatypes require you to create routines with unique names like add_int, add_long,add_single,add_double etc. It may seem OK to you but the user of your application will have to remember and call correct version of routine otherwise he may crash your application.
Solution : The solution lies in method overloading where more the one members of an object/class can have same names. So, you can create different methods (routines) haveing same name which gives great ease to your user and also minimize the chances of errors. How? By overloading methods which allows multiple members of an object to have same name so, you would have created
public overloads sub add(x as integer, y as integer) Addition code here .... End Sub
public overloads sub add(x as long, y as long) Addition code here .... End Sub
Method overloading referes to as a way of creating more the one sub/function precedures (methods) having same name with different implementations. This is done through "OVERLOADS" keyword.
public Overloads sub message()
2. Overloads keyword's position in declaration ===================================
Overloads keyword is placed just after defining scope (public/private/protected/friend/protected friend) and before sub/function keywork.
3. Must be used with all members Or with None of Them ====================================== "Overloads" must be used with all methods of the same name (which are created to be overload). for emaple if 3 methods are named "Values" then "overloads" keyword will be used with all 3 declarations. If overloaded methods reside in a same class then you may ommit "overloads" keyworkd
public class Demo()
public sub Values(byval x as integer, byval _ y as integer) Code goes here .... End sub
public sub Values(byval x as long, byval _ y as long) Code goes here .... End sub
public sub values(byval x as single, byval _ y as single) Code goes here .... End sub
Overloads keyword is ommited because all overloaded members belong to the same class.
4. overloaded methods must have ======================== (I) Different number of parametes and /or (II) Different data types in the parameters
One of these two things is required. In the example above methods have parameters of different datatypes.
5. Parameter can be omitted ====================
Parameter can be omitted in an overloaded version of method which recieves parameterin its other declaration. for instace :
public overloads sub message(byval msg as string)
public overloads sub message()
6. Note about Returned parameter ====================== To uniquly identify an overloaded method its recieving parameters must be different whether through different datatypes or through different number of parameters. changes in retured datatype is irrespective so the compiler will generate error if recieving parameters are same.
for instance :
public overloads function message (byval msg _ as string) as string
public overloads sub message (byval msg as _ string) as char
such declarations will generate errors because recieving parameters are same.
7. Common routine type ================= Overloaded methods whihc share same name should be of same procedure type i.e. all must be sub or all must be function procedures. mixed type is not allowed.
public overloades sub add(x as integer, y as ineger)
public overloades function add(x as long, y as long)
Is not allowed because one routine is sub and the other one is function.
8. Declared Scope =========== overloaded methods may have different scopes. for instance :
public overloades sub add(x as integer, y as integer)
private overloades sub add(x as long, y as long)
It is allowed.
9. Use of Optional parameter ===================== optional parameter can be declared but they are not counted. i.e. if first overloaded method have 2 parameter and second overloaded method have 3 parameters (2 required + 1 optional) then second overloaded method will be considerd to have only 2 parameters because optional parameter is irrespective of uniquly indentifying an overloaded method just like returned parameter is. for instance :
public overloades sub add(x as integer, y as integer)
Cdoe here .... End Sub
public overloades sub add(x as long, y as integer,_ optional z as integer) code here .... End Sub
Remember : ======== * only single parameter's datatype need to be unique if there exists multiple parameters
* method overloading is required when creating multiple memberes of a single class which shares a common name. They all can belong to a single class or can be implemented in Derived class.
* Overloads and Shadows keyword can not be used simultaneously in a single declaration.
* overloads keyword can also be used to overload properties
* method or property overloading can be inherited i.e. inherited classes can also overload methods of their own and also of their base classes. If derived class need to overload Base class method then "Overloads" keyword must be used with declaration in derived class.
* Base class can declare method with keyword "overridable"(default behaviour) to allow derived classes to overload that method with the same parameters as in Base class. for using "overrides", parameters in Base and derived classes should match (by numbers and by datatypes). Also derived class should use "overrides" keyword in method declaration.