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Archive for August 14th, 2013

.NET/C#: UnitPrefixes class that facilitates distinguishing decimal and binary file/drive/memory size (mega versus mibi, etc)

Posted by jpluimers on 2013/08/14

Everyone knows there is a size difference between a gigabyte of memory, and a gigabyte of disk space.

The former is 1024*1024*1024, the latter is 1000*1000*1000.

To facilitate this, I’ve created a C# class UnitPrefixes containing quite a few constants and readonly values.

The class is below, but a few interesting facts first:

  • Most values are const, but a few are readonly static variables because they cannot calculated at compile time (the C# compiler by design does very limited calculations at compile time; it is complex enough as it already is).
    As Jon Skeet explains, there are some other differences between const and readonly static, which is why I favour const.
  • Though all consts are positive, I could have used UInt32 and UInt64, but the .NET framework favours signed Int32 and Int64 types for parameters, so to avoid casting, I used the signed ones.
  • There is no Int128 or UInt128, but there is System.Numerics.BigInteger which I use for values too large for 64-bit integers.
    Note that BigInteger is relatively new, so this code will only work in C# 4 or higher, and requires .NET 4 or higher.
    This is also the place where I use the public readonly static fields, as I need to call the BigInteger constructor to initialize it.
  • I used the Decimal type, as the mantissa holds up to 28 digits of accuracy.

I used the Wikipedia pages Binary Prefix and Metric Prefix (I could also have used File Size) for the unit names and abbreviations.

Note that BitsPerByte is a const I needed too, and I will probably add constants for 512 and 4096, as you see those often in computing as well.

The below sample code is also available as a changeset on Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in .NET, .NET 4.0, .NET 4.5, C#, C# 4.0, C# 5.0, Development, Software Development | Leave a Comment »

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