TList

From Free Pascal wiki

TList or TFPList

TList is a class that can be used to manage collections of pointers. It introduces methods and properties to store the pointers, search in the list of pointers, sort them. It manages its memory by itself, no intervention for that is needed (but, of course, it does not manage the memory of what ever your pointers point to). It has an event notification mechanism which allows to notify of list changes. This slows down some of TList mechanisms, and if no notification is used, TFPList may be used instead.

Both TList and TFPList are declared in classes and that usually is already in your uses clause.

The 'managed pointers' may conveniently point to, for example, records, just about an record you care to define.

Here is a very basic unit that will manage a set of notes about some friends of mine -

type
  	PNote=^TNote;
  	TNote = record
		Name : ANSIString;
        IsSilly : boolean;
        NumbHeads : integer;
	end;

type
    // Note we can use TFPList (faster) or TList (and get event notification)
   TNoteList = class(TList)
   private
    	function Get(Index: integer): PNote;
    public
        destructor Destroy; override;
        function Add(ANote : PNote) : integer;
        function FindName(const Name : ANSIString) : PNote;
        property Items[Index: integer]: PNote read Get; default;
    end;


implementation

function TNoteList.Get(Index: integer): PNote;
begin
    Result := PNote(inherited get(Index));
end;

function TNoteList.Add(ANote: PNote): integer;
begin
    result := inherited Add(ANote);
end;

function TNoteList.FindName(const Name: ANSIString): PNote;
var
    P : PNote;
begin
    Result := Nil;
    for P in self do
        if P^.Name = Name then exit(P);
end;

destructor TNoteList.Destroy;
var
  I : integer;
begin
	for I := 0 to Count-1 do begin
    	dispose(Items[I]);
	end;
	inherited Destroy;
end;                                         
....

In this example, that can use either TList or TFPList, we make a record that will hold one "item of data", and, to make things easy, we also declare a type pointer to that sort of record. Its sensible to put code like this in its own unit, a practical use will almost certainly require a few extra methods to manage the data it self.

To use this example, we need to declare a variable of type TNoteList and then create and destroy it. So, perhaps in a FormCreate we would have -

NoteList := TNoteList.Create;

and in FormDestroy we might have -

NoteList.free;

To load some data we would perhaps use -

procedure AddNote(N: string; Silly: boolean; NHeads: integer);
var
    aPRec : PNote;   // Not a record, just a pointer to one.
begin
    new(aPRec);
    aPRec^.Name := N;
    aPRec^.IsSilly := Silly;
    aPRec^.NumbHeads := NHeads;
    NoteList.Add(aPRec);
end;                
        
procedure TForm1.LoadData();
begin
    AddNote('Joe', False, 1);
    AddNote('Harry', True, 1);
    AddNote('David', True, 2);     // Tasmanian
    AddNote('Boris', False, 1);
end;

and to use that data we might have -

procedure TForm1.UseData();
var
    P : PNote;     // P is a pointer to a note record, somewhere !
begin
    P := NoteList.FindName('David');
    if P <> nil then
        writeln('David has ' + P^.NumbHeads.ToString + ' heads');
    for P in NoteList do
        if P^.IsSilly then
            writeln(P^.Name + ' is silly');
    if NoteList.FindName('George') = nil then
        writeln('George is not listed');
end;

See also