Managed Pointers to Managed Objects (or Aliases for Objects) in C# and Visual Basic .NET

One of the biggest advantages of managed frameworks/platforms like Microsoft’s .NET Framework (and it’s Linux-counterpart, Mono), and Java is that you, as a developer, have a choice of not mucking around with pointers. To be totally honest, with Java you’re forced not to – in C#, it’s a choice you have to make.

There’s plenty of good reasons for not using (unsafe!!) pointers, but that’s not the issue here. The question is, what if you want something to “point” to another object, and synchronize it’s value automatically, without resorting to unsafe pointers? There’s actually a quite simple answer using just a single line of C# code.

Whereas in C++ you could write something like what appears below, in C# you’d have to declare it as unsafe, then jump through a hundred hoops to get it to properly point to a managed object:

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