Data Structure - Overview

Overview

  • An array data structure stores a number of elements of the same type in a specific order. They are accessed using an integer to specify which element is required (although the elements may be of almost any type). Arrays may be fixed-length or expandable.
  • Record (also called tuple or struct) Records are among the simplest data structures. A record is a value that contains other values, typically in fixed number and sequence and typically indexed by names. The elements of records are usually called fields or members.
  • A hash or dictionary or map is a more flexible variation on a record, in which name-value pairs can be added and deleted freely.
  • Union. A union type definition will specify which of a number of permitted primitive types may be stored in its instances, e.g. "float or long integer". Contrast with a record, which could be defined to contain a float and an integer; whereas, in a union, there is only one value at a time.
  • A tagged union (also called a variant, variant record, discriminated union, or disjoint union) contains an additional field indicating its current type, for enhanced type safety.
  • A set is an abstract data structure that can store specific values, without any particular order, and no repeated values. Values themselves are not retrieved from sets, rather one tests a value for membership to obtain a boolean "in" or "not in".
  • An object contains a number of data fields, like a record, and also a number of program code fragments for accessing or modifying them. Data structures not containing code, like those above, are called plain old data structure.

Many others are possible, but they tend to be further variations and compounds of the above.

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