Tuesday, December 11, 2018 13:46

Incrementing operator

One of the most used operations in programming is incrementing a variable’s value. Incrementing operator is composed of two plus signs: ++ (and has two forms), or a variation of the following two operators: += and =+.

Lets consider the following example:

In the above example, we are assigning a variable the result of adding 1 to its own value. That is called increment by 1Because incrementing operation is so common in software, programming languages, including C#, offer the programmers a short notation for it, named incrementing operator. The next piece of code uses both operators of incrementing a variable:

The output will be the following:

incrementing operator

As you can see, we are declaring an initializing an integer variable, with a value of 1. After that, the variable is incrementing in both examples by 1.

The difference between variable++ and variable += 1 is that in the first case, the variable is always incremented by 1. In the second case, we can increment it by whatever value we want, like in the following example:

As you will see, the incrementing operator will often be used in pieces of code where the program is repeating the same instructions a number of times, called loops (we will learn about them later on).

If you noticed at the beginning of this lesson, I said that the ++ variation of the incrementing operator has two forms, and I also said that you can have += or =+. What is the difference between these two concepts? They are distinguished as prefix and postfixLets take the following piece of code:

The difference between prefix and postfix is that when you are using the postfix incrementing operator, C# will use the value of the variable first, and only after that will increment its value. On the other side, when using the prefix incrementing operator, C# will increment the value first, and then use its value.  The following example will illustrate the difference:

And the output will be

incrementing operator variations

Now you can notice that when you use the postfix incrementing operator, C# uses the value of the variable first, displaying 1, then increments it, displaying 2. On the other hand, using the prefix incrementing operator, C# increments the variable first, displaying 2, then it uses and displays the value already incremented.

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