Tag Archives: .net

.Net Interview Questions

General Questions

Explain what a process is?

In general a process consists of or ‘owns’ the following:

  • A program image to execute, in machine code (think exe on disk)
  • Memory, typically some block of virtual memory
    • Executable code
    • Data (input / output
    • Call stack
    • Heap, to hold intermediate data

General CLR Questions

1. Explain garbage collection in .Net?

Garbage collection will occur under one of the following conditions:

  • The system is running low on physical memory
  • The heap surpasses an acceptable threshold. (This threshold is continuously adjusted as the process runs)
  • GC.Collect is called

The managed heap

There is a managed heap for each managed process, the heap is initialized by the garbage collector. The garbage collector calls win32 VirtualAlloc to reserve memory and VirtualFree to release memory.

The heap is comprised of the large object heap (objects greater than 85k, normally only arrays) and the small object heap


The heap is split into generations to manage long-lived and short-lived objects. Garbage collection generally occurs with the reclamation of short-lived objects which normally account for a small portion of the heap

Generation 0: Contains short-lived objects, i.e. temporary variables. Collection occurs most here
Generation 1: Contains short-lived objects, is a buffer between 0 & 2 generations
Generation 2: Contains long-lived objects, i.e. static instances, stateful instances

Types of garbage collection

Workstation mode

More suitable for long-running desktop applications, adds support for concurrent garbage collection which should mean that the application is more responsive during a collection.

Server mode

Best suited for asp.net, only supported on multi-processor machines


MSDN: Garbage Collection

2. What is boxing / unboxing?

Boxing occurs when a value type is passed to a method which expects an object or a value type is implicitly cast to an object.

ArrayList x = new ArrayList();
x.Add(10); // Boxing
int x =  10;
Object y = x; // Boxing

Unboxing is the reverse of this process, taking an object and casting it back to the value type.

int x = 10;

Object y = x; // Boxing

x = (int) y; // Unboxing


Yes there is a performance cost when an item is boxed a new item must be created and allocated on the heap, 20x as long as a simple reference assignment. 4x penalty for unboxing.

Now with generics some use cases for boxing/unboxing go away. However in silverlight/WPF value convertors and dependency objects can cause lots of boxing to occur

3. What is a struct, when should you use one?

A struct is a value type and should be choosen instead of class if:

  • It logically represents a single value
  • Has an instance size smaller than 16 bytes
  • It is immutable
  • It will not be boxed frequently

4. What are weak references, why do you need them?

Enables you to take out a reference to an object without stopping the garbage collector from reclaiming that object.

Useful if you have very large objects, which are easy to recreate.

5. What is the dispose pattern?

The dispose pattern is used only for objects that access unmanaged resources. The garbage collector is very efficient in reclaiming memory of managed objects but has no knowledge of memory used by unmanaged native objects.

6. What is the difference between a Dictionary<TKey, TValue> and Hashtable?

Dictionary<TKey, TValue> Hashtable
Minimizes boxing/unboxing boxes value types: Add(object,object)
Needs synchronization Provides some sychronization via Hashtable.Synchronized(Hashtable) method
Newer >.net 2.0 Older Since 1.0
If key not found throws KeyNotFoundException If key not found returns null

Note that internally dictionary is implemented as a hashtable.

7. What is the cost of looking up an item in a Hashtable?

Retrieving the value of a dictionary or hashtable using it’s key is very fast close to O(1) in big-o notation. The speed of retrieval depends on the quality of the hashing algorithm of the type specified for TKey

Multi-threading Questions

1. How would you engineer a deadlock

  • Create two methods each acquiring a separate lock, that call each other say 5 times
  • Start two threads on separate methods
class Program
    private static int operations = 5;

    public static object lockA = new object();
    public static object lockB = new object();

    static void Main(string[] args)
        Thread thread1 = new Thread(DoSomethingA);
        Thread thread2 = new Thread(DoSomethingB);



    public static void DoSomethingA()
        lock (lockA)
            Console.WriteLine("Lock DoSomething A " + Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId);
            if (operations > 0)
                operations = operations - 1;

        Console.WriteLine("Release DoSomething A " + Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId);

    public static void DoSomethingB()

        lock (lockB)
            Console.WriteLine("Lock DoSomething B " + Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId);
            if (operations > 0)
                operations = operations - 1;

        Console.WriteLine("Release DoSomething B " + Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId);

2. What are race conditions, how to stop them

Occur when more than one thread attempts to update shared data:

int x = 10;


// Thread 1

x = x – 10;

// Thread 2

x = x + 1

To stop race conditions from happening you need to obtain exclusive locks, use semaphor, mutex, readwriterslim lock mechanism

3. What are some lock-less techniques for avoiding race conditions?

You can use volatile or Thread.MemoryBarrier() or the Interlocked class

4. What is does the keyword Volatile mean or do?

It ensures that the value of the field is always the most up-to-date value. Commonly used in multi-threaded applications that do not use locks to serialize access to shared data. When using a lock it causes the most up-to-date value to be retrieved.

Values can become stale when threads run on different processors asynchronously.

5. What is differenct between ManualResetEvents and AutoResetEvents?

When signaled via ‘Set’ threads waiting can all proceed until Reset() is called. With auto reset event only one waiting thread is unblocked when signalled ‘Set’ and the wait handle goes back to blocking other waiting threads until the next ‘Set’ message is sent.

Reactive Extensions (RX)

1. What are the IObservable<T> and IObserver<T> interfaces

IObservable<T> is a collection of things that can watched and defines a provider for push-based notification. And must implement a subscribe method.

IObserver<T> is essentially the listener to the collection and needs to implement OnNext, OnError, OnCompleted


1. What is the difference between IEnumerable<T> and IEnumerator<T>

IEnumerable<T> is a thing which can be enumerated over. Returns an IEnumerator

IEnumberator<T> is the thing that can do the enumeration, knows how to navigate the collection

Software design

1. List some design patterns

Creational patterns

Abstract factory

Provide an interface for creating families of related or dependent objects without specifying their concrete classes


Builder Pattern

Defines abstract interfaces and concrete classes for building complex objects


Singleton Pattern

Ensure a class only has one instance, and to provide a global point to access it.

Structural Patterns

Façade Pattern

A facade is an object that provides a simplified interface to a larger body of code

Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facade_pattern>


Attach additional responsibilities to an object dynamically keeping the same interface. Decorators provide a flexible alternative to subclassing for extending functionality.

Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_pattern_(computer_science)>

2. What is SOLID?


Stands for(acronym) Concept
Single responsibility principle
an object should have only a single responsibility.
Open/closed principle
“software entities … should be open for extension, but closed for modification”.
Liskov substitution principle
“objects in a program should be replaceable with instances of their subtypes without altering the correctness of that program”. See also design by contract.
Interface segregation principle
“many client specific interfaces are better than one general purpose interface.”[5]
Dependency inversion principle
one should “Depend upon Abstractions. Do not depend upon concretions.”[5]Dependency injection is one method of following this principle.
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What is the current state of REST frameworks in .Net 4.0

WCF WebHttp Services in .NET 4

Part of the official .Net 4.0 framework release.

WCF WebHttp Services is the flavor of WCF that is most appropriate for developers who need complete control over the URI, format, and protocol when building non-SOAP HTTP services— services that may or may not subscribe to RESTful architectural constraints.




Introducing WCF WebHttp Services in .NET 4: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/endpoint/archive/2010/01/06/introducing-wcf-webhttp-services-in-net-4.aspx

WCF WebApi

This project focuses on allowing developers to expose their apis for programmatic access over HTTP by browsers and devices.

Essentially this is a continuation of work done on the WCF Rest starter kit, and could be considered as a preview of wcf http services for .net 5.0?

WCF REST Starter Kit (depreciated)

The new WCF Web Api’s recently announced at PDC replace the REST Starter Kit and provide significant enhancements including better access to HTTP, more flexibility with representations and support for jQuery. Please go to http://wcf.codeplex.com/ for more information.

Source: http://aspnet.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=WCF%20REST&ProjectName=aspnet

Open Rasta

OpenRasta is a development framework targeting the Microsoft .NET platform for building web-based applications and services, and distributed under an Open-Source MIT License.

By focusing development around resources and HTTP methods, OpenRasta simplifies the creation of ReST-friendly interfaces.


How to create a rest service using Open Rasta: http://blogs.7digital.com/dev/2011/02/02/rest-in-practice-and-openrasta/


http://restsharp.org/ A client only api for consuming rest services

RestSharp is a simple, open source REST client for .NET designed primarily for consuming third-party HTTP APIs. RestSharp is NOT:

  • A REST server framework
  • A SOAP client
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Lookup the Netbios name of a domain using directory services

Okay so its pretty easy to get the fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

using System.DirectoryServices;
using System.DirectoryServices.ActiveDirectory;


But what happens if you want to get the old-skool netbios name. The quickest way is to use System.Environment:

using System


This gets the network domain name associated with the current user. So not much good if your code is running as a service that could well be configured to run at Network Account. Surely you can do this using DirectoryServices? Bit of Googling and coding and we have a nice little extension method which does just that

/// <summary>
    /// Defines extentions made to the <see cref="Domain"/> class.
    /// </summary>
    public static class DomainExtensions
        public static string GetNetbiosName(this Domain domain)

            // Bind to RootDSE and grab the configuration naming context
            DirectoryEntry rootDSE = new DirectoryEntry(@"LDAP://RootDSE");
            DirectoryEntry partitions = new DirectoryEntry(@"LDAP://cn=Partitions," + rootDSE.Properties["configurationNamingContext"].Value);

            DirectoryEntry domainEntry = domain.GetDirectoryEntry();

            //Iterate through the cross references collection in the Partitions container
            DirectorySearcher directorySearcher = new DirectorySearcher(partitions)
                    Filter = "(&(objectCategory=crossRef)(ncName=" +
                             .Replace("LDAP://", string.Empty)
                             .Replace(domain.Name + "/", string.Empty) + "))",
                    SearchScope = SearchScope.Subtree


            //Display result (should only be one)
            SearchResultCollection results = directorySearcher.FindAll();
            if (results.Count == 0)
                return null;

            return results[0].Properties["nETBIOSName"][0].ToString();



Note You can also retrieve the netbios entry using netapi32.dll http://blog.dotsmart.net/2009/03/11/getting-a-machine%E2%80%99s-netbios-domain-name-in-csharp

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Restoring an old friend – Visual Studio 2008 Create GUID tool

Remember to recreate a link to guidgen.exe (Guid generator tool) after installing Visual Studio 2008. For some reason it’s no longer out of the box?


  1. Choose the Tools -> External Tools...
  2. Title: Create &GUID
  3. Click the Browse (…) button and find the guidgen.exe in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\Bin\ folder.

See a better crafted posting with pretty pictures and idiot proof step-by-step guide@ http://karinebosch.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/create-guid-in-visual-studio-2008/

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My SVN Global Ignore Pattern for C# and Resharper

*\bin* *\obj* *.suo *.user *.bak **.ReSharper** **\_ReSharper.** StyleCop.Cache

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