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Explicitly Call Dispose or Close on Resources You Open

If you use objects that implement the IDisposable interface, make sure you call the Dispose method of the object or the Close method if one is provided. Database connection and files are examples of shared resources that should be explicitly closed. 


Why

Failing to call Close or Dispose prolongs the life of the object in memory long after the client stops using it. This defers the cleanup and will result in inefficient memory usage. 

When

This guideline should be used when working with disposable resources such as:

  • Database connections 
  • File handles 
  • Message queue handles 
  • Text reader, writer 
  • Binary reader, writer 
  • Crypto stream 
  • Symmetric, Asymmetric and Hash algorithms. 
  • Windows Identity, Windows Impersonation Context  
  • Timer, Wait Handle in case of threading 
  • Impersonation Context 
  • XML Reader 
  • XML Writer 

How

When working with disposable resources call Dispose method of the object or Close method, if provided. The Close method internally calls the dispose method. The finally clause of the try/finally block is a good place to ensure that the Close or Dispose method of the object is called.

The following Visual Basic® .NET code fragment demonstrates disposing resources in finally block.

Try

  conn.Open()

…Finally

  If Not(conn Is Nothing) Then

    conn.Close()

  End If

End Try

In Visual C#®, you can wrap resources that should be disposed, by using a using block. When the using block completes, Dispose is called on the object listed in the brackets on the using statement. The following code fragment shows how you can wrap resources that should be disposed by using a using block.

using (SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection(connString))

{

  conn.Open();

  . . .

} // Dispose is automatically called on the connection object conn here.


Problem Example

A .NET application opens a database connection. Unfortunately, the database connection is never disposed. Since it is not explicitly disposed the connection will stay active until the application terminates.  This unnecessarily increases the application's memory usage. Database connections are a limited resource, failure to dispose could result in the usage of all available database connections.

SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection(...)

try

{

   conn.Open();

   // do some processing with the connection

}

catch(SqlException ex)

{

   // do exception handling

}


Solution Example

A .NET application opens a database connection. Calling Close method on the connection object in the finally clause ensures that the database connection is disposed after it has been used.  

SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection(...)

try

{

   conn.Open();

   // do some processing with the connection   

}

catch(SqlException ex)\

{

   // do exception handling    

}

finally

{

   // close the connection

   if(conn!=null)

     conn.Close();

}

 


Additional Resources

Related Items

Use Try and Finally on Disposable Resources

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