So, I'm writing a C# managed wrapper around a native dll. The dll contains several hundred functions. In most cases, the first argument to each function is an opaque handle to a type internal to the dll.

So, an obvious starting point for defining some classes in the wrapper would be to define classes corresponding to each of these opaque types, with each instance holding and managing the opaque handle (passed to its constructor)

Things are a little awkward when dealing with callbacks from the dll. Naturally, the callback handlers in my wrapper have to be static, but the callbacks arguments invariable contain an opaque handle.

In order to get from the static callback back to an object instance, I've created a static dictionary in each class, associating handles with class instances. In the constructor of each class, an entry is put into the dictionary, and this entry is then removed in the Destructors. When I receive a callback, I can then consult the dictionary to retrieve the class instance corresponding to the opaque reference.

Are there any obvious flaws to this? Something that seems to be a problem is that the existence static dictionary means that the garbage collector will not act on my class instances that are otherwise unreachable. As they are never garbage collected, they never get removed from the dictionary, so the dictionary grows. It seems I might have to manually dispose of my objects, which is something absolutely would like to avoid.

Can anyone suggest a good design that allows me to avoid having to do this?


1 Answer 1


Can't you simply make the static dictionary use weak references?

  • To be fair to the OP, weak references are not something that comes up very frequently. However your answer is correct.
    – Guvante
    Oct 23, 2012 at 21:42
  • Can I simply make the static dictionary use weak references? Yes, maybe I can! These are something in C# I was not aware of. Thanks for the hint.
    – Tom Davies
    Oct 23, 2012 at 21:47

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