Why are structs better than arrays?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

In my experience, I have found that structs are often better than arrays in certain situations. There are a few reasons for this, which I will explain in detail below.

1. Support for multiple data types: One major advantage of structs is that they can support multiple data types. This means that within a single struct, you can have variables of different data types. For example, you could have a struct that contains an integer, a string, and a boolean variable. This flexibility allows you to store and organize different types of data in a single struct, making it more versatile compared to arrays which only support a single data type.

2. Enhanced organization and readability: Another advantage of structs is that they provide a clear and organized way to group related variables together. By defining a struct, you can encapsulate and group variables that belong together based on their purpose or functionality. This makes your code more readable and easier to understand, as it becomes apparent which variables are related to each other. In contrast, when using arrays, it can be more challenging to maintain this level of organization and readability, especially when dealing with large amounts of data.

3. Improved code maintainability: Structs can also contribute to better code maintainability. By encapsulating related variables within a struct, you create a logical unit that can be easily reused throughout your codebase. This reduces code duplication and makes it easier to update or modify the variables in the struct without affecting other parts of the code. Additionally, structs can be passed as function arguments or returned as function results, allowing for cleaner and more modular code.

4. Ability to define custom behavior: Structs can also include methods, which are functions that operate on the data within the struct. This allows you to define custom behavior for the struct, making it more powerful and flexible. For example, you could define a method within a struct that calculates a specific value based on the struct’s variables. This level of customization is not possible with arrays, as they are limited to storing and accessing data without any built-in behavior.

5. Memory efficiency: In some cases, structs can be more memory efficient compared to arrays. This is because structs only allocate memory for the variables they contain, whereas arrays require additional space to store metadata such as the length of the array. If you have a small number of variables that need to be grouped together, using a struct can result in less memory usage compared to an equivalent array.

Structs offer several advantages over arrays. They support multiple data types, enhance organization and readability, improve code maintainability, allow for custom behavior, and can be more memory efficient in certain scenarios. While arrays have their own benefits, such as simplicity and familiarity, structs provide a more powerful and flexible solution for handling and organizing data in your code.