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{{fbdoc item="title" value="UNION"}}----
Declares a union user defined type.

{{fbdoc item="syntax"}}##
**Union** //typename//
//fieldname// as [[DataType|datatype]]
[[KeyPgDeclare|declare]] //member function declaration// ...
...
End Union
##
{{fbdoc item="param"}}
##//typename//##
Name of the ##**Union**##
##//fieldname//##
Name of a data field member
##//member function declaration//##
Any of the supported member functions

{{fbdoc item="desc"}}
The data elements of a ##**Union**## occupy a common space in memory (same memory address for all data elements of the ##**Union**##). A data element of a ##**Union**## can be a simple data field or an unnamed ##[[KeyPgType|Type]]## block of data fields.
The size of the ##**Union**## is the size of the largest data element.
Since they occupy a common memory space, only one data element can usually be used at a given time (when a given data element is written, the other data elements sharing the common union space may be overwritten or mutilated).

Like ##[[KeyPgType|Type]]##, ##**Union**## can use the optional ##[[KeyPgField|Field]] = //number//## specifier for field alignment, and supports also inheritance through the use of the [[KeyPgExtends|Extends]] keyword.
Unlike ##[[KeyPgType|Type]]##, ##**Union**## can not contain variable-length strings and arrays, and more generally can not have object fields (or bases) with constructors or destructors. Therefore, ##**Union**## does not support to inherit from the ##[[KeyPgObject|Object]]## built-in type.

A ##**Union**## supports member procedures including ##[[KeyPgConstructor|Constructor]]##, ##[[KeyPgDestructor|Destructor]]##, ##[[KeyPgMemberFunction|Function]]##, ##[[KeyPgOperator|Operator]]##, ##[[KeyPgProperty|Property]]## and ##[[KeyPgMemberSub|Sub]]##. All members of a ##**Union**## are public and access modifiers are not supported.

Nested unnamed ##[[KeyPgType|Type]]## or ##**Union**## can not have procedure members or static data members (same restriction for local scope named Type/Union).

A ##**Union**## can be passed in a similar way of a User Defined Type to overloaded operator procedures.

**Note:** When ##**Union**## extends a base, it can be confusing because no new fields are added to the base, but instead the base is added to the derived Union. This means that data elements in the derived Union can share the same memory space like the base (here it doesn't matter whether the base is a ##**Union**## or not). Of course it can be dangerous, but that is always the problem with Unions.
If only the base is a ##**Union**##, then it won't be affected by data elements from the derived UDT.
Since ##**Union**## is not allowed to have complex data elements (i.e. UDTs with constructor/destructor, or dynamic strings), a derived Union can not be allowed to have (contain) a complex base.

{{fbdoc item="ex"}}
{{fbdoc item="filename" value="examples/manual/udt/union.bas"}}%%(freebasic)
' Example 0: Little-endianness
' For larger integer values (as the following Ulong data type),
' bytes are arranged in memory in 'little-endian' byte order
' (the least significant byte gets stored first).

Union UDU
ul As Ulong ' 32-bit data type
Type
ub0 As Ubyte ' 8-bit data type
ub1 As Ubyte ' 8-bit data type
ub2 As Ubyte ' 8-bit data type
ub3 As Ubyte ' 8-bit data type
End Type
End Union

Dim As UDU u
u.ul = &h12345678
Print Hex(u.ul) ' Result: 12345678
Print Hex(u.ub3), Hex(u.ub2), Hex(u.ub1), Hex(u.ub0) ' Result: 12 34 56 78

Sleep
%%
{{fbdoc item="filename" value="examples/manual/udt/union1.bas"}}%%(freebasic)
' Example 1: Only one union member can be relevantly accessed at a time
Union member
username As String * 32
posts As Ulong
End Union

Dim As member userX
userX.username = "Samantha"
userX.posts = 1234

Print userX.username ' value of username corrupted because final value assigned to posts occupies same memory location
' ' (and this is reason that value of posts is displayed well)
Print userX.posts
Print

Dim As member userY
userY.posts = 4321
userY.username = "Alexander"

Print userY.username
Print userY.posts ' value of posts corrupted because final value assigned to username occupies same memory location
' ' (and this is reason that value of username is displayed well)
Print

Sleep
%%
{{fbdoc item="filename" value="examples/manual/udt/union2.bas"}}%%(freebasic)
' Example 2: Alternative to RGBA keyword and allowing to retrieve elementary colors values
UNION BGRA_UNION
colour AS ULONG
TYPE
blue AS UBYTE
green AS UBYTE
red AS UBYTE
alpha AS UBYTE
END TYPE
END UNION

DIM ubgra AS BGRA_UNION

' Setting the individual color values...
ubgra.red = &h33
ubgra.green = &hcc;
ubgra.blue = &h66
' We can get a ULONG value
print HEX(ubgra.colour) ' Result: 33CC66
print

' Setting a ULONG value...
ubgra.colour = &h228844
' We can get the individual color values
print HEX(ubgra.red) ' Result: 22
print HEX(ubgra.green) ' Result: 88
print HEX(ubgra.blue) ' Result: 44
print

sleep
%%
{{fbdoc item="filename" value="examples/manual/udt/union3.bas"}}%%(freebasic)
' Example 3.
' Define a simple union.
Union AUnion
a As UByte
b As UInteger
End Union
' Define a composite type with an unnamed union.
Type CompType
s As String * 20
ui As UByte 'Flag to tell us what to use in union.
Union
au As UByte
bu As UInteger
End Union
End Type

' Flags to let us know what to use in union,
' because it's relevant to only use a single element of a union at a given time.
Const IsInteger = 1
Const IsUByte = 2

Dim MyUnion As AUnion
Dim MyComposite As CompType

' Only one field within the union is set, without choice criterion.
MyUnion.a = 128

MyComposite.s = "Type + Union"
MyComposite.ui = IsInteger ' Tells us this is an integer union.
MyComposite.bu = 1500 ' Field set according to the above flag.

Print "Simple Union: ";MyUnion.a

Print MyComposite.s & ": ";
If MyComposite.ui = IsInteger Then
Print MyComposite.bu
ElseIf MyComposite.ui = IsUByte Then
Print MyComposite.au
Else
Print "Unknown Type."
End If
Print

Sleep
%%

{{fbdoc item="lang"}}
- Object-related features as functions defined inside the ##**Union**## block are supported only in the //[[CompilerOptlang|-lang fb]]// dialect.
- Not available in the //[[CompilerOptlang|-lang qb]]// dialect unless referenced with the alias ##**""__Union""**##.

{{fbdoc item="diff"}}
- New to ""FreeBASIC""

{{fbdoc item="see"}}
- ##[[KeyPgType|Type]]##
- [[ProPgDataConversion|Coercion and Conversion]]

{{fbdoc item="back" value="CatPgUserDefTypes|User Defined Types"}}
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