Most of the time; We use variables, when we need to store a input value or a value retrieved from an outside source. When there are many such values, either we use individual variables or we can store in an array. Alternatively, information can also be stored in a Dictionary object. It is a part of VB Script and so it can be used with the tools supporting VBS.
The Dictionary object is used to hold a set of data values in the form of (key, item) pairs. A dictionary is sometimes called an associative array because it associates a key with an item. The keys behave in a way similar to indices in an array, except that array indices are numeric and keys are arbitrary strings. Each key in a single Dictionary object must be unique.
A Dictionary object can contain any data including objects and other Dictionary objects. The value of these dictionary items can be accessed by using unique keys that are stored along with the data, rather than by using an item’s ordinal position as you do with an array. This makes the Dictionary object ideal when you need to access data that is associated with a unique named value.
Adding Keys and Items
Dictionary is a COM objects, it can be instantiated in the same way as any other COM Object. The ProgID for a Dictionary object is “Scripting.Dictionary”, and so the following example creates a Dictionary object using CreateObject:
Dim oDict Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary")
One you have created an instance of the Dictionary object, you can use the Add method to add items to the dictionary. The Add method requires two parameters, which must be supplied in the following order and separated by a comma.
|Book2||QTP DP Unplugged|
|Book3||UFT & QTP Interview Unplugged|
Dictionary keys must be unique. In the examples below, after the first line is interpreted, the key “Book1” will already be in the Dictionary.
Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") oDict.Add "Book1", "QTP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book2", "QTP DP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book3", "UFT & QTP Interview Unplugged"
To retrieve the value from dictionary created, we can use .item method of dictionary object.
One potential problem in using the Dictionary object is that any attempt to reference an element that is not contained in the Dictionary does not result in an error. Instead, the non-existent element is added to the Dictionary. Consider the following script sample, which creates a Dictionary, adds three key-item pairs to the Dictionary, and then attempts to echo the value of a non-existent item, Book4:
Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") oDict.Add "Book1", "QTP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book2", "QTP DP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book3", "UFT & QTP Interview Unplugged" MsgBox oDict.Item("Book4")
When the script tries to output the value of the nonexistent item, no run-time error occurs. Instead, the new key, Book4, is added to the Dictionary, along with the item value Null.
To avoid this problem, check for the existence of a key before trying to access the value of the item. you can do so using .exists method.
Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") oDict.Add "Book1", "QTP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book2", "QTP DP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book3", "UFT & QTP Interview Unplugged" if oDict.Exists("Book4") then msgbox oDict.Item("Book4")
Looping through the Items in Dictionary Object
Each item stored in a Dictionary object can be accessed by using For Each statements as shown in the snippet below –
Dim oItem Dim sItem, sMsg Dim oDict Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") oDict.Add "Book1", "QTP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book2", "QTP DP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book3", "UFT & QTP Interview Unplugged" For Each oItem In oDict sItem = oDict.Item(oItem ) sMsg = sMsg & sItem & vbCrLf Next MsgBox sMsg
Configuring Dictionary Properties
The Dictionary object has only one configurable property, Compare Mode, which plays an important role in determining which keys can be added and which ones cannot.
By default, a Dictionary is created in binary mode, which means each key in the Dictionary is based on its ASCII value. This is important because the ASCII value of an uppercase letter is different from the ASCII value of that same lowercase letter. In binary mode, both of these services can be added to the Dictionary as individual keys. So we can have same keys for multiple Items when in binary mode. for example, book and BOOK
When a Dictionary is configured in text mode, uppercase and lowercase letters are treated identically.
To configure the Dictionary mode, create an instance of the Dictionary object and then set the CompareMode property to one of the following values:
• 0 – Sets the mode to binary. This is the default value.
• 1 – Sets the mode to text.
Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") oDict.CompareMode = 1
You cannot change the CompareMode property of a Dictionary if that Dictionary contains any elements. This is because the binary mode allows you to differentiate between keys based solely on uppercase and lowercase letters. In text mode, however, these three keys are considered identical. If you had these elements in a binary Dictionary and were able to reconfigure that Dictionary in text mode, the Dictionary would suddenly contain three duplicate keys, and it would fail. If you must reconfigure the Dictionary mode, you first need to remove all items from the Dictionary.
Manipulating Keys and Items in a Dictionary
By itself, a Dictionary is of little use; a Dictionary is valuable only when you can access, enumerate, and modify the keys and items within that Dictionary. After you have created a Dictionary, you will probably want to do such things as:
• Determine how many key-item pairs are in that Dictionary.
• Enumerate the keys and/or items within the Dictionary.
• Determine whether or not a specific key exists in the Dictionary.
• Modify the value of a key or an item in the Dictionary.
• Remove key-item pairs from the Dictionary.
To remove a value from a dictionary, use the .Remove method and specify the key to remove. For example:
To remove all values and clear the dictionary, use the .RemoveAll method. Use the .Count property to obtain a count of values in the dictionary.
The .Keys and .Items methods return an array containing all the keys or items from the dictionary. For example:
aBooks = oDict.Keys aNames = oDict.Items
Enumerating a Dictionary
Items and Keys method returns the array of Items and keys respectively. These methods cannot be directly used to access the values, there return array has to be first assigned to a variable and then accessed. Below example illustrates the enumerations.
'Create the dictionary object Set oDict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") oDict.Add "Book1", "QTP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book2", "QTP DP Unplugged" oDict.Add "Book3", "UFT & QTP Interview Unplugged" aItems = oDict.Items 'Print all the items in the dictionary For i = LBound(aItems) To UBound(aItems) Print aItems(i) Next 'Print all keys in the dictionary 'We can use For each loop also to access the array aKeys = oDict.Keys For Each Key in aKeys Print "Key - " & Key Print "Value - " & oDict(Key) Next
Use of Dictionary Objects
Generally dictionaries are used when items need to be stored and recovered by name. For example, a dictionary can hold all the environment variables defined by the system or you have some configuration values for the script which you want to be accessed through out your script scope.
Here is nice
A very simple answer for “when should we use dictionary object?” would be “use dictionary object, when you need find value by key”
As Reserved Object in QTP/UFT
You can add dictionary as a reserved object in QTP/UFT , follow the steps below
- Open registry editor through windows run window (type regedit)
- Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mercury Interactive\QuickTest Professional\MicTest\ReservedObjects
- Create a new key under this key with Name as “Dictionary” and as String value “ProgID” with data as “Scripting.Dictionary” as shown in below snapshot.
Start QTP, type “Dictionary.”, it should show the methods and properties of dictionary objects to use.
Sorting a Dictionary
Below function demonstrate, how we can sort a dictionary with items. [Source]
Const dictKey = 1 Const dictItem = 2 Function SortDictionary(objDict,intSort) ' declare our variables Dim strDict() Dim objKey Dim strKey,strItem Dim X,Y,Z ' get the dictionary count Z = objDict.Count ' we need more than one item to warrant sorting If Z > 1 Then ' create an array to store dictionary information ReDim strDict(Z,2) X = 0 ' populate the string array For Each objKey In objDict strDict(X,dictKey) = CStr(objKey) strDict(X,dictItem) = CStr(objDict(objKey)) X = X + 1 Next ' perform a a shell sort of the string array For X = 0 to (Z - 2) For Y = X to (Z - 1) If StrComp(strDict(X,intSort),strDict(Y,intSort),vbTextCompare) > 0 Then strKey = strDict(X,dictKey) strItem = strDict(X,dictItem) strDict(X,dictKey) = strDict(Y,dictKey) strDict(X,dictItem) = strDict(Y,dictItem) strDict(Y,dictKey) = strKey strDict(Y,dictItem) = strItem End If Next Next ' erase the contents of the dictionary object objDict.RemoveAll ' repopulate the dictionary with the sorted information For X = 0 to (Z - 1) objDict.Add strDict(X,dictKey), strDict(X,dictItem) Next End If End Function