Reference Type

What Does Reference Type Mean?

A reference type is a code object that is not stored directly where it is created, but that acts as a kind of pointer to a value stored elsewhere.


Techopedia Explains Reference Type

A reference type refers to an object in some external memory space. This is in contrast to value types, that are stored where they are created.

Experts also talk about reference types as being ‘dynamically allocated.’ In some languages, this involves different forms of organization, for example, where reference types are stored in a managed heap, rather than in a stack.

Other issues around the use of value types and reference types include the kinds of objects, such as classes and structs, that may fall into one category or the other.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…