The C# team posts answers to common questions and describes new language features
While Generic types do have a similar syntax to C++ templates, they are instantiated at runtime as opposed to compile time, and they can be reflected on via meta-data. Also, in Generics, member access on the type paramater is verified based on the constraints placed on the type parameter; whereas, in templates, member access is verified on the type argument after instantiation.
Brandon Bray (Program Manager for the Visual C++ Compiler front-end at Microsoft) has a blog entry where he draws out the distinctions between Generics and Template.
Starting with VS 2005, C#, Managed C++, and VB will have CLR support for generics. Read these two MSDN Magazine articles for more details. Introducing Generics in the CLR & More on Generics in the CLR
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