a c# byte array from a binary sql field - GetBytes

I want to read some binary data I have in sql.

first I make a reader from a sproc call:

Cmd = new SqlCommand("sp_get_binary", SqlConn);
Cmd.CommandType = CommandType.StoredProcedure;
reader = Cmd.ExecuteReader();

what's returned is a reader of 1 field and 1 row. I can get the data like this:

while ( reader.Read() )
  numBytes = reader.GetBytes(0, startIndex, byteArray, 0, bufferSize); // where startIndex=0 and bufferSize=100

now my the byte array "byteArray" is filled with stuff, but the wrong number of stuff. The GetBytes method uses the bufferSize, which must be assigned, to size the byte array returned.

What I want is the byte array sized to fit the returned value.

Question 1: Should I always set the buffer size of a GetBytes call to a value over the maximum possible return value? So like, should I set it to ten zillion if I think the returned array could be large?

The source below attempts to get a sized byte array:

MemoryStream ms = new MemoryStream();
BinaryWriter bw = new BinaryWriter(ms);

while (numBytes == bufferSize)
  startIndex += bufferSize;
  numBytes = reader.GetBytes(1, startIndex, byteArray, 0, bufferSize);
bw.Write(keyBack, 0, (int)numBytesKey);

ms.Position = 0;
BinaryReader br = new BinaryReader(ms);
byteArray = br.ReadBytes( // why does this require a known length?

needless to say I don't know how to make this work exactly. What I need is a sized byte array from the DataReader, sized to the number of bytes returned by the db.

One of my biggest problems is I still don't completely "get" the how to use the various stream readers and writers to forge the structures I'm looking for. Why can't I easily get a sized byte array from a binaryreader? Is the MemoryStream object the fundamental stream holder for type conversions and such? Why am I running into many instances where I need to know the specific length of things I don't know the length of? Any resource links are greatly appreciated.
Who is Participating?
Bob LearnedConnect With a Mentor Commented:
From the help file on GetBytes:

"If you pass a buffer that is a null value, GetBytes returns the length of the field in bytes."

Bob LearnedCommented:
Why a "C" grade?  Did that not provide you with a least a "B" grade answer?  What would have made that answer better?  Code examples?

This is my quality control survey, in order to provide better service in the future.

sethUSer420Author Commented:
well, I asked a few different things, had a pretty long and drawn out question, and the answer was short and I felt incomplete. I didn't get an answer for my first question labeled: question 1, and yes, I was hoping for some kind of code sample.

After reading your answer, it took me some fiddling to come up with the solution, which ultimately was to call getBytes twice, once for the length and again for the value. Your answer did lead me to a solution in the end though, which is why I felt the points were deserved.

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