Some unique operators, classes and techniques in the C# language

Enhancements to the languages have come from the addition of features such as generic types, nullable value types, lambda expressions, iterator methods, partial classes and a long list of other useful language constructs. Often, the changes were accompanied by giving the Microsoft .NET Framework libraries corresponding support.


In C# 3.0 and later, auto-implemented properties make property-declaration more concise when no additional logic is required in the property accessors. They also enable client code to create objects. When you declare a property as shown in the following example, the compiler creates a private, anonymous backing field that can only be accessed through the property's get and set accessors, just as if you had implemented the property the older, more verbose way.


public double TotalPurchases { get; set; }
public string Name { get; set; }
public int CustomerID { get; set; }


The 4.0 framework give us the string.IsNullOrWhitespace() method. Here's an example where we are concatenating a full name,
and we don't want a double space if the middle name is empty:

public string GetFullName(string firstName, string middleName, string lastName)
        if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(middleName))
             return string.Format("{0} {1}", firstName, lastName);
        return string.Format("{0} {1} {2}", firstName, middleName, lastName);

   Another advantage is that IsNullOrWhiteSpace doesn't create any extra string objects that need to be garbage collected.

The Null Coalescing Operator: ??

The ?? operator is called the null-coalescing operator and is used to define a default value for a nullable value types as well as reference types. It returns the left-hand operand if it is not null; otherwise it returns the right operand. A nullable type can contain a value, or it can be undefined. The ?? operator defines the default value to be returned when a nullable type is assigned to a non-nullable type. If you try to assign a nullable value type to a non-nullable value type without using the ?? operator, you will generate a compile-time error. If you use a cast, and the nullable value type is currently undefined, an InvalidOperationException exception will be thrown.

An interesting example would be this:

var myItem = Items.SingleOrDefault(w => w.Id == id) ?? GetItemById(id);

The "As" cast

Using the as operator differs from a cast in C# in three important ways:

It returns null when the variable you are trying to convert is not of the requested type or in it's inheritance chain, instead of throwing an exception.
It can only be applied to reference type variables converting to reference types.
Using as will not perform user-defined conversions, such as implicit or explicit conversion operators, which casting syntax will do.  

The Stopwatch Class

The Stopwatch class makes it easy to use the high resolution timer through the convenience of a C# class:

var timer = Stopwatch.StartNew();
.WriteLine("Method took {0} ms", timer.ElapsedMilliseconds);

Timespan static factory methods:

     These allow you to construct TimeSpans unambiguously:
     TimeSpan.FromDays(double days);
     TimeSpan.FromHours(double hours);
     TimeSpan.FromMinutes(double minutes);
     TimeSpan.FromSeconds(double seconds);  

The using statement

  The using statement will call Dispose() on the instance immediately when scope is left either due to hitting the end of the block or due to an exception causing the block to leave prematurely

   using (var con = new SqlConnection("some connection string"))
        using (var cmd = new SqlCommand("select * from orders", con))
        using (var rdr = cmd.ExecuteReader())
             while (rdr.Read())
               // ...
       return orders;

   Object and Collection Initializers:

   var startingPoint = new Point() { X = 5, Y = 13 };

   var list = new List<int> { 1, 7, 13, 42 };

   Implicit Typing with the var keyword.

   Implicit typing is not dynamic typing.  Any identifier that is implicitly typed with the keyword var is still strongly typed.  The only difference is that the type is implied from the assignment expression:

    var productsByCategory = new Dictionary<string,List<Product>>();

   Extension Methods

   Microsoft added the ability to create a static method in a static class that behaves like it’s a member of the class that it is called on.
   The class you define the extension methods in must be a static class, and the first parameter of the extension method has the keyword this in front of its type.  This means that this static method will be invokeable directly from any object of that type:

namespace ExtensionMethods
    public static class MyExtensions
         public static int WordCount(this String str)
             return str.Split(new char[] { ' ', '.', '?' },


string s = "Hello Extension Methods";
int i = s.WordCount();

Here's a neat little one:

public static class ObjectExtensions
         public static string ToXml(this object input)
             if (input == null) throw new ArgumentNullException("input");
            var xs = new XmlSerializer(input.GetType());
             using (var memoryStream = new MemoryStream())
           using (var xmlTextWriter = new XmlTextWriter(memoryStream, new UTF8Encoding()))
               xs.Serialize(xmlTextWriter, input);
               return Encoding.UTF8.GetString(memoryStream.ToArray());

This only scratches the surface - there are so many more features, particularly in the 4.0 Framework, that make programming easier and less error-prone.

By Peter Bromberg   Popularity  (5174 Views)