Vishful thinking…

‘goto’ statement in C# ??? !!!

Posted in C# by viswaug on August 24, 2007

I am actually really surprised to find out that there is a ‘goto’ statement in C#. This really does come as a surprise to me after years of being preached the evilness of the ‘goto’ statements. Maybe it is not all that bad. But I have not needed to use it before and hopefully never will.


Static constructors in generic types

Posted in .NET, C# by viswaug on August 22, 2007

Static constructors are a relatively little known feature .NET. It might probably be because they don’t have too many use cases where they fit in perfectly. But they did come in handy when I was looking for ways for make a list of all the properties in my class that were decorated in with a custom attribute. The static constructor was an ideal place to build the collection so that the collection can be exposed as a static property on my class.

But I did have my doubts on whether I will be able to use the static constructors effectively on generics types. Generics types are tricky when it comes to static constructors since the generic type can be customized with other type parameters. But turns out the static constructors do work effectively on generic types. The type parameters are available in the static constructor and the type parameter T in the static constructors for CustomType<int> and CustomType<string> refer to their corresponding type parameters even though they use the same CustomType<T> class.

The use of static constructors can be observed in the project attached to one of my previous blog post.

Databinding Enum values to combo boxes

Posted in .NET, C#, DataBinding by viswaug on June 13, 2007

Even though I dislike the use of enumerations, there are cases where you can use them to make your life a lot easier. In those cases, there might be a requirement to have the enumeration property data bound to a combo box which lists all possible values of the enumeration in some meaningful text and also be able to select the right enumeration text when the object is bound to it. I have written a small little utility that will do just that. It returns a Read-Only collection with some meaningful text as the “Name” and the enum value as the “Value” member of the collection. In the sample, the generic class EnumCollection<T> has a static DataSource property that returns a ReadOnlyICollection that is data bindable to a combo box. The type T represents an enumeration type. The text to describe the enumeration values can be added as custom attribute decorators in the definition of the enumeration as below.


1 public enum EnumSample

2 {

3 [Text(“This is One.”)]

4 One,

5 [Text(“This is Two.”)]

6 Two,

7 [Text(“This is Three.”)]

8 Three,

9 [Text(“This is Four.”)]

10 Four

11 }


The EnumCollection<T> class creates its collection in a static constructor for the generic class and thus is able to return the required collection in a static “DataSource” property. The definition of the EnumCollection<T> class is below.


1 public class EnumCollection<T> : ReadOnlyCollection<EnumClass<T>>

2 {

3 static EnumCollection<T> _val;


5 static EnumCollection()

6 {

7 if (!typeof(T).IsEnum)

8 throw new InvalidCastException(“sbEnumCollection only supports ‘enum’ types.”);


10 List<EnumClass<T>> vals = new List<EnumClass<T>>();

11 Array values = Enum.GetValues(typeof(T));

12 foreach (Object item in values)

13 {

14 EnumClass<T> entry = new EnumClass<T>(GetText<T>(item), (T)item);

15 vals.Add(entry);

16 }

17 _val = new EnumCollection<T>(vals);

18 }


20 private static string GetText<U>(object item) where U : T

21 {

22 if (!typeof(U).IsEnum)

23 throw new InvalidCastException(“GetText only supports ‘enum’ types.”);


25 FieldInfo fi = typeof(U).GetField(item.ToString());

26 string result = null;

27 if (fi != null)

28 {

29 object[] attrs = fi.GetCustomAttributes(typeof(TextAttribute), true);

30 if (attrs != null && attrs.Length > 0)

31 result = ((TextAttribute)attrs[0]).Text;

32 }


34 if (result == null)

35 result = Enum.GetName(typeof(T), item);


37 return result;

38 }


40 internal EnumCollection(IList<EnumClass<T>> list) : base(list) { }


42 public static EnumCollection<T> DataSource

43 {

44 get

45 {

46 return _val;

47 }

48 }

49 }


Enumerations can be data bound to combo boxes easily as shown below.



1 comboBox1.DataSource = EnumCollection<EnumSample>.DataSource;

2 comboBox1.DisplayMember = “Name”;

3 comboBox1.ValueMember = “Value”;


The complete project can be downloaded here.