Does C# have extension properties? – Dev

The best answers to the question “Does C# have extension properties?” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

Does C# have extension properties?

For example, can I add an extension property to DateTimeFormatInfo called ShortDateLongTimeFormat which would return ShortDatePattern + " " + LongTimePattern?

ANSWER:

No they do not exist in C# 3.0 and will not be added in 4.0. It’s on the list of feature wants for C# so it may be added at a future date.

At this point the best you can do is GetXXX style extension methods.

ANSWER:

For the moment it is still not supported out of the box by Roslyn compiler …

Until now, the extension properties were not seen as valuable enough to be included in the previous versions of C# standard. C# 7 and C# 8.0 have seen this as proposal champion but it wasn’t released yet, most of all because even if there is already an implementation, they want to make it right from the start.

But it will …

There is an extension members item in the C# 7 work list so it may be supported in the near future. The current status of extension property can be found on Github under the related item.

However, there is an even more promising topic which is the “extend everything” with a focus on especially properties and static classes or even fields.

Moreover you can use a workaround

As specified in this article, you can use the TypeDescriptor capability to attach an attribute to an object instance at runtime. However, it is not using the syntax of the standard properties.
It’s a little bit different from just syntactic sugar adding a possibility to define an extended property like
string Data(this MyClass instance) as an alias for extension method
string GetData(this MyClass instance) as it stores data into the class.

I hope that C#7 will provide a full featured extension everything (properties and fields), however on that point, only time will tell.

And feel free to contribute as the software of tomorrow will come from the community.

Update: August 2016

As dotnet team published what’s new in C# 7.0 and from a comment of Mads Torgensen:

Extension properties: we had a (brilliant!) intern implement them over
the summer as an experiment, along with other kinds of extension
members. We remain interested in this, but it’s a big change and we
need to feel confident that it’s worth it.

It seems that extension properties and other members, are still good candidates to be included in a future release of Roslyn, but maybe not the 7.0 one.

Update: May 2017

The extension members has been closed as duplicate of extension everything issue which is closed too.
The main discussion was in fact about Type extensibility in a broad sense.
The feature is now tracked here as a proposal and has been removed from 7.0 milestone.

Update: August, 2017 – C# 8.0 proposed feature

While it still remains only a proposed feature, we have now a clearer view of what would be its syntax. Keep in mind that this will be the new syntax for extension methods as well:

public interface IEmployee 
{
    public decimal Salary { get; set; }
}

public class Employee
{
    public decimal Salary { get; set; }
}

public extension MyPersonExtension extends Person : IEmployee
{
    private static readonly ConditionalWeakTable<Person, Employee> _employees = 
        new ConditionalWeakTable<Person, Employee>();


    public decimal Salary
    {
        get 
        {
            // `this` is the instance of Person
            return _employees.GetOrCreate(this).Salary; 
        }
        set 
        {
            Employee employee = null;
            if (!_employees.TryGetValue(this, out employee)
            {
                employee = _employees.GetOrCreate(this);
            }
            employee.Salary = value;
        }
    }
}

IEmployee person = new Person();
var salary = person.Salary;

Similar to partial classes, but compiled as a separate class/type in a different assembly. Note you will also be able to add static members and operators this way. As mentioned in Mads Torgensen podcast, the extension won’t have any state (so it cannot add private instance members to the class) which means you won’t be able to add private instance data linked to the instance. The reason invoked for that is it would imply to manage internally dictionaries and it could be difficult (memory management, etc…).
For this, you can still use the TypeDescriptor/ConditionalWeakTable technique described earlier and with the property extension, hides it under a nice property.

Syntax is still subject to change as implies this issue. For example, extends could be replaced by for which some may feel more natural and less java related.

Update December 2018 – Roles, Extensions and static interface members

Extension everything didn’t make it to C# 8.0, because of some of drawbacks explained as the end of this GitHub ticket. So, there was an exploration to improve the design. Here, Mads Torgensen explains what are roles and extensions and how they differs:

Roles allow interfaces to be implemented on specific values of a given
type. Extensions allow interfaces to be implemented on all values of a
given type, within a specific region of code.

It can be seen at a split of previous proposal in two use cases. The new syntax for extension would be like this:

public extension ULongEnumerable of ulong
{
    public IEnumerator<byte> GetEnumerator()
    {
        for (int i = sizeof(ulong); i > 0; i--)
        {
            yield return unchecked((byte)(this >> (i-1)*8));
        }
    }
}

then you would be able to do this:

foreach (byte b in 0x_3A_9E_F1_C5_DA_F7_30_16ul)
{
    WriteLine($"{e.Current:X}");
}

And for a static interface:

public interface IMonoid<T> where T : IMonoid<T>
{
    static T operator +(T t1, T t2);
    static T Zero { get; }
}

Add an extension property on int and treat the int as IMonoid<int>:

public extension IntMonoid of int : IMonoid<int>
{
    public static int Zero => 0;
}

ANSWER:

Update (thanks to @chaost for pointing this update out):

Mads Torgersen: “Extension everything didn’t make it into C# 8.0. It got “caught up”, if you will, in a very exciting debate about the further future of the language, and now we want to make sure we don’t add it in a way that inhibits those future possibilities. Sometimes language design is a very long game!”

Source: comments section in https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/dotnet/2018/11/12/building-c-8-0/


I stopped counting how many times over the years I opened this question with hopes to have seen this implemented.

Well, finally we can all rejoice! Microsoft is going to introduce this in their upcoming C# 8 release.

So instead of doing this…

public static class IntExtensions
{
   public static bool Even(this int value)
   {
        return value % 2 == 0;
   }
}

We’ll be finally able to do it like so…

public extension IntExtension extends int
{
    public bool Even => this % 2 == 0;
}

Source: https://blog.ndepend.com/c-8-0-features-glimpse-future/

ANSWER:

No, they don’t exist.

I know that the C# team was considering them at one point (or at least Eric Lippert was) – along with extension constructors and operators (those may take a while to get your head around, but are cool…) However, I haven’t seen any evidence that they’ll be part of C# 4.


EDIT: They didn’t appear in C# 5, and as of July 2014 it doesn’t look like it’s going to be in C# 6 either.

Eric Lippert, the Principal Developer on the C# compiler team at Microsoft thru November 2012, blogged about this in October of 2009:

  • Why No Extension Properties? – Fabulous Adventures In Coding