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Programming Language Peculiarities — C#

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Programming Language Peculiarities — C#

Zone Leader Brett Crawley returns with the programming language peculiarities series, this time looking at C#!

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It's been extremely hard to write C# oddities because it appears the people who created it did a pretty good job. They took the best of C++ and the best of Java, put it in a cocktail shaker and out popped C#.

From a language stand point I personally think C# is excellent but prefer not to develop in it because of all the other baggage around it particularly when developing web applications. That is purely a personal preference though, although I program in high level languages I guess at heart I am quite a low level guy.

That said I did find a couple of examples that are rather interesting.

My first example is the Switch statement which doesn’t allow fall through from one case to the next for example:

switch (myVar) {
   case 1:
   case 2:
   case 3:
      System.out.println("Hello World!");

In Java the above would be valid however this is not valid in C#, however it is possible to mimic this behaviour but it requires slightly more code.

switch (myVar) 
   case 1:
     goto default;
   case 2:
     goto default;
   case 3:
     goto default;
      Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");

[Editor's note: this isn't actually necessary in C# (switch cases do fall through), so we'll update the article shortly. Thanks to Brian Friesen for pointing this out.]

Something else to note hear is the necessity to use a break within the default because that cannot support fall through either. Some would argue that fall through is bad anyway because is removes clarity, personally I disagree with that because it reduces the repetition in code that could firstly introduce mistakes and secondly is plainly pointless.

So each case must either have a break or a return.

Something else that is unusual is that the ordering of Static variables is important, for example if you declare

// RIGHT - private static int a = 10; 
static int b = a + 5; 
// WRONG - private static int a = 10;

Then "a" must be declared before and not after "b".

The last perculiarity I will show you is simply quite amusing:

i++.toString() is allowed whereas ++i.toString() does not work unless written (++i).toString() as can be seen in the screenshot below.

So what was that error message:

So in this case the compiler is trying to perform ToString() first and then increment, which is clearly not going to work.

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