c# - value - make this an auto implemented property and remove its backing field




How do you give a C# Auto-Property a default value? (15)

In C# 6.0 this is a breeze!

You can do it in the Class declaration itself, in the property declaration statements.

public class Coordinate
{ 
    public int X { get; set; } = 34; // get or set auto-property with initializer

    public int Y { get; } = 89;      // read-only auto-property with initializer

    public int Z { get; }            // read-only auto-property with no initializer
                                     // so it has to be initialized from constructor    

    public Coordinate()              // .ctor()
    {
        Z = 42;
    }
}

How do you give a C# Auto-Property a default value? I either use the constructor, or revert to the old syntax.

Using the Constructor:

class Person 
{
    public Person()
    {
        Name = "Default Name";
    }
    public string Name { get; set; }
}

Using normal property syntax (with a default value)

private string name = "Default Name";
public string Name 
{
    get 
    {
        return name;
    }
    set
    {
        name = value;
    }
}

Is there a better way?



Edit 1/2/15

With C# 6 you can initialize auto-properties directly (finally!), there are now other answers in the thread that describe that.

For C# 5 and below:

Though the intended use of the attribute is not to actually set the values of the properties, you can use reflection to always set them anyway...

public class DefaultValuesTest
{    
    public DefaultValuesTest()
    {               
        foreach (PropertyDescriptor property in TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(this))
        {
            DefaultValueAttribute myAttribute = (DefaultValueAttribute)property.Attributes[typeof(DefaultValueAttribute)];

            if (myAttribute != null)
            {
                property.SetValue(this, myAttribute.Value);
            }
        }
    }

    public void DoTest()
    {
        var db = DefaultValueBool;
        var ds = DefaultValueString;
        var di = DefaultValueInt;
    }


    [System.ComponentModel.DefaultValue(true)]
    public bool DefaultValueBool { get; set; }

    [System.ComponentModel.DefaultValue("Good")]
    public string DefaultValueString { get; set; }

    [System.ComponentModel.DefaultValue(27)]
    public int DefaultValueInt { get; set; }
}


In C# 5 and earlier, to give auto implemented properties a default value, you have to do it in a constructor.

The ability to have auto property initializers is included since C# 6.0. The syntax is:

public int X { get; set; } = x; // C# 6 or higher

In C# 6 and above you can simply use the syntax:

public object Foo { get; set; } = bar;

Note that to have a readonly property simply omit the set, as so:

public object Foo { get; } = bar;

You can also assign readonly auto-properties from the constructor.

Prior to this I responded as below.

I'd avoid adding a default to the constructor; leave that for dynamic assignments and avoid having two points at which the variable is assigned (i.e. the type default and in the constructor). Typically I'd simply write a normal property in such cases.

One other option is to do what ASP.Net does and define defaults via an attribute:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.componentmodel.defaultvalueattribute.aspx


In addition to the answer already accepted, for the scenario when you want to define a default property as a function of other properties you can use expression body notation on C#6.0 (and higher) for even more elegant and concise constructs like:

public class Person{

    public string FullName  => $"{First} {Last}"; // expression body notation

    public string First { get; set; } = "First";
    public string Last { get; set; } = "Last";
}

You can use the above in the following fashion

    var p = new Person();

    p.FullName; // First Last

    p.First = "Jon";
    p.Last = "Snow";

    p.FullName; // Jon Snow

In order to be able to use the above "=>" notation, the property must be read only, and you do not use the get accessor keyword.

Details on MSDN


In the constructor. The constructor's purpose is to initialized it's data members.


Personally, I don't see the point of making it a property at all if you're not going to do anything at all beyond the auto-property. Just leave it as a field. The encapsulation benefit for these item are just red herrings, because there's nothing behind them to encapsulate. If you ever need to change the underlying implementation you're still free to refactor them as properties without breaking any dependent code.

Hmm... maybe this will be the subject of it's own question later


Sometimes I use this, if I don't want it to be actually set and persisted in my db:

class Person
{
    private string _name; 
    public string Name 
    { 
        get 
        {
            return string.IsNullOrEmpty(_name) ? "Default Name" : _name;
        } 

        set { _name = value; } 
    }
}

Obviously if it's not a string then I might make the object nullable ( double?, int? ) and check if it's null, return a default, or return the value it's set to.

Then I can make a check in my repository to see if it's my default and not persist, or make a backdoor check in to see the true status of the backing value, before saving.

Hope that helps!


Use the constructor because "When the constructor is finished, Construction should be finished". properties are like states your classes hold, if you had to initialize a default state, you would do that in your constructor.


When you inline an initial value for a variable it will be done implicitly in the constructor anyway.

I would argue that this syntax was best practice in C# up to 5:

class Person 
{
    public Person()
    {
        //do anything before variable assignment

        //assign initial values
        Name = "Default Name";

        //do anything after variable assignment
    }
    public string Name { get; set; }
}

As this gives you clear control of the order values are assigned.

As of C#6 there is a new way:

public string Name { get; set; } = "Default Name"

little complete sample:

using System.ComponentModel;

private bool bShowGroup ;
[Description("Show the group table"), Category("Sea"),DefaultValue(true)]
public bool ShowGroup
{
    get { return bShowGroup; }
    set { bShowGroup = value; }
}

class Person 
{    
    /// Gets/sets a value indicating whether auto 
    /// save of review layer is enabled or not
    [System.ComponentModel.DefaultValue(true)] 
    public bool AutoSaveReviewLayer { get; set; }
}

public Class ClassName{
    public int PropName{get;set;}
    public ClassName{
        PropName=0;  //Default Value
    }
}






automatic-properties