c# system.nullreferenceexception - Qu'est-ce qu'une exception NullReferenceException, et comment la réparer?

an die (25)

J'ai du code et quand il s'exécute, il lance une NullReferenceException , en disant:

La référence d'objet n'est pas définie à une instance d'un objet.

Qu'est-ce que cela signifie, et que puis-je faire pour corriger cette erreur?


NullReferenceException or Object reference not set to an instance of an object occurs when an object of the class you are trying to use is not instantiated. Par exemple:

Assume that you have a class named Student.

public class Student
    private string FirstName;
    private string LastName;
    public string GetFullName()
        return FirstName + LastName;

Now, consider another class where you are trying to retrieve the student's full name.

public class StudentInfo
    public string GetStudentName()
        Student s;
        string fullname = s.GetFullName();
        return fullname;

As seen in the above code, the statement Student s - only declares the variable of type Student, note that the Student class is not instantiated at this point. Hence, when the statement s.GetFullName() gets executed, it will throw the NullReferenceException.

It means that the variable in question is pointed at nothing. I could generate this like so:

SqlConnection connection = null;

That will throw the error because while I've declared the variable " connection ", it's not pointed to anything. When I try to call the member " Open ", there's no reference for it to resolve, and it will throw the error.

To avoid this error:

  1. Always initialize your objects before you try to do anything with them.
  2. If you're not sure whether the object is null, check it with object == null .

JetBrains' Resharper tool will identify every place in your code that has the possibility of a null reference error, allowing you to put in a null check. This error is the number one source of bugs, IMHO.

Simon Mourier gave this example :

object o = null;
DateTime d = (DateTime)o;  // NullReferenceException

where an unboxing conversion (cast) from object (or from one of the classes System.ValueType or System.Enum , or from an interface type) to a value type (other than Nullable<> ) in itself gives the NullReferenceException .

In the other direction, a boxing conversion from a Nullable<> which has HasValue equal to false to a reference type, can give a null reference which can then later lead to a NullReferenceException . The classic example is:

DateTime? d = null;
var s = d.ToString();  // OK, no exception (no boxing), returns ""
var t = d.GetType();   // Bang! d is boxed, NullReferenceException

Sometimes the boxing happens in another way. For example with this non-generic extension method:

public static void MyExtension(this object x)

the following code will be problematic:

DateTime? d = null;
d.MyExtension();  // Leads to boxing, NullReferenceException occurs inside the body of the called method, not here.

These cases arise because of the special rules the runtime uses when boxing Nullable<> instances.

Another case where NullReferenceExceptions can happen is the (incorrect) use of the as operator :

class Book {
    public string Name { get; set; }
class Car { }

Car mycar = new Car();
Book mybook = mycar as Book;   // Incompatible conversion --> mybook = null

Console.WriteLine(mybook.Name);   // NullReferenceException

Here, Book and Car are incompatible types; a Car cannot be converted/cast to a Book . When this cast fails, as returns null . Using mybook after this causes a NullReferenceException .

In general, you should use a cast or as , as follows:

If you are expecting the type conversion to always succeed (ie. you know what the object should be ahead of time), then you should use a cast:

ComicBook cb = (ComicBook)specificBook;

If you are unsure of the type, but you want to try to use it as a specific type, then use as :

ComicBook cb = specificBook as ComicBook;
if (cb != null) {
   // ...

While what causes a NullReferenceExceptions and approaches to avoid/fix such an exception have been addressed in other answers, what many programmers haven't learned yet is how to independently debug such exceptions during development.

In Visual Studio this is usually easy thanks to the Visual Studio Debugger .

First, make sure that the correct error is going to be caught - see How do I allow breaking on 'System.NullReferenceException' in VS2010? Note 1

Then either Start with Debugging (F5) or Attach [the VS Debugger] to Running Process . On occasion it may be useful to use Debugger.Break , which will prompt to launch the debugger.

Now, when the NullReferenceException is thrown (or unhandled) the debugger will stop (remember the rule set above?) on the line on which the exception occurred. Sometimes the error will be easy to spot.

For instance, in the following line the only code that can cause the exception is if myString evaluates to null. This can be verified by looking at the Watch Window or running expressions in the Immediate Window .

var x = myString.Trim();

In more advanced cases, such as the following, you'll need to use one of the techniques above (Watch or Immediate Windows) to inspect the expressions to determine if str1 was null or if str2 was null.

var x = str1.Trim() + str2.Trim();

Once where the exception is throw has been located, it's usually trivial to reason backwards to find out where the null value was [incorrectly] introduced --

Take the time required to understand the cause of the exception. Inspect for null expressions. Inspect the previous expressions which could have resulted in such null expressions. Add breakpoints and step through the program as appropriate. Use the debugger.

1 If Break on Throws is too aggressive and the debugger stops on an NPE in the .NET or 3rd-party library, Break on User-Unhandled can be used to limit the exceptions caught. Additionally, VS2012 introduces Just My Code which I recommend enabling as well.

If you are debugging with Just My Code enabled, the behavior is slightly different. With Just My Code enabled, the debugger ignores first-chance common language runtime (CLR) exceptions that are thrown outside of My Code and do not pass through My Code

The error line "Object reference not set to an instance of an object. " states that you have not assigned instance object to a object reference and still you are accessing properies/methods of that object.

for example: let say you have a class called myClass and it contains one property prop1.

public Class myClass
   public int prop1 {get;set;}

Now you are accessing this prop1 in some other class just like below:

public class Demo
     public void testMethod()
        myClass ref = null;
        ref.prop1 = 1;  //This line throws error

above line throws error because reference of class myClass is declared but not instantiated or an instance of object is not assigned to referecne of that class.

To fix this you have to instantiate (assign object to reference of that class).

public class Demo
     public void testMethod()
        myClass ref = null;
        ref = new myClass();
        ref.prop1 = 1;  

Well, in simple terms:

You are trying to access an object that isn't created or currently not in memory.

So how to tackle this:

  1. Debug and let the debugger break... It will directly take you to the variable that is broken... Now your task is to simply fix this.. Using the new keyword in the appropriate place.

  2. If it is caused on some database commands because the object isn't present then all you need to do is do a null check and handle it:

    if (i == null) {
        // Handle this
  3. The hardest one .. if the GC collected the object already... This generally occurs if you are trying to find an object using strings... That is, finding it by name of the object then it may happen that the GC might already cleaned it up... This is hard to find and will become quite a problem... A better way to tackle this is do null checks wherever necessary during the development process. This will save you a lot of time.

By finding by name I mean some framework allow you to FIndObjects using strings and the code might look like this: FindObject("ObjectName");

To use methods and member of an object you first have to create that object. If you didn't create it (variable that should hold the object is not initialized), but you try to use it's methods or variables you'll get that error.

Sometime you may just forgot to do initialization.

Edited: new can't return null, but fire's exception when failed. Long time ago it was the case in some languages, but not any more. Thanks @John Saunders for pointing that out.

I have a different perspective to answering this. This sort of answers "what else can I do to avoid it? "

When working across different layers , for example in an MVC application, a controller needs services to call business operations. In such scenarios Dependency Injection Container can be used to initialize the services to avoid the NullReferenceException . So that means you don't need to worry about checking for null and just call the services from the controller as though they will always to available (and initialized) as either a singleton or a prototype.

public class MyController
    private ServiceA serviceA;
    private ServiceB serviceB;

    public MyController(ServiceA serviceA, ServiceB serviceB)
        this.serviceA = serviceA;
        this.serviceB = serviceB;

    public void MyMethod()
        // We don't need to check null because the dependency injection container 
        // injects it, provided you took care of bootstrapping it.
        var someObject = serviceA.DoThis();

On the matter of "what should I do about it" , there can be many answers.

A more "formal" way of preventing such error conditions while developing is applying design by contract in your code. This means you need to set class invariants , and/or even function/method preconditions and postconditions on your system, while developing.

In short, class invariants ensure that there will be some constraints in your class that will not get violated in normal use (and therefore, the class will not get in an inconsistent state). Preconditions mean that data given as input to a function/method must follow some constraints set and never violate them, and postconditions mean that a function/method output must follow the set constraints again without ever violating them. Contract conditions should never be violated during execution of a bug-free program, therefore design by contract is checked in practice in debug mode, while being disabled in releases , to maximize the developed system performance.

This way, you can avoid NullReferenceException cases that are results of violation of the constraints set. For example, if you use an object property X in a class and later try to invoke one of its methods and X has a null value, then this will lead to NullReferenceException :

public X { get; set; }

public void InvokeX()
    X.DoSomething(); // if X value is null, you will get a NullReferenceException

But if you set "property X must never have a null value" as method precondition, then you can prevent the scenario described before:

//Using code contracts:
protected void ObjectInvariant () 
    Contract.Invariant ( X != null );

For this cause, Code Contracts project exists for .NET applications.

Alternatively, design by contract can be applied using assertions .

UPDATE: It is worth mentioning that the term was coined by Bertrand Meyer in connection with his design of the Eiffel programming language .

Adding a case when the class name for entity used in entity framework is same as class name for a web form code-behind file.

Suppose you have a web form Contact.aspx whose codebehind class is Contact and you have an entity name Contact.

Then following code will throw a NullReferenceException when you call context.SaveChanges()

Contact contact = new Contact { Name = "Abhinav"};
var context = new DataContext();
context.SaveChanges(); // NullReferenceException at this line

For the sake of completeness DataContext class

public class DataContext : DbContext 
    public DbSet<Contact> Contacts {get; set;}

and Contact entity class. Sometimes entity classes are partial classes so that you can extend them in other files too.

public partial class Contact 
    public string Name {get; set;}

The error occurs when both the entity and codebehind class are in same namespace. To fix this, rename the entity class or the codebehind class for Contact.aspx.

Reason I am still not sure about the reason. But whenever any of the entity class will extend System.Web.UI.Page this error occurs.

For discussion have a look at NullReferenceException in DbContext.saveChanges()

Reference types default to null to indicate that they are not referencing any object. Hence, if you try and access the object that is being referenced and there isn't one, you will get a NullReferenceException .

For Ex:

SqlConnection connection = null;

When you run this code, you will get :

System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

You can avoid this error by coding like this:

if (connection != null){

Note: In order to avoid this error you should always initialize your objects before you try to do anything with them.

Another general case where one might receive this exception involves mocking classes during unit testing. Regardless of the mocking framework being used, you must ensure that all appropriate levels of the class hierarchy are properly mocked. In particular, all properties of HttpContext which are referenced by the code under test must be mocked.

See " NullReferenceException thrown when testing custom AuthorizationAttribute " for a somewhat verbose example.

Literally the easiest way to fix a NullReferenceExeption has two ways. If you have a GameObject for example with a script attached and a variable named rb (rigidbody) this variable will start null when you start your game.
This is why you get a NullReferenceExeption because the computer does not have data stored in that variable.

I'll be using a RigidBody variable as an example.
We can add data really easily actually in a few ways:

  1. Add a RigidBody to your object with AddComponent > Physics > Rigidbody
    Then go into your script and type rb = GetComponent<Rigidbody>();
    This line of code works best under your Start() or Awake() functions.
  2. Vous pouvez ajouter un composant par programme et affecter la variable en même temps avec une ligne de code: rb = AddComponent<RigidBody>();

Notes complémentaires: Si vous voulez que l'unité ajoute un composant à votre objet et que vous ayez oublié d'en ajouter un, vous pouvez taper [RequireComponent(typeof(RigidBody))]au-dessus de votre déclaration de classe (l'espace au-dessous de toutes vos utilisations).
Profitez et amusez-vous à faire des jeux!

TL;DR: Try using Html.Partial instead of Renderpage

I was getting Object reference not set to an instance of an object when I tried to render a View within a View by sending it a Model, like this:

    MyEntity M = new MyEntity();
@RenderPage("_MyOtherView.cshtml", M); // error in _MyOtherView, the Model was Null

Debugging showed the model was Null inside MyOtherView. Until I changed it to:

    MyEntity M = new MyEntity();
@Html.Partial("_MyOtherView.cshtml", M);

And it worked.

Furthermore, the reason I didn't have Html.Partial to begin with was because Visual Studio sometimes throws error-looking squiggly lines under Html.Partial if it's inside a differently constructed foreach loop, even though it's not really an error:

@inherits System.Web.Mvc.WebViewPage
    ViewBag.Title = "Entity Index";
    List<MyEntity> MyEntities = new List<MyEntity>();
    MyEntities.Add(new MyEntity());
    MyEntities.Add(new MyEntity());
    MyEntities.Add(new MyEntity());
        foreach(var M in MyEntities)
            // Squiggly lines below. Hovering says: cannot convert method group 'partial' to non-delegate type Object, did you intend to envoke the Method?

But I was able to run the application with no problems with this "error". I was able to get rid of the error by changing the structure of the foreach loop to look like this:

@foreach(var M in MyEntities){

Although I have a feeling it was because Visual Studio was misreading the ampersands and brackets.

What can you do about it?

There is a lot of good answers here explaining what a null reference is and how to debug it. But there is very little on how to prevent the issue or at least make it easier to catch.

Check arguments

For example, methods can check the different arguments to see if they are null and throw an ArgumentNullException , an exception obviously created for this exact purpose.

The constructor for the ArgumentNullException even takes the name of the parameter and a message as arguments so you can tell the developer exactly what the problem is.

public void DoSomething(MyObject obj) {
    if(obj == null) 
        throw new ArgumentNullException("obj", "Need a reference to obj.");

Use Tools

There are also several libraries that can help. "Resharper" for example can provide you with warnings while you are writing code, especially if you use their attribute: NotNullAttribute

There's "Microsoft Code Contracts" where you use syntax like Contract.Requires(obj != null) which gives you runtime and compile checking: Introducing Code Contracts .

There's also "PostSharp" which will allow you to just use attributes like this:

public void DoSometing([NotNull] obj)

By doing that and making PostSharp part of your build process obj will be checked for null at runtime. See: PostSharp null check

Plain Code Solution

Or you can always code your own approach using plain old code. For example here is a struct that you can use to catch null references. It's modeled after the same concept as Nullable<T> :

public struct NotNull<T> where T: class
    private T _value;

    public T Value
            if (_value == null)
                throw new Exception("null value not allowed");

            return _value;
            if (value == null)
                throw new Exception("null value not allowed.");

            _value = value;

    public static implicit operator T(NotNull<T> notNullValue)
        return notNullValue.Value;

    public static implicit operator NotNull<T>(T value)
        return new NotNull<T> { Value = value };

You would use very similar to the same way you would use Nullable<T> , except with the goal of accomplishing exactly the opposite - to not allow null . Voici quelques exemples:

NotNull<Person> person = null; // throws exception
NotNull<Person> person = new Person(); // OK
NotNull<Person> person = GetPerson(); // throws exception if GetPerson() returns null

NotNull<T> is implicitly cast to and from T so you can use it just about anywhere you need it. For example, you can pass a Person object to a method that takes a NotNull<Person> :

Person person = new Person { Name = "John" };

public static void WriteName(NotNull<Person> person)

As you can see above as with nullable you would access the underlying value through the Value property. Alternatively, you can use an explicit or implicit cast, you can see an example with the return value below:

Person person = GetPerson();

public static NotNull<Person> GetPerson()
    return new Person { Name = "John" };

Or you can even use it when the method just returns T (in this case Person ) by doing a cast. For example, the following code would just like the code above:

Person person = (NotNull<Person>)GetPerson();

public static Person GetPerson()
    return new Person { Name = "John" };

Combine with Extension

Combine NotNull<T> with an extension method and you can cover even more situations. Here is an example of what the extension method can look like:

public static class NotNullExtension
    public static T NotNull<T>(this T @this) where T: class
        if (@this == null)
            throw new Exception("null value not allowed");

        return @this;

And here is an example of how it could be used:

var person = GetPerson().NotNull();


For your reference I made the code above available on GitHub, you can find it at:


Related Language Feature

C# 6.0 introduced the "null-conditional operator" that helps with this a little. With this feature, you can reference nested objects and if any one of them is null the whole expression returns null .

This reduces the number of null checks you have to do in some cases. The syntax is to put a question mark before each dot. Take the following code for example:

var address = country?.State?.County?.City;

Imagine that country is an object of type Country that has a property called State and so on. If country , State , County , or City is null then address will be null . Therefore you only have to check whether address is null`.

It's a great feature, but it gives you less information. It doesn't make it obvious which of the 4 is null.

Built-in like Nullable?

C# has a nice shorthand for Nullable<T> , you can make something nullable by putting a question mark after the type like so int? .

It would be nice if C# had something like the NotNull<T> struct above and had a similar shorthand, maybe the exclamation point (!) so that you could write something like: public void WriteName(Person! person) .

If one is getting this message during saving or compiling the build, just close all the files and then open any file to compile and save.

For me the reason was that I had rename the file and old file was still open.

If we consider common scenarios where this exception can be thrown, accessing properties withing object at the top.


string postalcode=Customer.Address.PostalCode; 
//if customer or address is null , this will through exeption

in here , if address is null , then you will get NullReferenceException.

So, as a practice we should always use null check, before accessing properties in such objects (specially in generic)

string postalcode=Customer?.Address?.PostalCode;
//if customer or address is null , this will return null, without through a exception

An example of this exception being thrown is: When you are trying to check something, that is null.

Par exemple:

string testString = null; //Because it doesn't have a value (i.e. it's null; "Length" cannot do what it needs to do)

if (testString.Length == 0) // Throws a nullreferenceexception
    //Do something

The .NET runtime will throw a NullReferenceException when you attempt to perform an action on something which hasn't been instantiated ie the code above.

In comparison to an ArgumentNullException which is typically thrown as a defensive measure if a method expects that what is being passed to it is not null.

More information is in C# NullReferenceException and Null Parameter .

A NullReferenceException is thrown when we are trying to access Properties of a null object or when a string value becomes empty and we are trying to access string methods.

Par exemple:

  1. When a string method of an empty string accessed:

    string str = string.Empty;
    str.ToLower(); // throw null reference exception
  2. When a property of a null object accessed:

    Public Class Person {
        public string Name { get; set; }
    Person objPerson;
    objPerson.Name  /// throw Null refernce Exception 

It means your code used an object reference variable that was set to null (ie it did not reference an actual object instance).

To prevent the error, objects that could be null should be tested for null before being used.

if (myvar != null)
    // Go ahead and use myvar
    myvar.property = ...
    // Whoops! myvar is null and cannot be used without first
    // assigning it to an instance reference
    // Attempting to use myvar here will result in NullReferenceException

You are using the object that contains the null value reference. So it's giving a null exception. In the example the string value is null and when checking its length, the exception occurred.


string value = null;
if (value.Length == 0) // <-- Causes exception
    Console.WriteLine(value); // <-- Never reached

The exception error is:

Unhandled Exception:

System.NullReferenceException: référence d'objet non définie sur une instance d'un objet. at Program.Main()

It means you are trying to manipulate something which has reference but not yet initialized
The first thing to do here is check every instance created.

Use breakpoints , watches , inspect your varibale values.
Follow stack trace and search for exact row and column which is creating problem

Be aware that regardless of the scenario, the cause is always the same in .NET:

You are trying to use a reference variable whose value is Nothing / null . When the value is Nothing / null for the reference variable, that means it is not actually holding a reference to an instance of any object that exists on the heap.

You either never assigned something to the variable, never created an instance of the value assigned to the variable, or you set the variable equal to Nothing / null manually, or you called a function that set the variable to Nothing / null for you.

There are things that the Dispose() operation does in the example code that might have an effect that would not occur due to a normal GC of the MyCollection object.

If the objects referenced by _theList or _theDict are referred to by other objects, then that List<> or Dictionary<> object will not be subject to collection but will suddenly have no contents. If there were no Dispose() operation as in the example, those collections would still contain their contents.

Of course, if this were the situation I would call it a broken design - I'm just pointing out (pedantically, I suppose) that the Dispose() operation might not be completely redundant, depending on whether there are other uses of the List<> or Dictionary<> that are not shown in the fragment.

c# .net vb.net null nullreferenceexception