Tags: , , | Categories: Code Development, General, Generics Posted by nurih on 11/2/2006 9:53 PM | Comments (0)

I was challenged recently with a question about generics with constraints.

The claim was that it's only a compile flaw that allows your to declare an interface for a generic type with a constraint. Namely that the syntax

public interface ISomething <T> where T: SomeClass

would pass compilation but would not be useful (runtime) because you can't declare a variable

ISomething myVar = new ISomething<SomeClass>();

or something to that extent. I went home feeling a bit uneasy about the discussion, then coded this up the way I see it. While it is completely true that you can't 'new' an interface, using an interface that has a generic type is completely possible and legal.

Here it is in all it's g(l)ory.

using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Text;
/// Demo of generic interface declaration with constraint.
/// Showing compilation and runtime feasibility.
namespace NH.Demo
{
class Demo
{
static void Main(string[] args)
{
ITryInstance o1 = new GenericInstanceA();
ITry<MyDerivedType> o2 = new GenericInstanceB();
Console.WriteLine("Generic instance 1 " + o1.ProperT.SomeField);
Console.WriteLine("Generic instance 2 " + o2.ProperT.SomeField);
}
}
interface ITry<T> where T : MyBaseType
{
T ProperT{ get; }
}
public class MyBaseType
{
public string SomeField;
}
public class MyDerivedType : MyBaseType
{
public MyDerivedType(string arg)
{
base.SomeField = arg;
}
}
interface ITryInstance : ITry<MyDerivedType>
{
}
/// <summary>
/// this will fail. cosntraint violation
/// "The type 'string' must be convertible 
/// to 'NH.Demo.MyBaseType' in order to use it as 
/// parameter 'T' in the generic type or 
/// method 'NH.Demo.ITry<T>'"
/// </summary>
//interface IFail : ITry<string> { }
public class GenericInstanceA : ITryInstance
{
MyDerivedType ITry<MyDerivedType>.ProperT
{
get { return new MyDerivedType("hi there!"); }
}
}
public class GenericInstanceB : ITry<MyDerivedType>
{
MyDerivedType ITry<MyDerivedType>.ProperT
{
get { return new MyDerivedType("hi there! again"); }
}
}
}