Why is deriving a public class from an internal class illegal?

In C# it is illegal to declare a class D whose base class B is in any way less accessible than D. I’m occasionally asked why that is. There are a number of reasons; today I’ll start with a very specific scenario and then talk about a general philosophy. Suppose you and your coworker Alice…


Dynamic contagion, part two

Last time I discussed how “dynamic” tends to spread through a program like a virus: if an expression of dynamic type “touches” another expression then that other expression often also becomes of dynamic type. Today I want to describe one of the least well understood aspects of method type inference, which also uses a contagion…


A method group of one

I’m implementing the semantic analysis of dynamic expressions in Roslyn this week, so I’m fielding a lot of questions within the team on the design of the dynamic feature of C# 4. A question I get fairly frequently in this space is as follows: public class Alpha{  public int Foo(string x) { … }}…dynamic d…


Is C# a strongly typed or a weakly typed language?

Presented as a dialogue, as is my wont! Is C# a strongly typed or a weakly typed language? Yes. That is unhelpful. I don’t doubt it. Interestingly, if you rephrased the question as an “and” question, the answer would be the same. What? You mean, is C# a strongly typed and a weakly typed language?…


Foolish consistency is foolish

Once again today’s posting is presented as a dialogue, as is my wont. Why is var sometimes required on an implicitly-typed local variable and sometimes illegal on an implicitly typed local variable? That’s a good question but can you make it more precise? Start by listing the situations in which an implicitly-typed local variable either…


Implementation-defined behaviour

As I’ve mentioned several times on this blog before, C# has been carefully designed to eliminate some of the “undefined behaviour” and “implementation-defined behaviour” that you see in languages like C and C++. But I’m getting ahead of myself; I should probably start by making a few definitions. Traditionally we say that a programming language…


null is not false, part three

Returning now to the subject at hand: we would like to allow user-defined “overloads” of the & and | operators in C#, and if we are going to have & and | be overloadable, it seems desirable to have && and || be overloadable too. But now we have a big design problem. We typically…


null is not false, part two

In Raymond Smullyan’s delightful books about the Island of Knights and Knaves — where, you’ll recall, knights make only true statements and knaves make only false statements — the knights and knaves are of course clever literary devices to explore problems in deductive (*) logic. Smullyan, to my recollection, never explores what happens when knights…


null is not false

The way you typically represent a “missing” or “invalid” value in C# is to use the “null” value of the type. Every reference type has a “null” value; that is, the reference that does not actually refer to anything. And every “normal” value type has a corresponding “nullable” value type which has a null value….


Following the pattern

Here’s a question I got from a user recently: The foreach loop in C# uses a pattern-based approach to semantic analysis. LINQ in C# also uses a pattern-based approach. Why don’t other features, such as the “using” statement, also use a pattern-based approach? What a great question! First off, what do we mean by a…