Landeeyo Landeeyo - 2 months ago 7x
C# Question

What does question mark and dot operator ?. mean in C# 6.0?

With C# 6.0 in the VS2015 preview we have a new operator,

, which can be used like this:

public class A {
string PropertyOfA { get; set; }


var a = new A();
var foo = "bar";
if(a?.PropertyOfA != foo) {

What exactly does it do?


It's the null conditional operator. It basically means:

"Evaluate the first operand; if that's null, stop, with a result of null. Otherwise, evaluate the second operand (as a member access of the first operand)."

In your example, the point is that if a is null, then a?.PropertyOfA will evaluate to null rather than throwing an exception - it will then compare that null reference with foo (using string's == overload), find they're not equal and execution will go into the body of the if statement.

In other words, it's like this:

string bar = (a == null ? null : a.PropertyOfA);
if (bar != foo)

... except that a is only evaluated once.

Note that this can change the type of the expression, too. For example, consider FileInfo.Length. That's a property of type long, but if you use it with the null conditional operator, you end up with an expression of type long?:

FileInfo fi = ...; // fi could be null
long? length = fi?.Length; // If fi is null, length will be null