Adam Naylor Adam Naylor - 3 months ago 20
C# Question

Can we define implicit conversions of enums in c#?

Is it possible to define an implicit conversion of enums in c#?

something that could achieve this?

public enum MyEnum
{
one = 1, two = 2
}

MyEnum number = MyEnum.one;
long i = number;


If not, why not?

For further discussion and ideas on this, I followed up with how I currently handle this: Improving the C# enum

Answer

There is a solution. Consider the following:

public sealed class AccountStatus
{
    public static readonly AccountStatus Open = new AccountStatus(1);
    public static readonly AccountStatus Closed = new AccountStatus(2);

    public static readonly SortedList<byte, AccountStatus> Values = new SortedList<byte, AccountStatus>();
    private readonly byte Value;

    private AccountStatus(byte value)
    {
        this.Value = value;
        Values.Add(value, this);
    }


    public static implicit operator AccountStatus(byte value)
    {
        return Values[byte];
    }

    public static implicit operator byte(AccountStatus value)
    {
        return value.Value;
    }
}

The above offers implicit conversion:

        AccountStatus openedAccount = 1;            // Works
        byte openedValue = AccountStatus.Open;      // Works

This is a fair bit more work than declaring a normal enum (though you can refactor some of the above into a common generic base class). You can go even further by having the base class implement IComparable & IEquatable, as well as adding methods to return the value of DescriptionAttributes, declared names, etc, etc.

I wrote a base class (RichEnum<>) to handle most fo the grunt work, which eases the above declaration of enums down to:

public sealed class AccountStatus : RichEnum<byte, AccountStatus>
{
    public static readonly AccountStatus Open = new AccountStatus(1);
    public static readonly AccountStatus Closed = new AccountStatus(2);

    private AccountStatus(byte value) : base (value)
    {
    }

    public static implicit operator AccountStatus(byte value)
    {
        return Convert(value);
    }
}

The base class (RichEnum) is listed below.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Diagnostics;
using System.Linq;
using System.Reflection;
using System.Resources;

namespace Ethica
{
    using Reflection;
    using Text;

    [DebuggerDisplay("{Value} ({Name})")]
    public abstract class RichEnum<TValue, TDerived>
                : IEquatable<TDerived>,
                  IComparable<TDerived>,
                  IComparable, IComparer<TDerived>
        where TValue : struct , IComparable<TValue>, IEquatable<TValue>
        where TDerived : RichEnum<TValue, TDerived>
    {
        #region Backing Fields

        /// <summary>
        /// The value of the enum item
        /// </summary>
        public readonly TValue Value;

        /// <summary>
        /// The public field name, determined from reflection
        /// </summary>
        private string _name;

        /// <summary>
        /// The DescriptionAttribute, if any, linked to the declaring field
        /// </summary>
        private DescriptionAttribute _descriptionAttribute;

        /// <summary>
        /// Reverse lookup to convert values back to local instances
        /// </summary>
        private static SortedList<TValue, TDerived> _values;

        private static bool _isInitialized;


        #endregion

        #region Constructors

        protected RichEnum(TValue value)
        {
            if (_values == null)
                _values = new SortedList<TValue, TDerived>();
            this.Value = value;
            _values.Add(value, (TDerived)this);
        }

        #endregion

        #region Properties

        public string Name
        {
            get
            {
                CheckInitialized();
                return _name;
            }
        }

        public string Description
        {
            get
            {
                CheckInitialized();

                if (_descriptionAttribute != null)
                    return _descriptionAttribute.Description;

                return _name;
            }
        }

        #endregion

        #region Initialization

        private static void CheckInitialized()
        {
            if (!_isInitialized)
            {
                ResourceManager _resources = new ResourceManager(typeof(TDerived).Name, typeof(TDerived).Assembly);

                var fields = typeof(TDerived)
                                .GetFields(BindingFlags.Static | BindingFlags.GetField | BindingFlags.Public)
                                .Where(t => t.FieldType == typeof(TDerived));

                foreach (var field in fields)
                {

                    TDerived instance = (TDerived)field.GetValue(null);
                    instance._name = field.Name;
                    instance._descriptionAttribute = field.GetAttribute<DescriptionAttribute>();

                    var displayName = field.Name.ToPhrase();
                }
                _isInitialized = true;
            }
        }

        #endregion

        #region Conversion and Equality

        public static TDerived Convert(TValue value)
        {
            return _values[value];
        }

        public static bool TryConvert(TValue value, out TDerived result)
        {
            return _values.TryGetValue(value, out result);
        }

        public static implicit operator TValue(RichEnum<TValue, TDerived> value)
        {
            return value.Value;
        }

        public static implicit operator RichEnum<TValue, TDerived>(TValue value)
        {
            return _values[value];
        }

        public static implicit operator TDerived(RichEnum<TValue, TDerived> value)
        {
            return value;
        }

        public override string ToString()
        {
            return _name;
        }

        #endregion

        #region IEquatable<TDerived> Members

        public override bool Equals(object obj)
        {
            if (obj != null)
            {
                if (obj is TValue)
                    return Value.Equals((TValue)obj);

                if (obj is TDerived)
                    return Value.Equals(((TDerived)obj).Value);
            }
            return false;
        }

        bool IEquatable<TDerived>.Equals(TDerived other)
        {
            return Value.Equals(other.Value);
        }


        public override int GetHashCode()
        {
            return Value.GetHashCode();
        }

        #endregion

        #region IComparable Members

        int IComparable<TDerived>.CompareTo(TDerived other)
        {
            return Value.CompareTo(other.Value);
        }

        int IComparable.CompareTo(object obj)
        {
            if (obj != null)
            {
                if (obj is TValue)
                    return Value.CompareTo((TValue)obj);

                if (obj is TDerived)
                    return Value.CompareTo(((TDerived)obj).Value);
            }
            return -1;
        }

        int IComparer<TDerived>.Compare(TDerived x, TDerived y)
        {
            return (x == null) ? -1 :
                   (y == null) ? 1 :
                    x.Value.CompareTo(y.Value);
        }

        #endregion

        public static IEnumerable<TDerived> Values
        {
            get
            {
                return _values.Values;
            }
        }

        public static TDerived Parse(string name)
        {
            foreach (TDerived value in _values.Values)
                if (0 == string.Compare(value.Name, name, true) || 0 == string.Compare(value.DisplayName, name, true))
                    return value;

            return null;
        }
    }
}