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by Jiří {x2} Činčura

Coalescing operator with accessing object member access

22 Dec 2012 .NET, C#, Programming in general

Few days back Aleš Roubíček wrote an interesting article about, basically, needless code. You can read it here, though in Czech.

In one part he points to the coalescing operator ?? as being helpful while trying to write succinct code. And I agree. But also very often I need to not only coalesce the value itself, but, because we live with objects, also access some member on the object itself. Small example.

var d = DateTimeOrNull();
int? x;
if (d.HasValue)
x = ((DateTime)d).Minute;
x = null;

This pattern I find having in my code very often. But it’s hard to write it succinctly. Yes, I can use ternary operator ?:, but I still need to use intermediate variable. Boring. Having a language construct for this case would be interesting. Actually I wrote myself simple extension method for that, but that’s not the same as having it baked into the language.

I can imagine something like this (just shooting some syntax).

int? x = DateTimeOrNull() ? x => x.Minute ?? null;

Or am I only one thinking/bothering about this? :)