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by Jiří {x2} Činčura

Try-Get functions one-liner

24 Apr 2014 2 mins .NET, C#

You know these Try-Get methods that return bool when the action was succesful and then in out parameter you have the actual result, right? Like IDictionary<TKey, TValue>.TryGetValue. I hate these. You have to declare the out variable (I know C# 6 will simplify this), then have the if. Just too much noise. Today I had enough and I decided to solve it. In code. For me.

I knew I wanted something on “one line”, without all the noise around. Also in case the Try-Get returns false I need to have some reasonable default value, preferably configurable. After maybe an hour of some prototyping I came with a solution that’s pleasing for my eye and meets my quality 😉 standards.

First I needed to somehow capture the Try-Get method, which has out parameter. That’s not going to work directly with Func<T>. Time for custom delegate. Ahh. Haven’t written these for months.

public delegate bool TryGetFunc<TKey, TResult>(TKey key, out TResult result);

Then I was playing with different shapes how to pass the Try-Get into my extension method. Obviously this is my personal preference and you might want to tweak it a little. The method itself is simple. It just does what you’re doing manually – declare the out, if, return result or some default value depending on the if.

public static TResult TryGet<T, TKey, TResult>(this T @object, Func<T, TryGetFunc<TKey, TResult>> tryGet, TKey key, Func<TResult> defaultValue = null)
	var result = default(TResult);
	return tryGet(@object)(key, out result)
		? result
		: defaultValue != null ? defaultValue() : default(TResult);

You can then call it for example on a dictionary:

dictionary.TryGet(x => x.TryGetValue, key, () => "FooBar");

Which roughly corresponds to:

var result = default(string);
return dictionary.TryGetValue(key, out result)
	? result
	: "FooBar";

I know doesn’t look like that much simplification. But if you’re deep in some expression, one simple call makes you code flow much nicer (instead of “polluting” 😉 it with variable etc.). Maybe I’ll write similar helper for static methods like int.TryParse.

Profile Picture Jiří Činčura is .NET, C# and Firebird expert. He focuses on data and business layers, language constructs, parallelism, databases and performance. For almost two decades he contributes to open-source, i.e. FirebirdClient. He works as a senior software engineer for Microsoft. Frequent speaker and blogger at