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by Jiří {x2} Činčura

Lesser known feature of digit separators in C# 7

1 Mar 2018 C#

As I was on the .NET.CZ podcast I realized there’s maybe a one specific behavior of digit separators in C# 7 people might not be aware of.

Digit separators in C# 7

Digit separators were introduced in C# 7 and allows you to separate digits with _ (underscore) character. Together with binary literals (not only) this allows you to logically space some groups (4 bits, 8 bits, …). Here’s a small example with hexadecimal constant: var foo = 0xFF_00_DD;.

This feature was improved in C # 7.2 allowing you to have leading underscores. Building on previous example, this is allowed in C# 7.2: var foo = 0x_FF_00_DD;.

Specific behavior

Not only you can have a single separator between groups/digits, but you can have as much as you want. This allows you to format the literal even more.

Compare this example.

var a = 0b__10_11__11_01;
var b = 0b_10_11_11_01;

For me, the a is more readable. And if this is some kind of protocol, it might even nicely complement high/low bytes/words/…

var foo = 0b_01_11;
var bar = 0b_00_11;
var baz = 0b____11;

For me, the baz clearly tells only the 11 part is important. Rest is just “padding”.

Closing

We all lived without a digit separators feature, but I see it as a welcoming formatting/readability option especially for hexadecimal and binary literals. And ability to use multiple separators in sequence makes it even more useful.

Did you know about this?