C# LINQ Background Topics

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Extension Methods

Why learn about extension methods?

All LINQ methods are extension methods, defined in the System.Linq namespace.

What are extension methods?

Extension methods in C# enable the addition of new methods to a pre-existing type, without modifying the original source code for that type. They are similar in purpose (though different in implementation) to mixins in other languages. Extension methods can be very useful for adding functionality to classes or interfaces found in a third-party library, or even to classes in the .NET Framework libraries.

Example extension method

This is what an extension method declaration looks like:

namespace IntExtensions
{
    public static class CoolExtensionsForInt
    {
        public static string Growl(this int num)
        {
            return $"G{new string('r', num)}";
        }
    }
}

The name of the class isn't important, nor is the name of the method. The important elements are:

  • The class and method must both be static
  • The first parameter to the method must be of the type that is being extended (int in this example)
  • The first parameter to the method must be prefaced with the keyword this

Calling an extension method

The above extension method can be called as if it were a member of the int type. For example:

using IntExtensions;

  ...

    // Prints "Grrrrrrr" to the console
    Console.WriteLine(7.Growl());

Notice that the extension method is defined in the IntExtensions namespace, and so that namespace must be included with a using directive before the extension method can be invoked.

Exercise

In this exercise, you must add an extension method, SayHello() to the built-in string type. The SayHello() method should return the string: "Hello, <subject>!"

Extension Methods Exercise
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namespace ExtensionMethods1
{
// Write the extension method (and containing class) here,
// following the example in the lesson. The method should
// be called SayHello(), extends string, and returns a string.
// public ... class ...
// { }
}
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