Overriding explicit and implicit conversion in C# .NET

Custom implicit and explicit conversions for numeric types can be defined in C# quite easily. You need to be aware of the “implicit”, “explicit” and “operator” keywords.

Consider the following class:

public class Measurement
{
	public int Value { get; set; }
}

Say you want to be able to convert an integer to a Measurement object and vice versa. You can extend the Measurement class as follows:

public static implicit operator Measurement(int value)
{
	return new Measurement() { Value = value };
}

public static explicit operator int(Measurement m)
{
	return m.Value;
}

This is how you can convert an integer to a Measurement object:

int value = 30;
Measurement measurement = value;

That’s right, you can simply assign the integer to a measurement object, its Value property will be 30.

Here’s how you can convert a Measurement object to an integer:

Measurement m = new Measurement() { Value = 15 };
int val = (int)m;

“val” will be 15 as expected.

View all various C# language feature related posts here.

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About Andras Nemes
I'm a .NET/Java developer living and working in Stockholm, Sweden.

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