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Using C#'s nameof Expression - C# Quick Tip

 ·  ☕ 2 min read

The nameof expression allows you to convert a variable, property, type or function into a string that represents its name. This can be an alternative to typing out strings directly in your code when you need to reference the name of an object in your code. This is really common when implementing INotifyPropertyChanged events and has a number of other uses as well.

The advantage of using nameof compared to writing out the object in a string is that the dotnet compile will fail if the reference in your nameof expression does not exist. This can help catch issues during refactoring when elements are renamed. Typically, when using strings directly those references can become runtime errors and potentially be very difficult to identify (ex. a UI element not updating because it no longer receives its Property Update notification). nameof can help avoid that issue in your code.

Some examples of how to use nameof:

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class Program
{
    public float aVariableNamedFoo = 3.14f;
    public float Foo => aVariableNamedFoo;

    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        Console.WriteLine($"Class: {nameof(Program)}"); //Class: Program
        Console.WriteLine($"Variable: {nameof(aVariableNamedFoo)}"); //Variable: aVariableNamedFoo
        Console.WriteLine($"Property: {nameof(Foo)}"); //Property: Foo
        Console.WriteLine($"Function: {nameof(Main)}"); //Function: Main
    }
}

nameof can also be used against members of other objects. For example the nameof a List’s Count can be retrieved using:

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var contents = new List<Page>();
Console.WriteLine($"List Count: {nameof(contents.Count)}"); //List Count: Count

You can learn more about using nameof in the C# documentation here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/csharp/language-reference/operators/nameof


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Sam Wronski
WRITTEN BY
Sam Wronski
Maker of things, currently helping build cloud things @ Microsoft. World of Zero is a one of my personal projects. Lets make something awesome together!