Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Generic type conversion in C#

Generic type conversion in C# is possible, but the type conversion must consider many different conversions. The following code below defines a generic method To<T> which is an extension method on object:

namespace Hemit.OpPlan.Common
{
    
    public static class ObjectExtensions
    {

        public static T To<T>(this object value)
        {
            if (value == null)
                return default(T);

            Type t = typeof(T); 

            if (t.IsGenericType && t.GetGenericTypeDefinition() == typeof(Nullable<>))
            {
                Type valueType = t.GetGenericArguments()[0];
                if (value == null)
                    return default(T);
                object result = Convert.ChangeType(value, valueType);
                return (T)result;
            }
            else if (typeof(T).IsEnum)
            {
                object result = Enum.Parse(typeof(T), value.ToString());
                return (T)result;
            }
            else
            {
                try
                {
                    object result = Convert.ChangeType(value, typeof(T));
                    return (T)result;
                }
                catch (Exception err)
                {
                    Debug.WriteLine(err.Message);
                    return default(T); 
                }
            }
        }

    }
}

Next is a couple of unit tests written in NUnit for this extension method. All tests passes.

using System;
using System.Reflection;
using Hemit.OpPlan.Common.DataContract;
using NUnit.Framework;  

namespace Hemit.OpPlan.Common.Test.Extensions
{
    
    [TestFixture] 
    public class ObjectExtensionsTest
    {

        [Test]
        [TestCase("4", typeof(int), 4)]
        [TestCase("true", typeof(bool), true)]
        [TestCase(null, typeof(bool), false)]
        [TestCase(null, typeof(Nullable<bool>), null)]
        [TestCase("true", typeof(Nullable<bool>), true)]
        [TestCase("FutureOperation", typeof(OperationStatusDataContract), OperationStatusDataContract.FutureOperation)]
        [TestCase("Postponed", typeof(OperationStatusDataContract), OperationStatusDataContract.Postponed)]
        public void ToReturnsExpected(object input, Type genericTypeArgument, object expected)
        {
            MethodInfo method = typeof(ObjectExtensions).GetMethod("To");
            MethodInfo genericMethod = method.MakeGenericMethod(new Type[] { genericTypeArgument });
            object actual = genericMethod.Invoke(input, new object[]{ input });
            Assert.AreEqual(actual, expected); 
        }

        [Test] 
        public void ToReturnsExpectedWithNullableBoolean()
        {
            int? inputValue = new Nullable<int>(3);
            int actual = ((int?)inputValue).To<int>(); 
            Assert.AreEqual(actual, 3); 
        }

    }

}


The code above shows how one can call a generic method, shown in the unit test. Multiple test cases are passed into this unit test method. As is visible to the reader, the class ObjectExtensions contains the method To, which considers a conversion of an object to a designated type. The conversion itself must of course be valid, in addition one should check that the value implements IConvertible or similar interface. I have kept the code rather short and will eloborate the code if I see thare are conversions that fail, which should work.

2 comments:

  1. More error handling can of course be added here. Enum.Parse could be replaced with Enum.TryParse and so on. The code should be refined further if it is used a lot in production code environments.

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