C# Casting and Generics

Question!

I've been struggling with a piece of C# code and although I have found a solution to the problem, it is by no means ideal (see DoSomething_WorksButNotIdeal() below).

What I would like to do is instead of having the if, else statement (which is potentially massive depending on what types I want to support) just have a generic cast, but I can't get it to work. I've tried to demonstrate this in the DoSomething_HelpMe() method.

Is there anyway of achieving this? Any help is greatly appreciated.

public interface ITag
{
    string TagName { get; }
    Type Type { get; }
}

public interface ITag<T> : ITag
{
    T InMemValue { get; set; }
    T OnDiscValue { get; set; }
}


public class Tag<T> : ITag<T>
{
    public Tag(string tagName)
    {
        TagName = tagName;
    }

    public string TagName { get; private set; }
    public T InMemValue { get; set; }
    public T OnDiscValue { get; set; }
    public Type Type{ get{ return typeof(T);} }
}

public class MusicTrack
{
    public MusicTrack()
    {
	    TrackTitle = new Tag<string>("TrackTitle");
	    TrackNumber = new Tag<int>("TrackNumber");

	    Tags = new Dictionary<string, ITag>();
	    Tags.Add(TrackTitle.TagName, TrackTitle);
	    Tags.Add(TrackNumber.TagName, TrackNumber);
    }

    public IDictionary<string,ITag> Tags;

    public ITag<string> TrackTitle { get; set; }
    public ITag<int> TrackNumber { get; set; }
}


public static class Main
{
    public static void DoSomething_WorksButNotIdeal()
    {
	    MusicTrack track1 = new MusicTrack();
	    MusicTrack track2 = new MusicTrack();

	    // Set some values on the tracks

	    foreach (ITag tag in track1.Tags.Values)
	    {
		    Type type = tag.Type;

		    if (type == typeof(string))
		    {
		        ((ITag<string>) tag).InMemValue = ((ITag<string>)track2.Tags[tag.TagName]).OnDiscValue;
		    }
		    else if (type == typeof(int))
		    {
		        ((ITag<int>)tag).InMemValue = ((ITag<int>)track2.Tags[tag.TagName]).OnDiscValue;
		    }
		    else if (type == typeof(bool))
		    {
		        ((ITag<bool>)tag).InMemValue = ((ITag<bool>)track2.Tags[tag.TagName]).OnDiscValue;
		    }
		    // etc etc
		    else
		    {
		        throw new Exception("Unsupported type.");
		    }
	    }
    }

    public static void DoSomething_HelpMe()
    {
        MusicTrack track1 = new MusicTrack();
        MusicTrack track2 = new MusicTrack();

        // Set some values on the tracks

        foreach (ITag tag in track1.Tags.Values)
        {
            Type type = tag.Type;

            // THIS OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T WORK BUT I'M JUST TRYING TO DEMONSTRATE WHAT 
            // I'D IDEALLY LIKE TO ACHIEVE
            ((ITag<typeof(type)>)tag).InMemValue = ((ITag<typeof(type)>)track2.Tags[tag.TagName]).OnDiscValue;
        }
    }
}


Answers
Any reason that you can't have:

public interface ITag
{
    string TagName { get; }
    Type Type { get; }
    object InMemValue { get; set; }
    object OnDiscValue { get; set; }
}

and use ITag<T> to make it more specific?

public interface ITag<T> : ITag
{
    new T InMemValue { get; set; }
    new T OnDiscValue { get; set; }
}

Then your method can just use ITag. You'd need something like (int Tag<T>):

object ITag.InMemValue
{
    get { return InMemValue; }
    set { InMemValue = (T)value; }
}
object ITag.OnDiscValue
{
    get { return OnDiscValue; }
    set { OnDiscValue = (T)value; }
}

(edit)

Another option would be a method on the non-generic ITag:

void CopyValueFrom(ITag tag);

(maybe a bit more specific about what it copies to/from)

Your concrete implementation (Tag<T>) would have to assume that the ITag is actually an ITag<T> and cast:

public void CopyFromTag(ITag tag) {
    ITag<T> from = tag as ITag<T>;
    if(from==null) throw new ArgumentException("tag");
    this.TheFirstProperty = from.TheSecondProperty;
}


The simplest way to solve it is to resolve the type where you have the information, namely inside the Tag<T> implementation, so add the following to your existing types (only showing the additions!)

public interface ITag
{
    void CopyFrom(bool sourceIsMem, ITag sourceTag, bool targetIsMem);
}

public class Tag<T> : ITag<T>
{
    public void CopyFrom(bool sourceIsMem, ITag sourceTag, bool targetIsMem)
    {
        ITag<T> castSource = sourceTag as ITag<T>;
        if (castSource == null)
            throw new ArgumentException(
                "Source tag is of an incompatible type", "sourceTag");

        if (targetIsMem)
            InMemValue = sourceIsMem ?
                castSource.InMemValue : castSource.OnDiscValue;
        else
            OnDiscValue = sourceIsMem ?
                castSource.InMemValue : castSource.OnDiscValue;
    }
}

Note that you really should use enum types for the sourceIsMem and targetIsMem instead, because a bool is really ugly and hard to read in the invocation as the following fragment will show.

This is how you would make your routine work now:

public static void DoSomething_HelpMe()
{
    MusicTrack track1 = new MusicTrack();
    MusicTrack track2 = new MusicTrack();

    // Set some values on the tracks
    foreach (ITag tag in track1.Tags.Values)
        tag.CopyFrom(false, track2.Tags[tag.TagName], true);
}
By : jerryjvl


Here's one approach, which requires a decent amount of boilerplate but will allow you to do what you want using your existing definitions of ITag, ITag<T>, and Tag<T>. The TagSetter class sets the in memory value from the on disc value in a type safe way for any ITag<T>.

/// <summary>
/// Allows a tag of any type to be used to get a result of type TResult
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="TResult">The result type after using the tag</typeparam>
public interface ITagUser<TResult>
{
    TResult Use<T>(ITag<T> tag);
}

/// <summary>
/// Allows a tag of any type to be used (with no return value)
/// </summary>
public interface ITagUser
{
    void Use<T>(ITag<T> tag);
}

/// <summary>
/// Wraps a tag of some unknown type.  Allows tag users (either with or without return values) to use the wrapped list.
/// </summary>
public interface IExistsTag
{
    TResult Apply<TResult>(ITagUser<TResult> user);
    void Apply(ITagUser user);
}

/// <summary>
/// Wraps a tag of type T, hiding the type itself.
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="T">The type of element contained in the tag</typeparam>
class ExistsTag<T> : IExistsTag
{

    ITag<T> tag;

    public ExistsTag(ITag<T> tag)
    {
        this.tag = tag;
    }

    #region IExistsTag Members

    public TResult Apply<TResult>(ITagUser<TResult> user)
    {
        return user.Use(tag);
    }

    public void Apply(ITagUser user)
    {
        user.Use(tag);
    }

    #endregion
}

public interface ITag
{
    string TagName { get; }
    Type Type { get; }
}

public interface ITag<T> : ITag
{
    T InMemValue { get; set; }
    T OnDiscValue { get; set; }
}


public class Tag<T> : ITag<T>
{
    public Tag(string tagName)
    {
        TagName = tagName;
    }

    public string TagName { get; private set; }
    public T InMemValue { get; set; }
    public T OnDiscValue { get; set; }
    public Type Type { get { return typeof(T); } }
}

public class TagSetter : ITagUser
{
    #region ITagUser Members

    public void Use<T>(ITag<T> tag)
    {
        tag.InMemValue = tag.OnDiscValue;
    }

    #endregion
}

public class TagExtractor : ITagUser<ITag>
{
    #region ITagUser<ITag> Members

    public ITag Use<T>(ITag<T> tag)
    {
        return tag;
    }

    #endregion
}

public class MusicTrack
{
    public MusicTrack()
    {
        TrackTitle = new Tag<string>("TrackTitle");
        TrackNumber = new Tag<int>("TrackNumber");

        Tags = new Dictionary<string, IExistsTag>();
        Tags.Add(TrackTitle.TagName, new ExistsTag<string>(TrackTitle));
        Tags.Add(TrackNumber.TagName, new ExistsTag<int>(TrackNumber));
    }

    public IDictionary<string, IExistsTag> Tags;

    public ITag<string> TrackTitle { get; set; }
    public ITag<int> TrackNumber { get; set; }
}

public static class Main
{
    public static void DoSomething_WorksButNotIdeal()
    {
        MusicTrack track1 = new MusicTrack();
        MusicTrack track2 = new MusicTrack();

        TagSetter setter = new TagSetter();
        TagExtractor extractor = new TagExtractor();

        // Set some values on the tracks

        foreach (IExistsTag tag in track1.Tags.Values)
        {
            tag.Apply(setter);

            // do stuff using base interface if necessary
            ITag itag = tag.Apply(extractor);

        }
    }
}
By : kvb


This video can help you solving your question :)
By: admin