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Extension MethodUse the Extension attribute from System.Runtime.CompilerServices to create an extension method.
VB.NET
This page was last reviewed on Dec 11, 2021.
Extension. Extension method syntax is available in VB.NET. With it, we call a method in a separate Module as though it is defined on the Class.
Class
Syntax benefits. This sometimes leads to clearer syntax. We use the Extension attribute and implement an extension method in a VB.NET program.
Attribute
Example. This program introduces an extension method called LastChar. This method is called upon a String instance. It is called like a String method, but it is not defined on the String type.
LastChar This returns the final char in a string. It first checks that the string is not Nothing, and has one or more chars.
Char
Tip In the Extensions module, we use the <Extension()> syntax. The parameter String is the instance the extension method is called upon.
Module
Info You can have more parameters on an extension method. The first one is always the instance the method is called upon.
Important The System.Runtime.CompilerServices namespace must be imported. This provides access to the Extension attribute.
Imports System.Runtime.CompilerServices Module Module1 Sub Main() ' Test extension on a string. Dim v As String = "ABC" Console.WriteLine(v.LastChar()) ' Test nothing value. v = Nothing Console.WriteLine(v.LastChar()) ' Test empty string. v = "" Console.WriteLine(v.LastChar()) End Sub End Module Module Extensions <Extension()> Public Function LastChar(ByVal value As String) As Char ' If string is not nothing, and has at least one char, ' ... return last char. ' Otherwise return a question mark. If Not value = Nothing Then If value.Length >= 1 Then Return value(value.Length - 1) End If End If Return "?"c End Function End Module
C ? ?
Discussion. When should you use extension methods in VB.NET programs? If a small and useful method is used often, it may be helpful to turn it into an extension method.
And I often use extension methods to test characters and strings. For example, I use a "IsUpperOrDigit" extension method.
Info No such method exists in the .NET Framework, but the implementation is obvious.
Caution I usually end up with too many extension methods. It is preferable to limit the number, and have strict requirements.
Summary. An extension method changes the syntax for calling a method. It makes a non-Class method look like a Class method. This sometimes can yield simpler programs that are easier to read.
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Sam Allen is passionate about computer languages. In the past, his work has been recommended by Apple and Microsoft and he has studied computers at a selective university in the United States.
This page was last updated on Dec 11, 2021 (edit link).
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