Is there a generic constructor with parameter constraint in C#?

In C# you can put a constraint on a generic method like:

public class A {

    public static void Method<T> (T a) where T : new() {
        //...do something...
    }

}

Where you specify that T should have a constructor that requires no parameters. I'm wondering whether there is a way to add a constraint like "there exists a constructor with a float[,] parameter?"

The following code doesn't compile:

public class A {

    public static void Method<T> (T a) where T : new(float[,] u) {
        //...do something...
    }

}

A workaround is also useful?

Answers


As you've found, you can't do this.

As a workaround I normally supply a delegate that can create objects of type T:

public class A {

    public static void Method<T> (T a, Func<float[,], T> creator) {
        //...do something...
    }

}

There is no such construct. You can only specify an empty constructor constraint.

I work around this problem with lambda methods.

public static void Method<T>(Func<int,T> del) {
  var t = del(42);
}

Use Case

Method(x => new Foo(x));

Using reflection to create a generic object, the type still needs the correct constructor declared or an exception will be thrown. You can pass in any argument as long as they match one of the constructors.

Used this way you cannot put a constraint on the constructor in the template. If the constructor is missing, an exception needs to be handled at run-time rather than getting an error at compile time.

// public static object CreateInstance(Type type, params object[] args);

// Example 1
T t = (T)Activator.CreateInstance(typeof(T));
// Example 2
T t = (T)Activator.CreateInstance(typeof(T), arg0, arg1, arg2, ...);
// Example 3
T t = (T)Activator.CreateInstance(typeof(T), (string)arg0, (int)arg1, (bool)arg2);

Here is a workaround for this that I personally find quite effective. If you think of what a generic parameterized constructor constraint is, it's really a mapping between types and constructors with a particular signature. You can create your own such mapping by using a dictionary. Put these in a static "factory" class and you can create objects of varying type without having to worry about building a constructor lambda every time:

public static class BaseTypeFactory
{
   private delegate BaseType BaseTypeConstructor(int pParam1, int pParam2);

   private static readonly Dictionary<Type, BaseTypeConstructor>
   mTypeConstructors = new Dictionary<Type, BaseTypeConstructor>
   {
      { typeof(Object1), (pParam1, pParam2) => new Object1(pParam1, pParam2) },
      { typeof(Object2), (pParam1, pParam2) => new Object2(pParam1, pParam2) },
      { typeof(Object3), (pParam1, pParam2) => new Object3(pParam1, pParam2) }
   };

then in your generic method, for example:

   public static T BuildBaseType<T>(...)
      where T : BaseType
   {
      ...
      T myObject = (T)mTypeConstructors[typeof(T)](value1, value2);
      ...
      return myObject;
   }

No. At the moment the only constructor constraint you can specify is for a no-arg constructor.


I think this is the most clean solution that kind of puts a constraint on the way an object is constructed. It is not entirely compile time checked. When you have the agreement to make the actual constructor of the classes have the same signature like the IConstructor interface, it is kind of like having a constraint on the constructor. The Constructor method is hidden when working normally with the object, because of the explicit interface implementation.

using System.Runtime.Serialization;

namespace ConsoleApp4
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            var employeeWorker = new GenericWorker<Employee>();
            employeeWorker.DoWork();
        }
    }

    public class GenericWorker<T> where T:IConstructor
    {
        public void DoWork()
        {
            T employee = (T)FormatterServices.GetUninitializedObject(typeof(T));
            employee.Constructor("John Doe", 105);
        }
    }

    public interface IConstructor
    {
        void Constructor(string name, int age);
    }

    public class Employee : IConstructor
    {
        public string Name { get; private set; }
        public int Age { get; private set; }

        public Employee(string name, int age)
        {
            ((IConstructor)this).Constructor(name, age);
        }

        void IConstructor.Constructor(string name, int age)
        {
            Name = name;
            Age = age;
        }
    }
}

How about creating your generic class with constraints, here I chose struct and class to have value and reference types.

That way your constructor has a constraint on the values.

class MyGenericClass<T, X> where T :struct where X: class 
{
    private T genericMemberVariableT;
    private X genericMemberVariableX;
    public MyGenericClass(T valueT, X valueX)
    {
        genericMemberVariableT = valueT;
        genericMemberVariableX = valueX;
    }

    public T genericMethod(T genericParameter)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Parameter type: {0}, value: {1}", typeof(T).ToString(), genericParameter);
        Console.WriteLine("Return type: {0}, value: {1}", typeof(T).ToString(), genericMemberVariableT);
        Console.WriteLine("Return type: {0}, value: {1}", typeof(X).ToString(), genericMemberVariableX);
        return genericMemberVariableT;
    }

    public T genericProperty { get; set; }
}

Implementation:

        MyGenericClass<int, string> intGenericClass = new MyGenericClass<int, string>(10, "Hello world");
        int val = intGenericClass.genericMethod(200);

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