Cool New Features of C# 6

white robot near brown wall

Photo by Alex Knight

C# 6.0 is coming soon, and being a brand spanking new compiler there's a bunch of new features and fixes to the language.

Here's the list.

Auto-property Initializers

You can now set a default value for auto-properties directly on the property, instead of in the constructor.

public int X { get; set; } = x;

Getter-only Auto-properties

A getter only property is just that, a property that only has a getter. Previously you had to define the backing field and manually write the getter yourself. But now you can do this.

public int Y { get; } = y;

This means you can also assign getter-only auto-properties within your constructor only, like readonly fields.

Static Using

In C# 6 it's possible to reference a static class with a using alias, and avoid having to repeat the class name in code.

using static System.Console;
class Program
	static void Main()
		WriteLine("Hello World");

Index Initializers

In C# 6 you can now initialize an object that has an index property as part of an object initialization.

var dictionary = new Dictionary<string, int> {
	["three"] = 3,
	["seven"] = 7

Await Inside Catch/Finally Block

Prior to C# 6 you couldn't use await inside a catch or finally block. Instead you'd get error CS1985: Cannot await in the body of a catch clause. Now you can! Enjoy.

Exception Filters

This has been available in VisualBasic for a while now, and now C# can do this too.

try {
	// web code
catch (WebException ex) when (ex.Status == WebExceptionStatus.Timeout)
	// log timeout
catch (WebException ex) when (ex.Status == WebExceptionStatus.ConnectionClosed)
	// log connection closed
catch (WebException ex)
	// all other WebExceptions

Expression-bodied Members

If you have methods or getter-only properties with a single line of code, you can now define that method with simpler syntax.

public string ToString() => FirstName + " " + LastName;

public string FullName => FirstName + " " + LastName;

Null Conditional

Have you ever chained a bunch of properties and methods together, only to find one of the links in the chain returns null? Well now you can use the Null-Conditional Operator (?.) to handle null for you.

string x = something?.withproperty?.CallsMethod()?.Value;

How does it work? The entire expression will evaluate, but if any of the subexpressions return null then the whole thing returns the default value for the expression, which in this case is a null string.

If the expression ended with a value type, like int, then the default value would be 0. I recommend using int? so you can check if the expression failed by checking for null.

String Interpolation

You know how in Razor you can escape the html to evaulate code? Now you can do the same thing in C#.

public string ToString() => $"{FirstName} {LastName}";

The bit inside the braces {} is evaluated as C# code, which means you can put expressions in there too.

WriteLine($"The distance is {Sqrt(p.x * p.x + p.y * p.y)} meters.");

Nameof Operator

There is now a nameof operator that returns the name of the item as a string.

throw new ArgumentNullException(nameof(item));

The benefit of this is that the whole thing is now rename safe.