Fields and Properties in VB.NET

In this article I will explain you about Fields and Properties in VB.NET
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Fields are ordinary member variables or member instances of a class. Properties are an abstraction to get and set their values. Properties are also called accessors because they offer a way to change and retrieve a field if you expose a field in the class as private. Generally, you should declare your member variables private, then declare or define properties for them.

There are three obvious reasons for the necessity of properties in VB.NET

You can delay the creation of actual reference fields until you use them, which saves resources. You can differentiate the representation and actual storage. Representation is implemented via properties and storage is implemented via fields. You can check constraints when setting and getting properties. If the value is not suitable, you do not store the data in the field and a type-safety error is returned. This really provides 100% type-safe accessors on demand.

Properties afford you the advantage of more elegant syntax along with the robustness and better encapsulation of accessor methods. The syntax for implementing a property in VB.NET, along with a constructor and a destructor and using the property is shown in the Age property in below example.

Example of Constructor Destructor:

    // example property, ctor, dtor, exception
    Module module1
        Public Class Individual
            Private m_age As Int32
                // note that this is private
                // we could do this instead, more explicit
                // private Int32 age;
                // the default specifiers are all private!!!
            Public Sub New(ByVal age As Int32)// constructor, ctor
                Me.m_age = age// this object, just for more clarity
            End Sub
            Protected
Overrides Sub Finalize()// destructor
                Try
                    m_age = 0
                Finally
                    MyBase
.Finalize()
                End Try
            End
Sub
            Public
Property Age() As Int32// public property
                Get
                    Return
m_age
                End Get
                Set
(ByVal value As Int32)
                    // validating value
                If value > 0 AndAlso value < 200 Then
                    m_age = value
                Else
                            // throw exception if invalid value
                    Throw New ArgumentException("not between 1 and 150 ?")
                End If
                End
Set
            End
Property
        End
Class
    Sub
Main()
        Try
            Dim
Jabbar As New Individual(27)
            Console.WriteLine("This year, Jabbar was {0} years old", Jabbar.Age)
            Jabbar.Age += 1
// uses both get and set to do increment
            Console.WriteLine("Next year, Jabbar will be {0} years old", Jabbar.Age)
        Catch e As ArgumentException // catches this specific type and derived types
                 // uses Exception.ToString()
            Console.WriteLine("{0} Caught exception #1.", e)
        End Try
        Console.ReadLine()
    End Sub
    End
Module

Output

p1.gif
 

The pseudocode in example below presents a read-only property example that defers resource allocation with the help of properties.

Example

        // example property pseudocode, delayed resource allocation
        // you allocate resources only when you really need them
        // class 1
    Module Module1
        Class MyReader
           
 // prop1 - property
        End Class
            // class 2
        Class MyWriter
                // prop2 - property
                // prop3 - property
        End Class
        Public
Class ExamplePropertyImplementation
            Private Shared reader As MyReader
            Private Shared writer As MyWriter
            Private Shared [error] As MyWriter
                  // public property
            Public Shared ReadOnly Property prop1() As MyReader
                Get
                    If
reader Is Nothing Then
                        reader = New Reader()
                    End If
                    Return
reader
                End Get
            End
Property
                // public property
            Public Shared ReadOnly Property prop2() As MyWriter
                Get
                    If
writer Is Nothing Then
                        writer = New MyWriter()
                    End If
                    Return
writer
                End Get
            End
Property
                 // public property
            Public Shared ReadOnly Property prop3() As MyWriter
                Get
                    If
[error] Is Nothing Then
                        [error] = New Writer()
                    End If
                    Return
[error]
                End Get
            End
Property
        End
Class
    End
Module

By exposing these members as properties, the class can delay their initialization until they are actually used. Thus, if the application makes no reference to the prop2 and prop3 properties, no objects are created for those objects.

Conclusion

Hope this article would have helped you in understanding Fields and Properties in VB.NET

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