Changing the prop snippet for creating a Property in C#

Ok, so it is very common for the c# member variables to start with either an _ (underscore) or an m.  So when creating a property, you can save a lot of time by changing it to assume this as well.

For example, your class may look as follows:

namespace AgentConfigurationPlugin
{
    public class Class1
    {
        #region Member Variables
        String _MemberString;
        int _MemberInt;
        #endregion

        #region Constructors

        /*
		 * The default constructor
 		 */
        public Class1()
        {
        }

        #endregion

        #region Properties
        public String MemberString
        {
            get { return _MemberString; }
            set { _MemberString = value; }
        }

        public int Memberint
        {
            get { return _MemberInt; }
            set { _MemberInt = value; }
        }
        #endregion
    }
}

Note: I hate the _ character as it is hard to type (being up to the right of my pinky finger), so I use the letter “m”, which is easy to type (being just below my pointer finger) and it also stands for “member variable”.

        #region Member Variables
        String mMemberString;
        int mMemberInt;
        #endregion

Anyway, whether it is an “m” or “_” or any other character, it is common to prefix member variables. So it would be useful if the property snippet assumed that prefix character as well.

The default snippet for creating a Property is located here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC#\Snippets\1033\Visual C#\prop.snippet

The contents looks as follows.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<codeSnippets  xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/2005/CodeSnippet">
	<codeSnippet Format="1.0.0">
		<header>
			<title>prop</title>
			<shortcut>prop</shortcut>
			<description>Code snippet for an automatically implemented property</description>
			<author>Microsoft Corporation</author>
			<snippetTypes>
				<snippetType>Expansion</snippetType>
			</snippetTypes>
		</header>
		<snippet>
			<declarations>
				<literal>
					<id>type</id>
					<toolTip>Property type</toolTip>
					<default>int</default>
				</literal>
				<literal>
					<id>property</id>
					<toolTip>Property name</toolTip>
					<default>MyProperty</default>
				</literal>
			</declarations>
			<code Language="csharp"><!&#91;CDATA&#91;public $type$ $property$ { get; set; }$end$&#93;&#93;>
			</code>
		</snippet>
	</codeSnippet>
</codeSnippets>

Change it to be like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<codeSnippets  xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/2005/CodeSnippet">
	<codeSnippet Format="1.0.0">
		<header>
			<title>prop</title>
			<shortcut>prop</shortcut>
			<description>Code snippet for an automatically implemented property</description>
			<author>Microsoft Corporation</author>
			<snippetTypes>
				<snippetType>Expansion</snippetType>
			</snippetTypes>
		</header>
		<snippet>
			<declarations>
				<literal>
					<id>type</id>
					<toolTip>Property type</toolTip>
					<default>int</default>
				</literal>
				<literal>
					<id>property</id>
					<toolTip>Property name</toolTip>
					<default>MyProperty</default>
				</literal>
			</declarations>
			<code Language="csharp"><!&#91;CDATA&#91;public $type$ $property$
		{
    			get { return _$property$; }
    			set { _$property$ = value; }
		}
$end$&#93;&#93;>
			</code>
		</snippet>
	</codeSnippet>
</codeSnippets>

The key section that fixes this is:

			<code Language="csharp"><!&#91;CDATA&#91;public $type$ $property$
		{
    			get { return _$property$; }
    			set { _$property$ = value; }
		}
$end$&#93;&#93;>

Or if you use “m” instead of “_” as I do, of course you would replace the “_” with an “m”.

			<code Language="csharp"><!&#91;CDATA&#91;public $type$ $property$
		{
    			get { return m$property$; }
    			set { m$property$ = value; }
		}
$end$&#93;&#93;>

Now when you create a member variable and then a property that matches it exactly except for the prefix character, the works is done for you, making you a more efficient programmer.

You may want to change the propg snippet as well.


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4 Comments

  1. Coder says:

    This is an antiquated and unnecessary coding style. Unless it’s 1997, no member variables should be preceeded by an underscore, or even worse, an ‘m’ or any other symbol.

    • rhyous says:

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. I somewhat agree that some of these things are annoying. The only problem is that many companies still have standards to code that way. This is a very common coding style requirement in many companies today. So I would call it mainstream because it is still coded that way in the main stream.

  2. Elwood says:

    Hi, I recently had the same idea but this solution has one drawback. Since fields should be named starting with lower case e.g. _memberString I would like to have either the first character of the field name converted to lower case after the ledaing “_” or the first character of the property name converted to upper case automatically. Any clues about this?

    • rhyous says:

      Ok, so you are saying that you have a suggest syntax that says:
      1. The first character of a Field must be an underscore “_”
      2. The second character must be lowercase?

      I am sorry that there is no way for the snippet tool to accomplish that rule.
      I wish I knew how to do what you want, but it is not a feature of Visual Studio currently.

      You could always have your Fields start with _m such as _mSomeVariable.

      However, I am going to suggest that you should drop the second stipulation in the above suggested syntax.
      Is there a reason that prefixing a field with an underscore is not enough?

      So given the following for values:
      _FirstName
      _LastName
      FirstName
      LastName
      Are you saying that because the character after the underscore is capitalized, that you cannot determine which are fields and which are properties.

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