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Properties (C# vs Java)

In C#, a property is a named member of a class, struct, or interface offering a neat way to access private fields through what are called the get and set accessor methods.

The following code example declares a property called Species for the class Animal, which abstracts access to the private variable called name:

public class Animal
{
    private string name;

    public string Species
    {
        get
        {
            return name;
        }
        set
        {
            name = value;
        }
    }
}

Often, the property will have the same name as the internal member that it accesses, but with a capital initial letter, such as Name in the above case, or the internal member will have an _ prefix. Also, note the implicit parameter called value used in the set accessor; this has the type of the underlying member variable.

Accessors are in fact represented internally as get_X() and set_X() methods in order to maintain compatibility with the .NET Framework-based languages, which do not support accessors. Once a property is defined, it is then very easy to get or set its value:

class TestAnimal
{
    static void Main()
    {
        Animal animal = new Animal();
        animal.Species = "Lion";                   // set accessor
        System.Console.WriteLine(animal.Species);  // get accessor
    
    }
}

If a property only has a get accessor, it is a read-only property. If it only has a set accessor, it is a write-only property. If it has both, it is a read-write property.

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