Export (0) Print
Expand All

17.4.2 The Conditional attribute

Visual Studio .NET 2003

The attribute Conditional enables the definition of conditional methods. The Conditional attribute indicates a condition by testing a conditional compilation symbol. Calls to a conditional method are either included or omitted depending on whether this symbol is defined at the point of the call. If the symbol is defined, the call is included; otherwise, the call (including evaluation of the parameters of the call) is omitted.

namespace System.Diagnostics
{
   [AttributeUsage(AttributeTargets.Method, AllowMultiple = true)]
   public class ConditionalAttribute: Attribute
   {
      public ConditionalAttribute(string conditionString) {...}
      public string ConditionString { get {...} }
   }
}

A conditional method is subject to the following restrictions:

  • The conditional method must be a method in a class or struct declaration. A compile-time error occurs if the Conditional attribute is specified on a method in an interface declaration.
  • The conditional method must have a return type of void.
  • The conditional method must not be marked with the override modifier. A conditional method may be marked with the virtual modifier, however. Overrides of such a method are implicitly conditional, and must not be explicitly marked with a Conditional attribute.
  • The conditional method must not be an implementation of an interface method. Otherwise, a compile-time error occurs.

In addition, a compile-time error occurs if a conditional method is used in a delegate-creation-expression. The example

#define DEBUG
using System;
using System.Diagnostics;
class Class1 
{
   [Conditional("DEBUG")]
   public static void M() {
      Console.WriteLine("Executed Class1.M");
   }
}
class Class2
{
   public static void Test() {
      Class1.M();
   }
}

declares Class1.M as a conditional method. Class2's Test method calls this method. Since the conditional compilation symbol DEBUG is defined, if Class2.Test is called, it will call M. If the symbol DEBUG had not been defined, then Class2.Test would not call Class1.M.

It is important to note that the inclusion or exclusion of a call to a conditional method is controlled by the conditional compilation symbols at the point of the call. In the example

File class1.cs:

using System.Diagnostics;
class Class1 
{
   [Conditional("DEBUG")]
   public static void F() {
      Console.WriteLine("Executed Class1.F");
   }
}

File class2.cs:

#define DEBUG
class Class2
{
   public static void G() {
      Class1.F();            // F is called
   }
}

File class3.cs:

#undef DEBUG
class Class3
{
   public static void H() {
      Class1.F();            // F is not called
   }
}

the classes Class2 and Class3 each contain calls to the conditional method Class1.F, which is conditional based on whether or not DEBUG is defined. Since this symbol is defined in the context of Class2 but not Class3, the call to F in Class2 is included, while the call to F in Class3 is omitted.

The use of conditional methods in an inheritance chain can be confusing. Calls made to a conditional method through base, of the form base.M, are subject to the normal conditional method call rules. In the example

File class1.cs:

using System;
using System.Diagnostics;
class Class1 
{
   [Conditional("DEBUG")]
   public virtual void M() {
      Console.WriteLine("Class1.M executed");
   }
}

File class2.cs:

using System;
class Class2: Class1
{
   public override void M() {
      Console.WriteLine("Class2.M executed");
      base.M();                  // base.M is not called!
   }
}

File class3.cs:

#define DEBUG
using System;
class Class3
{
   public static void Test() {
      Class2 c = new Class2();
      c.M();                     // M is called
   }
}

Class2 includes a call to the M defined in its base class. This call is omitted because the base method is conditional based on the presence of the symbol DEBUG, which is undefined. Thus, the method writes to the console "Class2.M executed" only. Judicious use of pp-declarations can eliminate such problems.

Show:
© 2014 Microsoft