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IConvertible Interface

Updated: March 2009

Defines methods that convert the value of the implementing reference or value type to a common language runtime type that has an equivalent value.

This API is not CLS-compliant. 

Namespace:  System
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
[ComVisibleAttribute(true)]
[CLSCompliantAttribute(false)]
public interface IConvertible

This interface provides methods to convert the value of an instance of an implementing type to a common language runtime type that has an equivalent value. The common language runtime types are Boolean, SByte, Byte, Int16, UInt16, Int32, UInt32, Int64, UInt64, Single, Double, Decimal, DateTime, Char, and String.

If there is no meaningful conversion to a common language runtime type, then a particular interface method implementation throws InvalidCastException. For example, if this interface is implemented on a Boolean type, the implementation of the ToDateTime method throws an exception because there is no meaningful DateTime equivalent to a Boolean type.

The common language runtime typically exposes the IConvertible interface through the Convert class. The common language runtime also uses the IConvertible interface internally, in explicit interface implementations, to simplify the code used to support conversions in the Convert class and basic common language runtime types.

In addition to the IConvertible interface, the .NET Framework provides classes called type converters for converting user-defined data types to other data types. For more information, see the Generalized Type Conversion topic.

Notes to Implementers:

If you implement the IConvertible interface, your implementation will be called automatically by the Convert.ChangeType(Object, Type) method if the Object parameter is an instance of your implementing type and the Type parameter is a common language runtime type.

Most conversion methods have a parameter of type IFormatProvider. Most commonly, this parameter represents either the current culture (CultureInfo.CurrentCulture) or a specific culture. Generally, the IConvertible implementations of the base types ignore this parameter. However, you can choose whether to use it in your code.

The following code sample demonstrates an implementation of IConvertible for a Complex number class, allowing it to be cast first as a Double and then calling the static Convert members on that Double.

using System;

namespace ConsoleApplication2
{

	/// Class that implements IConvertible 
	class Complex : IConvertible
	{
		double	x;
		double	y;

		public Complex(double x, double y)
		{
			this.x = x;
			this.y = y;
		}

		public TypeCode GetTypeCode()
		{
			return TypeCode.Object;
		}

		bool IConvertible.ToBoolean(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			if(	(x != 0.0) || (y != 0.0) )
				return true;
			else 
				return false;
		}

		double GetDoubleValue()
		{
			return Math.Sqrt(x*x + y*y);
		}

		byte IConvertible.ToByte(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToByte(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		char IConvertible.ToChar(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToChar(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		DateTime IConvertible.ToDateTime(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToDateTime(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		decimal IConvertible.ToDecimal(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToDecimal(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		double IConvertible.ToDouble(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return GetDoubleValue();
		}

		short IConvertible.ToInt16(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToInt16(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		int IConvertible.ToInt32(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToInt32(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		long IConvertible.ToInt64(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToInt64(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		sbyte IConvertible.ToSByte(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToSByte(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		float IConvertible.ToSingle(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToSingle(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		string IConvertible.ToString(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return "( " + x.ToString() + " , " + y.ToString() + " )";
		}

		object IConvertible.ToType(Type conversionType, IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ChangeType(GetDoubleValue(),conversionType);
		}

		ushort IConvertible.ToUInt16(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToUInt16(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		uint IConvertible.ToUInt32(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToUInt32(GetDoubleValue());
		}

		ulong IConvertible.ToUInt64(IFormatProvider provider)
		{
			return Convert.ToUInt64(GetDoubleValue());
		}

	}

	/// <summary> 
	/// Summary description for Class1. 
	/// </summary> 
	class Class1
	{
		static void Main(string[] args)
		{

			Complex		testComplex = new Complex(4,7);

			WriteObjectInfo(testComplex);
			WriteObjectInfo(Convert.ToBoolean(testComplex));
			WriteObjectInfo(Convert.ToDecimal(testComplex));
			WriteObjectInfo(Convert.ToString(testComplex));

		}

		static void WriteObjectInfo(object testObject)
		{
			TypeCode	typeCode = Type.GetTypeCode( testObject.GetType() );

			switch( typeCode )
			{
				case TypeCode.Boolean:
					Console.WriteLine("Boolean: {0}", testObject);
					break;

				case TypeCode.Double:
					Console.WriteLine("Double: {0}", testObject);
					break;
								
				default:
					Console.WriteLine("{0}: {1}", typeCode.ToString(), testObject);
					break;
			}
		}
	}
}

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

Date

History

Reason

March 2009

Added the Notes for Implementors section.

Information enhancement.

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