Type.GetType Method (String, Boolean)

July 28, 2014

Gets the Type with the specified name, performing a case-sensitive search and specifying whether to throw an exception if the type is not found.

Namespace:  System
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

'Declaration
Public Shared Function GetType ( _
	typeName As String, _
	throwOnError As Boolean _
) As Type

Parameters

typeName
Type: System.String
The assembly-qualified name of the type to get. See AssemblyQualifiedName. If the type is in the currently executing assembly or in Mscorlib.dll, it is sufficient to supply the type name qualified by its namespace.
throwOnError
Type: System.Boolean
true to throw an exception if the type cannot be found; false to return Nothing. Specifying false also suppresses some other exception conditions, but not all of them. See the Exceptions section.

Return Value

Type: System.Type
The type with the specified name. If the type is not found, the throwOnError parameter specifies whether Nothing is returned or an exception is thrown. In some cases, an exception is thrown regardless of the value of throwOnError. See the Exceptions section.

ExceptionCondition
ArgumentNullException

typeName is Nothing.

TargetInvocationException

A class initializer is invoked and throws an exception.

TypeLoadException

throwOnError is true and the type is not found.

-or-

throwOnError is true and typeName contains invalid characters, such as an embedded tab.

-or-

throwOnError is true and typeName is an empty string.

-or-

throwOnError is true and typeName represents an array type with an invalid size.

ArgumentException

throwOnError is true and typeName contains invalid syntax. For example, "MyType[,*,]".

-or-

typeName represents a generic type that has a pointer type, a ByRef type, or Void as one of its type arguments.

-or-

typeName represents a generic type that has an incorrect number of type arguments.

-or-

typeName represents a generic type, and one of its type arguments does not satisfy the constraints for the corresponding type parameter.

FileNotFoundException

throwOnError is true and the assembly or one of its dependencies was not found.

FileLoadException

The assembly or one of its dependencies was found, but could not be loaded.

BadImageFormatException

The assembly or one of its dependencies is not valid.

-or-

The assembly was compiled with a later version of the .NET Framework.

You can use the GetType method to obtain a Type object for a type in another assembly, if the you know its namespace-qualified name. GetType causes loading of the assembly specified in typeName. You can also load an assembly using the Load method, and then use the GetType or GetTypes methods of the Assembly class to get Type objects. If a type is in an assembly known to your program at compile time, it is more efficient to use typeof in C#, GetType in Visual Basic, or typeid in C++.

GetType only works on assemblies loaded from disk. If you call GetType to look up a type defined in a dynamic assembly defined using the System.Reflection.Emit services, you might get inconsistent behavior.

To use GetType on a dynamic module, subscribe to the AppDomainAssemblyResolve event and call GetType before saving. Otherwise, you will get two copies of the assembly in memory.

The throwOnError parameter specifies what happens when the type is not found, and also suppresses certain other exception conditions, as described in the Exceptions section. Some exceptions are thrown regardless of the value of throwOnError. For example, if the type is found but cannot be loaded, a TypeLoadException is thrown even if throwOnError is false.

The following table shows what members of a base class are returned by the Get methods when reflecting on a type.

Member Type

Static

Non-Static

Constructor

No

No

Field

No

Yes. A field is always hide-by-name-and-signature.

Event

Not applicable

The common type system rule is that the inheritance is the same as that of the methods that implement the property. Reflection treats properties as hide-by-name-and-signature. See note 2 below.

Method

No

Yes. A method (both virtual and non-virtual) can be hide-by-name or hide-by-name-and-signature.

Nested Type

No

No

Property

Not applicable

The common type system rule is that the inheritance is the same as that of the methods that implement the property. Reflection treats properties as hide-by-name-and-signature. See note 2 below.

Notes:

  1. Hide-by-name-and-signature considers all of the parts of the signature, including custom modifiers, return types, parameter types, sentinels, and unmanaged calling conventions. This is a binary comparison.

  2. For reflection, properties and events are hide-by-name-and-signature. If you have a property with both a get and a set accessor in the base class, but the derived class has only a get accessor, the derived class property hides the base class property, and you will not be able to access the setter on the base class.

  3. Custom attributes are not part of the common type system.

Arrays or COM types are not searched for unless they have already been loaded into the table of available classes.

typeName can be the type name qualified by its namespace or an assembly-qualified name that includes an assembly name specification. See AssemblyQualifiedName.

If typeName includes the namespace but not the assembly name, this method searches only the calling object's assembly and Mscorlib.dll, in that order. If typeName is fully qualified with the partial or complete assembly name, this method searches in the specified assembly. If the assembly has a strong name, a complete assembly name is required.

The AssemblyQualifiedName property returns a fully qualified type name including nested types, the assembly name, and generic arguments. All compilers that support the common language runtime will emit the simple name of a nested class, and reflection constructs a mangled name when queried, in accordance with the following conventions.

Delimiter

Meaning

Backslash (\)

Escape character.

Backtick (`)

Precedes one or more digits representing the number of type parameters, located at the end of the name of a generic type.

Brackets ([])

Enclose a generic type argument list, for a constructed generic type; within a type argument list, enclose an assembly-qualified type.

Comma (,)

Precedes the Assembly name.

Period (.)

Denotes namespace identifiers.

Plus sign (+)

Precedes a nested class.

For example, the fully qualified name for a class might look like this:

TopNamespace.SubNameSpace.ContainingClass+NestedClass,MyAssembly

If the namespace were TopNamespace.Sub+Namespace, then the string would have to precede the plus sign (+) with an escape character (\) to prevent it from being interpreted as a nesting separator. Reflection emits this string as follows:

TopNamespace.Sub\+Namespace.ContainingClass+NestedClass,MyAssembly

A "++" becomes "\+\+", and a "\" becomes "\\".

This qualified name can be persisted and later used to load the Type. To search for and load a Type, use GetType either with the type name only or with the assembly qualified type name. GetType with the type name only will look for the Type in the caller's assembly and then in the System assembly. GetType with the assembly qualified type name will look for the Type in any assembly.

Type names may include trailing characters that denote additional information about the type, such as whether the type is a reference type, a pointer type or an array type. To retrieve the type name without these trailing characters, use t.GetElementType().ToString(), where t is the type.

Spaces are relevant in all type name components except the assembly name. In the assembly name, spaces before the ',' separator are relevant, but spaces after the ',' separator are ignored.

The name of a generic type ends with a backtick (`) followed by digits representing the number of generic type arguments. The purpose of this name mangling is to allow compilers to support generic types with the same name but with different numbers of type parameters, occurring in the same scope. For example, reflection returns the mangled names Tuple`1 and Tuple`2 from the generic methods Tuple(Of T) and Tuple(Of T0, T1) in Visual Basic, or Tuple<T> and Tuple<T0, T1> in Visual C#.

For generic types, the type argument list is enclosed in brackets, and the type arguments are separated by commas. For example, a generic Dictionary(Of TKey, TValue) has two type parameters. A Dictionary(Of TKey, TValue) of MyType with keys of type String might be represented as follows:

System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary`2[System.String,MyType]

To specify an assembly-qualified type within a type argument list, enclose the assembly-qualified type within brackets. Otherwise, the commas that separate the parts of the assembly-qualified name are interpreted as delimiting additional type arguments. For example, a Dictionary(Of TKey, TValue) of MyType from MyAssembly.dll, with keys of type String, might be specified as follows:

Type.GetType("System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary`2[System.String,[MyType,MyAssembly]]")
NoteNote:

An assembly-qualified type can be enclosed in brackets only when it appears within a type parameter list. The rules for searching assemblies for qualified and unqualified types in type parameter lists are the same as the rules for qualified and unqualified nongeneric types.

Nullable types are a special case of generic types. For example, a nullable Int32 is represented by the string "System.Nullable`1[System.Int32]".

NoteNote:

In C#, C++, and Visual Basic you can also get nullable types using type operators. For example, the nullable Boolean type is returned by typeof(Nullable<bool>) in C#, by Nullable<Boolean>::typeid in C++, and by GetType(Nullable(Of Boolean)) in Visual Basic.

The following table shows the syntax you use with GetType for various types.

To Get

Use

A nullable Int32

Type.GetType("System.Nullable`1[System.Int32]")

An unmanaged pointer to MyType

Type.GetType("MyType*")

An unmanaged pointer to a pointer to MyType

Type.GetType("MyType**")

A managed pointer or reference to MyType

Type.GetType("MyType&"). Note that unlike pointers, references are limited to one level.

A parent class and a nested class

Type.GetType("MyParentClass+MyNestedClass")

A one-dimensional array with a lower bound of 0

Type.GetType("MyArray[]")

A one-dimensional array with an unknown lower bound

Type.GetType("MyArray[*]")

An n-dimensional array

A comma (,) inside the brackets a total of n-1 times. For example, System.Object[,,] represents a three-dimensional Object array.

A two-dimensional array's array

Type.GetType("MyArray[][]")

A rectangular two-dimensional array with unknown lower bounds

Type.GetType("MyArray[,]")

A generic type with one type argument

Type.GetType("MyGenericType`1[MyType]")

A generic type with two type arguments

Type.GetType("MyGenericType`2[MyType,AnotherType]")

A generic type with two assembly-qualified type arguments

Type.GetType("MyGenericType`2[[MyType,MyAssembly],[AnotherType,AnotherAssembly]]")

An assembly-qualified generic type with an assembly-qualified type argument

Type.GetType("MyGenericType`1[[MyType,MyAssembly]],MyGenericTypeAssembly")

A generic type whose type argument is a generic type with two type arguments

Type.GetType("MyGenericType`1[AnotherGenericType`2[MyType,AnotherType]]")

Version Notes

Windows Phone

 GetType throws a TypeLoadExceptionArgumentException exception if you pass it an invalid parameter.

Type.GetType(String, Boolean) returns an ArgumentException instead of a null type when the typeName parameter is empty.

The following example retrieves the type of System.Int32 and uses that type object to display the FullName property of System.Int32. If a type object refers to an assembly that does not exist, this example throws an exception.


Class Example
    Public Shared Sub Demo(ByVal outputBlock As System.Windows.Controls.TextBlock)
        Try
            ' Get the type of the specified class.
            Dim myType1 As Type = Type.GetType("System.Int32")
            outputBlock.Text += String.Format("The full name is {0}.", myType1.FullName) & vbCrLf
            ' Since NoneSuch does not exist in this assembly, GetType throws a TypeLoadException.
            Dim myType2 As Type = Type.GetType("NoneSuch", True)
            outputBlock.Text += String.Format("The full name is {0}.", myType2.FullName) & vbCrLf
        Catch e As TypeLoadException
            outputBlock.Text &= e.Message.ToString() & vbCrLf
        Catch e As Exception
            outputBlock.Text &= e.Message.ToString() & vbCrLf
        End Try
    End Sub 
End Class 

' This example produces output similar to the following:
'
'The full name is System.Int32.
'Could not load type 'NoneSuch' from assembly 'SilverlightApplication, Version=0.0.0.0, Culture = neutral, PublicKeyToken=null'.


Windows Phone OS

Supported in: 8.1, 8.0, 7.1, 7.0

Windows Phone

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