Properties vs. Methods
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Properties vs. Methods 

Properties and methods are similar in that both are implemented as procedures that accept arguments. In general, properties store data for an object, and methods are actions an object can be asked to perform. Some object characteristics are obviously properties, such as Name, and some are obviously methods, such as Move and Show. In other cases, it is not obvious which class members should be properties and which should be methods. For example, the Item method of a collection class stores and retrieves data and can be implemented as an indexed property. On the other hand, it is also reasonable to implement Item as a method.

Property Syntax vs. Method Syntax

One way to decide how to implement a class member is to consider how you want it to be used. Although the syntax for retrieving information from a parameterized property is almost identical to the syntax used with a method implemented as a function, the syntax for modifying such a value is slightly different. For example, if you implement the member of a class as a property, then the following syntax describes how it would be used:

ThisObject.ThisProperty(Index) = NewValue

If you implement the class member as a method, then the value being modified must be an argument. The following code fragment describes equivalent syntax usage:

ThisObject.ThisProperty(Index, NewValue)

Error Messages

Another factor to consider when choosing how to implement a class member is what kind of messages will be generated when your class is used incorrectly. If someone accidentally attempts to assign a value to a read-only property, a different error message is returned than in response to a similar call to a method. Correctly implemented class members return error messages that are easier to interpret.

See Also

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