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TypeBuilder::DefineGenericParameters Method

Defines the generic type parameters for the current type, specifying their number and their names, and returns an array of GenericTypeParameterBuilder objects that can be used to set their constraints.

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

array<GenericTypeParameterBuilder^>^ DefineGenericParameters(
	... array<String^>^ names


Type: array<System::String>
An array of names for the generic type parameters.

Return Value

Type: array<System.Reflection.Emit::GenericTypeParameterBuilder>
An array of GenericTypeParameterBuilder objects that can be used to define the constraints of the generic type parameters for the current type.


Generic type parameters have already been defined for this type.


names is nullptr.


An element of names is nullptr.


names is an empty array.

Calling this method makes the current type a generic type. If the method is called again on the same type, an InvalidOperationException is thrown.

The following code example creates a generic type with two type parameters and saves them in the assembly GenericEmitExample1.dll. You can use the Ildasm.exe (MSIL Disassembler) to view the generated types. For a more detailed explanation of the steps involved in defining a dynamic generic type, see How to: Define a Generic Type with Reflection Emit.

using namespace System;
using namespace System::Reflection;
using namespace System::Reflection::Emit;
using namespace System::Collections::Generic;

// Dummy class to satisfy TFirst constraints.
public ref class Example {};

// Define a trivial base class and two trivial interfaces 
// to use when demonstrating constraints.
public ref class ExampleBase {};
public interface class IExampleA {};
public interface class IExampleB {};

// Define a trivial type that can substitute for type parameter 
// TSecond.
public ref class ExampleDerived : ExampleBase, IExampleA, IExampleB {};

// List the constraint flags. The GenericParameterAttributes
// enumeration contains two sets of attributes, variance and
// constraints. For this example, only constraints are used.
static void ListConstraintAttributes( Type^ t )
   // Mask off the constraint flags. 
   GenericParameterAttributes constraints = 
       t->GenericParameterAttributes & 

   if ((constraints & GenericParameterAttributes::ReferenceTypeConstraint)
           != GenericParameterAttributes::None)
       Console::WriteLine( L"    ReferenceTypeConstraint");

   if ((constraints & GenericParameterAttributes::NotNullableValueTypeConstraint)
           != GenericParameterAttributes::None)
       Console::WriteLine( L"    NotNullableValueTypeConstraint");

   if ((constraints & GenericParameterAttributes::DefaultConstructorConstraint)
           != GenericParameterAttributes::None)
       Console::WriteLine( L"    DefaultConstructorConstraint");

static void DisplayGenericParameters( Type^ t )
   if (!t->IsGenericType)
       Console::WriteLine( L"Type '{0}' is not generic." );
   if (!t->IsGenericTypeDefinition)
       t = t->GetGenericTypeDefinition();

   array<Type^>^ typeParameters = t->GetGenericArguments();
   Console::WriteLine( L"\r\nListing {0} type parameters for type '{1}'.", 
       typeParameters->Length, t );

   for each ( Type^ tParam in typeParameters )
       Console::WriteLine( L"\r\nType parameter {0}:", 
           tParam->ToString() );

       for each (Type^ c in tParam->GetGenericParameterConstraints())
           if (c->IsInterface)
               Console::WriteLine( L"    Interface constraint: {0}", c);
               Console::WriteLine( L"    Base type constraint: {0}", c);

void main()
   // Define a dynamic assembly to contain the sample type. The
   // assembly will be run and also saved to disk, so
   // AssemblyBuilderAccess.RunAndSave is specified.
   AppDomain^ myDomain = AppDomain::CurrentDomain;
   AssemblyName^ myAsmName = gcnew AssemblyName( L"GenericEmitExample1" );
   AssemblyBuilder^ myAssembly = myDomain->DefineDynamicAssembly( 
       myAsmName, AssemblyBuilderAccess::RunAndSave );

   // An assembly is made up of executable modules. For a single-
   // module assembly, the module name and file name are the same 
   // as the assembly name. 
   ModuleBuilder^ myModule = myAssembly->DefineDynamicModule( 
       myAsmName->Name, String::Concat( myAsmName->Name, L".dll" ) );

   // Get type objects for the base class trivial interfaces to
   // be used as constraints.
   Type^ baseType = ExampleBase::typeid; 
   Type^ interfaceA = IExampleA::typeid; 
   Type^ interfaceB = IExampleB::typeid;

   // Define the sample type.
   TypeBuilder^ myType = myModule->DefineType( L"Sample", 
       TypeAttributes::Public );

   Console::WriteLine( L"Type 'Sample' is generic: {0}", 
       myType->IsGenericType );

   // Define type parameters for the type. Until you do this, 
   // the type is not generic, as the preceding and following 
   // WriteLine statements show. The type parameter names are
   // specified as an array of strings. To make the code
   // easier to read, each GenericTypeParameterBuilder is placed
   // in a variable with the same name as the type parameter.
   array<String^>^typeParamNames = {L"TFirst",L"TSecond"};
   array<GenericTypeParameterBuilder^>^typeParams = 
       myType->DefineGenericParameters( typeParamNames );

   GenericTypeParameterBuilder^ TFirst = typeParams[0];
   GenericTypeParameterBuilder^ TSecond = typeParams[1];

   Console::WriteLine( L"Type 'Sample' is generic: {0}", 
       myType->IsGenericType );

   // Apply constraints to the type parameters.
   // A type that is substituted for the first parameter, TFirst,
   // must be a reference type and must have a parameterless
   // constructor.
       GenericParameterAttributes::DefaultConstructorConstraint | 

   // A type that is substituted for the second type
   // parameter must implement IExampleA and IExampleB, and
   // inherit from the trivial test class ExampleBase. The
   // interface constraints are specified as an array
   // containing the interface types. 
   array<Type^>^interfaceTypes = { interfaceA, interfaceB };
   TSecond->SetInterfaceConstraints( interfaceTypes );
   TSecond->SetBaseTypeConstraint( baseType );

   // The following code adds a private field named ExampleField,
   // of type TFirst.
   FieldBuilder^ exField = 
       myType->DefineField("ExampleField", TFirst, 

   // Define a static method that takes an array of TFirst and 
   // returns a List<TFirst> containing all the elements of 
   // the array. To define this method it is necessary to create
   // the type List<TFirst> by calling MakeGenericType on the
   // generic type definition, generic<T> List. 
   // The parameter type is created by using the
   // MakeArrayType method. 
   Type^ listOf = List::typeid;
   Type^ listOfTFirst = listOf->MakeGenericType(TFirst);
   array<Type^>^ mParamTypes = { TFirst->MakeArrayType() };

   MethodBuilder^ exMethod = 
           MethodAttributes::Public | MethodAttributes::Static, 

   // Emit the method body. 
   // The method body consists of just three opcodes, to load 
   // the input array onto the execution stack, to call the 
   // List<TFirst> constructor that takes IEnumerable<TFirst>,
   // which does all the work of putting the input elements into
   // the list, and to return, leaving the list on the stack. The
   // hard work is getting the constructor.
   // The GetConstructor method is not supported on a 
   // GenericTypeParameterBuilder, so it is not possible to get 
   // the constructor of List<TFirst> directly. There are two
   // steps, first getting the constructor of generic<T> List and then
   // calling a method that converts it to the corresponding 
   // constructor of List<TFirst>.
   // The constructor needed here is the one that takes an
   // IEnumerable<T>. Note, however, that this is not the 
   // generic type definition of generic<T> IEnumerable; instead, the
   // T from generic<T> List must be substituted for the T of 
   // generic<T> IEnumerable. (This seems confusing only because both
   // types have type parameters named T. That is why this example
   // uses the somewhat silly names TFirst and TSecond.) To get
   // the type of the constructor argument, take the generic
   // type definition generic<T> IEnumerable and 
   // call MakeGenericType with the first generic type parameter
   // of generic<T> List. The constructor argument list must be passed
   // as an array, with just one argument in this case.
   // Now it is possible to get the constructor of generic<T> List,
   // using GetConstructor on the generic type definition. To get
   // the constructor of List<TFirst>, pass List<TFirst> and
   // the constructor from generic<T> List to the static
   // TypeBuilder.GetConstructor method.
   ILGenerator^ ilgen = exMethod->GetILGenerator();

   Type^ ienumOf = IEnumerable::typeid;
   Type^ TfromListOf = listOf->GetGenericArguments()[0];
   Type^ ienumOfT = ienumOf->MakeGenericType(TfromListOf);
   array<Type^>^ ctorArgs = {ienumOfT};

   ConstructorInfo^ ctorPrep = listOf->GetConstructor(ctorArgs);
   ConstructorInfo^ ctor = 
       TypeBuilder::GetConstructor(listOfTFirst, ctorPrep);

   ilgen->Emit(OpCodes::Newobj, ctor);

   // Create the type and save the assembly. 
   Type^ finished = myType->CreateType();
   myAssembly->Save( String::Concat( myAsmName->Name, L".dll" ) );

   // Invoke the method.
   // ExampleMethod is not generic, but the type it belongs to is
   // generic, so in order to get a MethodInfo that can be invoked
   // it is necessary to create a constructed type. The Example 
   // class satisfies the constraints on TFirst, because it is a 
   // reference type and has a default constructor. In order to
   // have a class that satisfies the constraints on TSecond, 
   // this code example defines the ExampleDerived type. These
   // two types are passed to MakeGenericMethod to create the
   // constructed type.
   array<Type^>^ typeArgs = 
       { Example::typeid, ExampleDerived::typeid };
   Type^ constructed = finished->MakeGenericType(typeArgs);
   MethodInfo^ mi = constructed->GetMethod("ExampleMethod");

   // Create an array of Example objects, as input to the generic
   // method. This array must be passed as the only element of an 
   // array of arguments. The first argument of Invoke is 
   // null, because ExampleMethod is static. Display the count
   // on the resulting List<Example>.
   array<Example^>^ input = { gcnew Example(), gcnew Example() };
   array<Object^>^ arguments = { input };

   List<Example^>^ listX = 
       (List<Example^>^) mi->Invoke(nullptr, arguments);

       "\nThere are {0} elements in the List<Example>.", 


/* This code example produces the following output:

Type 'Sample' is generic: False
Type 'Sample' is generic: True

There are 2 elements in the List<Example>.

Listing 2 type parameters for type 'Sample[TFirst,TSecond]'.

Type parameter TFirst:

Type parameter TSecond:
    Interface constraint: IExampleA
    Interface constraint: IExampleB
    Base type constraint: ExampleBase

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

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