If it walks like a class, talks like a class, it probably is a class
I occasionally come across attempts to extend Enums to include additional fields. These attempts typically use Attributes and reflection to get at the extra values. I have to say I don’t like them. The most extreme example of trying to get an Enum to do something else was this article on Code Project attempting to create a new type of enum: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/cs/EnumBuilder.aspx. Eugh!
Why do folks get so obsessed with trying to make enums do things that classes do better?
- As soon as you hit a limitation that an Enum can’t handle your best bet is to create a class.
- Need inheritance => use classes
- Need more than one value on the object => use a class
- Need more control over ToString() => use a class
- Need to be able to localize the string value => use a class
- Might need to do any of these in the future => use a class
- If in doubt => use a class
If you do this your code will be
- more readable: you can say “x is Duck” instead of “x == Animal.Duck”
- more maintainable
- more extensible
- more object oriented (less switch statements and branching code)
- easier to localize (if you use the Enum’s name in the UI which isn’t a good practice anyway)
- almost certainly more efficient than using enums and reflection
Mon Feb 01 2010 05:49:31 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)