Asked  7 Months ago    Answers:  5   Viewed   22 times

I collect a few corner cases and brain teasers and would always like to hear more. The page only really covers C# language bits and bobs, but I also find core .NET things interesting too. For example, here's one which isn't on the page, but which I find incredible:

string x = new string(new char[0]);
string y = new string(new char[0]);
Console.WriteLine(object.ReferenceEquals(x, y));

I'd expect that to print False - after all, "new" (with a reference type) always creates a new object, doesn't it? The specs for both C# and the CLI indicate that it should. Well, not in this particular case. It prints True, and has done on every version of the framework I've tested it with. (I haven't tried it on Mono, admittedly...)

Just to be clear, this is only an example of the kind of thing I'm looking for - I wasn't particularly looking for discussion/explanation of this oddity. (It's not the same as normal string interning; in particular, string interning doesn't normally happen when a constructor is called.) I was really asking for similar odd behaviour.

Any other gems lurking out there?



I think I showed you this one before, but I like the fun here - this took some debugging to track down! (the original code was obviously more complex and subtle...)

    static void Foo<T>() where T : new()
        T t = new T();
        Console.WriteLine(t.ToString()); // works fine
        Console.WriteLine(t.GetHashCode()); // works fine
        Console.WriteLine(t.Equals(t)); // works fine

        // so it looks like an object and smells like an object...

        // but this throws a NullReferenceException...

So what was T...

Answer: any Nullable<T> - such as int?. All the methods are overridden, except GetType() which can't be; so it is cast (boxed) to object (and hence to null) to call object.GetType()... which calls on null ;-p

Update: the plot thickens... Ayende Rahien threw down a similar challenge on his blog, but with a where T : class, new():

private static void Main() {

public static void CanThisHappen<T>() where T : class, new() {
    var instance = new T(); // new() on a ref-type; should be non-null, then
    Debug.Assert(instance != null, "How did we break the CLR?");

But it can be defeated! Using the same indirection used by things like remoting; warning - the following is pure evil:

class MyFunnyProxyAttribute : ProxyAttribute {
    public override MarshalByRefObject CreateInstance(Type serverType) {
        return null;
class MyFunnyType : ContextBoundObject { }

With this in place, the new() call is redirected to the proxy (MyFunnyProxyAttribute), which returns null. Now go and wash your eyes!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021
answered 7 Months ago
private int myVar;
public int MyVar
    get { return MyVar; }

Blammo. Your app crashes with no stack trace. Happens all the time.

(Notice capital MyVar instead of lowercase myVar in the getter.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2021
answered 7 Months ago

This is not possible (in a clean & reliable way), from iTextSharp tutorial:

You can't 'parse' an existing PDF file using iText, you can only 'read' it page per page. What does this mean? The pdf format is just a canvas where text and graphics are placed without any structure information. As such there aren't any 'iText-objects' in a PDF file. In each page there will probably be a number of 'Strings', but you can't reconstruct a phrase or a paragraph using these strings. [...] You can't edit an existing PDF document, by saying: for instance replace the word Louagie by Lowagie. To achieve this, you would have to know the exact location of the word Louagie, paint a white rectangle over it and paint the word Lowagie on this white rectangle. Please avoid this kind of 'patch' work. Do your PDF editing with an Adobe product.

Friday, August 6, 2021
answered 4 Months ago

Are you doing this at work? Is a corporate firewall or anti-virus program running? Check the windows event logs and any applications in your task notification icons area on your start bar for hints as to who is blocking this.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021
answered 4 Months ago

If WCF meets your needs, it's worth looking at. ZeroC and other alternative higher level libraries exist. Otherwise there are several different ways to work closer to the socket level if that's what you need.


These provide a relatively thin wrapper around the underlying sockets. It essentially provides a Stream over the socket. You can use the async methods on the NetworkStream (BeginRead, etc.). I don't like this one as the wrapper doesn't provide that much and it tends to be a little more awkward than using the socket directly.

Socket - Select

This provides the classic Select technique for multiplexing multiple socket IO onto a single thread. Not recommended any longer.

Socket - APM Style

The Asynchronous Programming Model (AKA IAsyncResult, Begin/End Style) for sockets is the primary technique for using sockets asynchronously. And there are several variants. Essentially, you call an async method (e.g., BeginReceive) and do one of the following:

  1. Poll for completion on the returned IAsyncResult (hardly used).
  2. Use the WaitHandle from the IAsyncResult to wait for the method to complete.
  3. Pass the BeginXXX method a callback method that will be executed when the method completes.

The best way is #3 as it is the usually the most convenient. When in doubt, use this method.

Some links:

  • MSDN Magazine Article on Sockets
  • A Jeffery Richter Article on the Asynchronous Programming Model

.NET 3.5 High Performance Sockets

.NET 3.5 introduced a new model for async sockets that uses events. It uses the "simplified" async model (e.g., Socket.SendAsync). Instead of giving a callback, you subscribe to an event for completion and instead of an IAsyncResult, you get SocketAsyncEventArgs. The idea is that you can reuse the SocketAsyncEventArgs and pre-allocate memory for socket IO. In high performance scenarios this can be much more efficient that using the APM style. In addition, if you do pre-allocate the memory, you get a stable memory footprint, reduced garbage collection, memory holes from pinning etc. Note that worrying about this should only be a consideration in the most high performance scenarios.

  • MSDN Magazine: Get Connected With The .NET Framework 3.5
  • MSDN Information with technique for pre-allocating memory


For most cases use the callback method of the APM style unless you prefer the style of the SocketAsyncEventArgs / Async method. If you've used CompletionPorts in WinSock, you should know that both of these methods use CompletionPorts under the hood.

Friday, September 10, 2021
Rüdiger Schulz
answered 3 Months ago
Only authorized users can answer the question. Please sign in first, or register a free account.
Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged :