FAQ: Basic Classes and Objects - Automatic Properties

This community-built FAQ covers the “Automatic Properties” exercise from the lesson “Basic Classes and Objects”.

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FAQs on the exercise Automatic Properties

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What is the purpose of an automatic property?
If my getter and setter don’t perform any manipulation or checks on the data why bother making a getter/setter for them rather than just accessing the variable?

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Purpose is to shorten your code as your code will lose on readability if you have many properties. Properties are necessary for defining access to fields. In lessons to come you will learn why in most cases property is set to public and why is field set to private. This is a form of encapsulation and it’s essential to object-oriented programming. I think the next lesson covers it, so hold your horses :smiley:

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No I think @flujible has a point. In the automatic property there is an implicitly defined variable that is private, and we only really interact with the public property. If the property is public then what really is the difference between it and a public variable? ( If no changes or conditions are put on the property?) Since they are both public then wont they have the same kind of access rules?

The only thing i can say can make sense is -with my little experience i had discovered that- when you are trying to access a variable for what ever reason in maybe another class or something, it doesn’t show up in the suggestions or intellisense, as if to say that it doesn’t exist, or that current class has no really way of accessing explicity that variable from another class. But by providing a property, it creates a more obvious way of accessing a variable. And again you woudn’t need to create a full on property, you just need to have an automatic property declared for you.

I would appreciate it if anyone checked up on my conclusion, I really want to get the basics perfected

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@flujible I think by this point you have also made use of Google :sweat_smile: but I’ll link my findings on this topic here for others who also might be wondering about this.

Apparently, at this point, there really is no essential difference between public variables and properties because we’re using very simple code. In real-life projects, there would be things you can do with properties that you can’t with variables. Here are links to this and this thread if you want to read more about that.

Furthermore, if you later decide to change your public variable/field into a property, it would create a breaking change. This summarizes the problem very well, I think (source):

it is probably more important for ones designed for public use (for sale, open source, etc). If you use an Automatic Property and later decide that you need to do something else in the set or get , you can easily change your code without breaking the public interface.

As a point of clarification to a comment below, if all of the code is your own, then no, it may not make much of a difference between a property and a field to you. But, if you are designing a library that will be consumed by others then switching back and forth between public fields and properties will cause exceptions unless the code using the library is recompiled first.

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