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Type.GetDefaultMembers() Method in C#

C# is a programming language that is both powerful and versatile, with a plethora of tools at its disposal. The Type is one such tool in C#. The GetDefaultMembers() function is an essential component of reflection. A program's capacity to examine its structure while it is running is known as reflection, along with the Type. The GetDefaultMembers() function is an important part of this procedure. In this article, we will examine this method's functionality, usage cases, and examples.


Before getting into the intricacies of Type.GetDefaultMembers(), let's take a quick look at reflection in the C# language. Developers can examine and work with the metadata of types, assemblies, and objects at runtime with the help of the robust technique known as reflection. It offers the capacity to access and modify members of types, retrieve information about them, and even dynamically generate new kinds.

Type's Function in Reflection:

The Type class in C# is essential to the reflection process. In the Common Types System (CTS), types are represented by instances of the Type class, which include attributes and methods that allow developers to study and work with the behaviour and structure of types. One such tool provided by the Type class is the Type.GetDefaultMembers() method, which is important since it can be used to obtain the default members of a type.

Comprehending Type.GetDefaultMembers():

Within the .NET Framework, the Type class contains the GetDefaultMembers() function. The main function of this function is to return an array of MemberInfo objects that represent a type's default members. When a type instance is utilized in a late-bound way, as in COM interop scenarios, those members are called default members.

Type.GetDefaultMembers()'s signature:

The signature of the method is as follows:

The foundation class for classes that represent the members of a type, such as methods, fields, properties, events, and more, is MemberInfo, and the return type is an array of MemberInfo objects.


Let us take an example to illustrate the Type.GetDefaultMembers() method in C#.


Type.GetDefaultMembers() Method in C#


The program is explained as follows,

  • Using a class called JTP, this C# program shows how to use the Type.GetDefaultMembers() method.
  • The "name" property is the default member of the class, as shown by the [DefaultMemberAttribute("name")] attribute that decorates it.
  • Using typeof(JTP), the program retrieves the Type object for the JTP class in the Main method.
  • After that, this type of object is subjected to the GetDefaultMembers() method, which returns an array of MemberInfo objects that represent the default members.
  • Using info.Len, the program determines whether any default members are present. I
  • If there are default members, MemberInfo's ToString() function is used to traverse through the array and print each member's details.
  • The getter for a property called "Name" and a method named "Name" in the JTP class returns the string "Ram". The [DefaultMemberAttribute("name")] property makes these members default members.
  • In this example, information about the default member, the "name" field of the JTP class, is displayed in the program's output.

Type.GetDefaultMembers() Use Cases:

There are several use cases of the Type.GetDefaultMembers() method in C#. Some main use cases of the Type.GetDefaultMembers() method are as follows:

COM Interoperability:

  • COM interop scenarios are one of the main use cases for Type.GetDefaultMembers(). Software components can communicate with one another through the binary interface standard known as COM (Component Object Model).
  • The Type.GetDefaultMembers() function facilitates the identification and retrieval of the COM type's default members when working with COM objects in C#.

Dynamic Invocation:

  • It is used when you need to dynamically invoke members, and the type of an object is known at runtime. Use of GetDefaultMembers() is possible.
  • It often occurs while working with objects that are retrieved through reflection or in dynamic languages.

Reflection-Based Tools:

  • Developers can Type to create tools that are reflection-based, including code analyzers or documentation generators.
  • Use GetDefaultMembers() to get detailed information about the default members of types. Understanding the behavior of types at runtime can be aided by this information.

Possible Drawbacks:

Even while Type.GetDefaultMembers() is an effective tool, it's important to use it carefully and be mindful of any potential risks:

Performance Overhead:

  • There is a performance overhead associated with reflection in general. Utilizing Type.GetDefaultMembers() and reflection frequently can affect an application's performance.
  • If there is no expectation of the default members changing throughout the application's lifetime, think about caching the results.

Limited Applicability:

  • The technique was created especially for situations where there is late-bound access, like in COM interop.
  • For accessing type members, the more conventional reflection methods (GetMethods(), GetProperties(), etc.) may be more appropriate in many circumstances.

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