.NET Tips and Tricks

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Hiding Methods from IntelliSense

Believe it or not, there are times when you have a member in your class that you don't want to appear in the class's IntelliSense lists.

In a column earlier this month I talked about how to have your class work with the .NET Framework support for formatting strings (things like "{0:G}," for example). By the time I had finished implementing this feature, my sample class had a method that no developer would ever call -- the method would only be called by .NET Framework components.

Because my method will never be called by a developer, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have that method cluttering up the class's IntelliSense list. To stop that method from appearing in the class's IntelliSense list, I could decorate the method with the EditorBrowsable attribute, passing the enumerated value EditorBrowsableState.Never. Here's the method from that column with the attribute applied to it:

<EditorBrowsable(EditorBrowsableState.Never)>
Public Function ToString1(format As String, formatProvider As IFormatProvider) As...

The trouble is, other than suppressing this ToString method, I literally cannot think of any other case when I'd want to use this attribute (after all, if I wanted a developer to stop using the method, I'd decorate it with the Obsolete attribute).

I suppose you could use the two attributes together: one to hide the method so a developer won't know about it while keeping the method in the class so old code would run; the other attribute to generate compile time warnings about how existing code should stop using the method. But that sure seems like a lot of work to invest in something you don't want people to use.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 01/21/2016 at 10:34 AM


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