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Exploring the Power of C# 8.0: The New Switch Expression


In the world of programming, handling multiple conditions efficiently is a common challenge. Traditionally, languages like C# have relied on switch statements for this purpose. However, with the introduction of C# 8.0, a new feature called the "switch expression" brings a more concise, flexible, and expressive way to handle such scenarios. In this article, we'll delve into the capabilities of the new switch expression and explore how it enhances the programming experience in C#.

Understanding Traditional Switch Statements:

Before diving into switch expressions, let's quickly recap how traditional switch statements work in C#. A switch statement evaluates an expression against a list of possible values and executes the code block associated with the first matching value. While effective, switch statements can become verbose, especially when dealing with complex conditions or multiple cases.

Introducing Switch Expressions:

C# 8.0 introduces switch expressions as a more powerful alternative to traditional switch statements. Unlike switch statements, switch expressions can be used as part of an expression, allowing for more concise and readable code. Here's a program of a switch expression:

class Program { static void Main(string[] args) { Console.WriteLine("Enter a number to check its parity:"); int number = int.Parse(Console.ReadLine()); string parity = CheckParity(number); Console.WriteLine($"The number {number} is {parity}."); } static string CheckParity(int number) { return number switch { int n when n % 2 == 0 => "even", int n when n % 2 != 0 => "odd", _ => "neither odd nor even" }; } }

In above bold syntax:

  • number is the expression to be evaluated.
    • { ... }: This block contains the cases and their corresponding expressions.

    • int n when n % 2 == 0 => "even":

      • This case is executed when number % 2 == 0, indicating that the number is even.
      • int n introduces a pattern variable n which represents the value of number.
      • when n % 2 == 0 filters this case to only execute when the value is even.
      • => "even" specifies that if the condition is met, the expression should return "even".
    • int n when n % 2 != 0 => "odd":

      • This case is executed when number % 2 != 0, indicating that the number is odd.
      • int n introduces a pattern variable n which represents the value of number.
      • when n % 2 != 0 filters this case to only execute when the value is odd.
      • => "odd" specifies that if the condition is met, the expression should return "odd".
    • _ => "neither odd nor even":

      • This is the default case that matches any other value that hasn't matched the previous cases.
      • _ is a discard pattern, which means it matches any value.
      • => "neither odd nor even" specifies that if the input doesn't match the previous cases, the expression should return "neither odd nor even".

Benefits of Switch Expressions:

Switch expressions offer several benefits over traditional switch statements:

  1. Conciseness:

  1. Switch expressions are more concise and expressive, reducing the verbosity often associated with switch statements.
  1. Pattern Matching:
  1. They support pattern matching, allowing for more flexible and sophisticated matching conditions.

  1. Return Values:

  1. Switch expressions can return a value directly, making them suitable for assignments and method returns.

Traditional Switch Case Statement:

Below is the implementation of same method using traditional switch-case

        static string CheckParity(int number)
            switch (number % 2)
                case 0:
                    return "even";
                case 1:
                    return "odd";
                    return "neither odd nor even";

The switch expression introduced in C# 8.0 brings a modern and expressive approach to handling multiple conditions in C# programming. Its concise syntax, support for pattern matching, and ability to return values directly make it a valuable addition to the language. By leveraging switch expressions, developers can write cleaner, more maintainable code while improving their productivity. As C# continues to evolve, features like switch expressions contribute to making the language more powerful and developer-friendly.


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