DateTime "null" value


Question

I've been searching a lot but couldn't find a solution. How do you deal with a DateTime that should be able to contain an uninitialized value (equivalent to null)? I have a class which might have a DateTime property value set or not. I was thinking of initializing the property holder to DateTime.MinValue, which then could easily be checked. I guess this is a quite common question, how do you do that?

1
256
10/21/2008 12:54:32 PM

Accepted Answer

For normal DateTimes, if you don't initialize them at all then they will match DateTime.MinValue, because it is a value type rather than a reference type.

You can also use a nullable DateTime, like this:

DateTime? MyNullableDate;

Or the longer form:

Nullable<DateTime> MyNullableDate;

And, finally, there's a built in way to reference the default of any type. This returns null for reference types, but for our DateTime example it will return the same as DateTime.MinValue:

default(DateTime)
400
7/26/2016 5:31:59 PM

If you're using .NET 2.0 (or later) you can use the nullable type:

DateTime? dt = null;

or

Nullable<DateTime> dt = null;

then later:

dt = new DateTime();

And you can check the value with:

if (dt.HasValue)
{
  // Do something with dt.Value
}

Or you can use it like:

DateTime dt2 = dt ?? DateTime.MinValue;

You can read more here:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/b3h38hb0.aspx


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