How to check if an object is nullable?


Question

How do I check if a given object is nullable in other words how to implement the following method...

bool IsNullableValueType(object o)
{
    ...
}

EDIT: I am looking for nullable value types. I didn't have ref types in mind.

//Note: This is just a sample. The code has been simplified 
//to fit in a post.

public class BoolContainer
{
    bool? myBool = true;
}

var bc = new BoolContainer();

const BindingFlags bindingFlags = BindingFlags.Public
                        | BindingFlags.NonPublic
                        | BindingFlags.Instance
                        ;


object obj;
object o = (object)bc;

foreach (var fieldInfo in o.GetType().GetFields(bindingFlags))
{
    obj = (object)fieldInfo.GetValue(o);
}

obj now refers to an object of type bool (System.Boolean) with value equal to true. What I really wanted was an object of type Nullable<bool>

So now as a work around I decided to check if o is nullable and create a nullable wrapper around obj.

1
188
4/7/2010 9:53:16 AM

Accepted Answer

There are two types of nullable - Nullable<T> and reference-type.

Jon has corrected me that it is hard to get type if boxed, but you can with generics: - so how about below. This is actually testing type T, but using the obj parameter purely for generic type inference (to make it easy to call) - it would work almost identically without the obj param, though.

static bool IsNullable<T>(T obj)
{
    if (obj == null) return true; // obvious
    Type type = typeof(T);
    if (!type.IsValueType) return true; // ref-type
    if (Nullable.GetUnderlyingType(type) != null) return true; // Nullable<T>
    return false; // value-type
}

But this won't work so well if you have already boxed the value to an object variable.

252
3/10/2012 11:07:12 PM

There is a very simple solution using method overloads

http://deanchalk.com/is-it-nullable/

excerpt:

public static class ValueTypeHelper
{
    public static bool IsNullable<T>(T t) { return false; }
    public static bool IsNullable<T>(T? t) where T : struct { return true; }
}

then

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    int a = 123;
    int? b = null;
    object c = new object();
    object d = null;
    int? e = 456;
    var f = (int?)789;
    bool result1 = ValueTypeHelper.IsNullable(a); // false
    bool result2 = ValueTypeHelper.IsNullable(b); // true
    bool result3 = ValueTypeHelper.IsNullable(c); // false
    bool result4 = ValueTypeHelper.IsNullable(d); // false
    bool result5 = ValueTypeHelper.IsNullable(e); // true
    bool result6 = ValueTypeHelper.IsNullable(f); // true

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