Checking for null before ToString()


Question

Here's the scenario...

if (entry.Properties["something"].Value != null)
  attribs.something = entry.Properties["something"].Value.ToString();

While effective and working correctly, this looks ugly to me. If I don't check for a null before performing the ToString() then it throws an exception if the property was null. Is there a better way to handle this scenario?

Much appreciated!

1
74
4/26/2009 4:44:52 PM

Accepted Answer

Update 8 years later (wow!) to cover c# 6's null-conditional operator:

var value = maybeNull?.ToString() ?? ""

Other approaches:

object defaultValue = "default";
attribs.something = (entry.Properties["something"].Value ?? defaultValue).ToString()

I've also used this, which isn't terribly clever but convenient:

public static string ToSafeString(this object obj)
{
    return (obj ?? string.Empty).ToString();
}
121
3/11/2017 2:07:21 PM

If you are targeting the .NET Framework 3.5, the most elegant solution would be an extension method in my opinion.

public static class ObjectExtensions
{
    public static string NullSafeToString(this object obj)
    {
        return obj != null ? obj.ToString() : String.Empty;
    }
}

Then to use:

attribs.something = entry.Properties["something"].Value.NullSafeToString();

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