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.NET Framework Class Library

Nullable<T> Structure

Represents a value type that can be assigned null.

Namespace:  System
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
<SerializableAttribute> _
Public Structure Nullable(Of T As Structure)

Type Parameters

T

The underlying value type of the Nullable<T> generic type.

The Nullable<T> type exposes the following members.

  Name Description
Public method Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps Nullable<T> Initializes a new instance of the Nullable<T> structure to the specified value.
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  Name Description
Public property Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps HasValue Gets a value indicating whether the current Nullable<T> object has a valid value of its underlying type.
Public property Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps Value Gets the value of the current Nullable<T> object if it has been assigned a valid underlying value.
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  Name Description
Public method Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps Equals Indicates whether the current Nullable<T> object is equal to a specified object. (Overrides ValueType.Equals(Object).)
Public method Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps GetHashCode Retrieves the hash code of the object returned by the Value property. (Overrides ValueType.GetHashCode().)
Public method Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps GetType Gets the Type of the current instance. (Inherited from Object.)
Public method Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps GetValueOrDefault() Retrieves the value of the current Nullable<T> object, or the object's default value.
Public method Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps GetValueOrDefault(T) Retrieves the value of the current Nullable<T> object, or the specified default value.
Public method Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps ToString Returns the text representation of the value of the current Nullable<T> object. (Overrides ValueType.ToString().)
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  Name Description
Public operator Static member Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps Explicit(Nullable<T> to T) Returns the value of a specified Nullable<T> value.
Public operator Static member Supported by the XNA Framework Supported by Portable Class Library Supported in .NET for Windows Store apps Implicit(T to Nullable<T>) Creates a new Nullable<T> object initialized to a specified value.
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A type is said to be nullable if it can be assigned a value or can be assigned null, which means the type has no value whatsoever. By default, all reference types, such as String, are nullable, but all value types, such as Int32, are not.

In C# and Visual Basic, you mark a value type as nullable by using the ? notation after the value type. For example, int? in C# or Integer? in Visual Basic declares an integer value type that can be assigned null.

The Nullable<T> structure supports using only a value type as a nullable type because reference types are nullable by design.

The Nullable class provides complementary support for the Nullable<T> structure. The Nullable class supports obtaining the underlying type of a nullable type, and comparison and equality operations on pairs of nullable types whose underlying value type does not support generic comparison and equality operations.

Fundamental Properties

The two fundamental members of the Nullable<T> structure are the HasValue and Value properties. If the HasValue property for a Nullable<T> object is true, the value of the object can be accessed with the Value property. If the HasValue property is false, the value of the object is undefined and an attempt to access the Value property throws an InvalidOperationException.

Boxing and Unboxing

When a nullable type is boxed, the common language runtime automatically boxes the underlying value of the Nullable<T> object, not the Nullable<T> object itself. That is, if the HasValue property is true, the contents of the Value property is boxed. When the underlying value of a nullable type is unboxed, the common language runtime creates a new Nullable<T> structure initialized to the underlying value.

If the HasValue property of a nullable type is false, the result of a boxing operation is null. Consequently, if a boxed nullable type is passed to a method that expects an object argument, that method must be prepared to handle the case where the argument is null. When null is unboxed into a nullable type, the common language runtime creates a new Nullable<T> structure and initializes its HasValue property to false.

.NET Framework 4.5.1 and Windows Runtime Components

Starting with the .NET Framework 4.5.1, you can include a Nullable<T> type as a member of a structure exported in a WinMD library. Previously, this was not supported.

The following code example defines three rows of a table in the Microsoft Pubs sample database. The table contains two columns that are not nullable and two columns that are nullable.

' This code example demonstrates the Nullable(Of T) class. 
' The code example defines a database table in which two columns  
' are nullable. In the application, an array of rows is created  
' and initialized. The table rows could subsequently be  
' written to a database. 

Imports System

Class Sample
    ' Define the "titleAuthor" table of the Microsoft "pubs" database.  

    Public Structure titleAuthor
    ' Author ID; format ###-##-#### 
        Public au_id As String 
    ' Title ID; format AA#### 
        Public title_id As String 
    ' Author ORD is nullable. 
        Public au_ord As Nullable(Of Short)
    ' Royalty Percent is nullable. 
        Public royaltyper As Nullable(Of Integer)
    End Structure 'titleAuthor

    Public Shared Sub Main() 
    ' Declare and initialize the titleAuthor array. 
        Dim ta(2) As titleAuthor
        ta(0).au_id = "712-32-1176"
        ta(0).title_id = "PS3333"
        ta(0).au_ord = 1
        ta(0).royaltyper = 100

        ta(1).au_id = "213-46-8915"
        ta(1).title_id = "BU1032"
        ta(1).au_ord = Nothing
        ta(1).royaltyper = Nothing

        ta(2).au_id = "672-71-3249"
        ta(2).title_id = "TC7777"
        ta(2).au_ord = Nothing
        ta(2).royaltyper = 40

    ' Display the values of the titleAuthor array elements, and  
    ' display a legend.
        Display("Title Authors Table", ta)
        Console.WriteLine("Legend:")
        Console.WriteLine("An Author ORD of -1 means no value is defined.")
        Console.WriteLine("A Royalty % of 0 means no value is defined.")
    End Sub 'Main

    ' Display the values of the titleAuthor array elements. 
    Public Shared Sub Display(ByVal dspTitle As String, _
                              ByVal dspAllTitleAuthors() As titleAuthor) 
        Console.WriteLine("*** {0} ***", dspTitle)
        Dim dspTA As titleAuthor
        For Each dspTA In dspAllTitleAuthors
            Console.WriteLine("Author ID ... {0}", dspTA.au_id)
            Console.WriteLine("Title ID .... {0}", dspTA.title_id)
            Console.WriteLine("Author ORD .. {0}", dspTA.au_ord.GetValueOrDefault(-1))
            Console.WriteLine("Royalty % ... {0}", dspTA.royaltyper.GetValueOrDefault(0))
            Console.WriteLine()
        Next dspTA
    End Sub 'Display
End Class 'Sample


'This code example produces the following results: 

'*** Title Authors Table *** 
'Author ID ... 712-32-1176 
'Title ID .... PS3333 
'Author ORD .. 1 
'Royalty % ... 100 

'Author ID ... 213-46-8915 
'Title ID .... BU1032 
'Author ORD .. -1 
'Royalty % ... 0 

'Author ID ... 672-71-3249 
'Title ID .... TC7777 
'Author ORD .. -1 
'Royalty % ... 40 

'Legend: 
'An Author ORD of -1 means no value is defined. 
'A Royalty % of 0 means no value is defined. 
'

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5.2, 4.5.1, 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Portable Class Library

Supported in: Portable Class Library

.NET for Windows Store apps

Supported in: Windows 8

.NET for Windows Phone apps

Supported in: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Silverlight 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.