Evil Code #008: Property Instance

It has been long since I blogged on Evil Code series. Time to check one again now. Consider two samples of code.

Sample 1

public class AnotherClass
{
public MyClass ClassInstance{get;set;}
}

public class TestClass1
{
public AnotherClass AnotherClass{get;set;}
public int Id
{
get=> AnotherClass.ClassInstance.Id;
set=> AnotherClass.ClassInstance.Id=value;
}
}

public class MyClass
{
public int Id{get;set;}
}

Sample 2

public class AnotherClass
{
public MyStruct StructInstance{get;set;}
}

public class TestClass2
{
public AnotherClass AnotherClass{get;set;}
public int Id
{
get=> AnotherClass.StructInstance.Id;
set=> AnotherClass.StructInstance.Id=value;
}
}
public struct MyStruct
{
public int Id{get;set;}
}

How differently would two of the code samples given below behave ?

Well, Sample 1 compiles and Sample 2 doesn’t. Why ?? Sample 2, in fact raises following error.

Cannot modify the return value of 'AnotherClass.StructInstance' because it is not a variable

Could you reason why ?

If you look into the two Sample codes, there is a significant difference. MyStruct, used by Sample 2 is a value type. This means that when you are are in fact accessing a copy of StructInstance and not the valeu itself ( as you would have had it been a class – reference type).
Any change made in the property is made on the Copy instance, and then disregarded, leaving the original value unchanged.

This is the reason compiler warns you against.

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