Why we don’t recommend using List in public APIs

We don’t recommend using List<T> in public APIs for two reasons.

  • List<T> is not designed to be extended. i.e. you cannot override any members. This for example means that an object returning List<T> from a property won’t be able to get notified when the collection is modified. Collection<T> lets you overrides SetItem protected member to get “notified” when a new items is added or an existing item is changed.
  • List<T> has lots of members that are not relevant in many scenarios. We say that List<T> is too “busy” for public object models. Imagine ListView.Items property returning List<T> with all its richness. Now, look at the actual ListView.Items return type; it’s way simpler and similar to Collection<T> or ReadOnlyCollection<T>.