Target-typed new expressions

  • [x] Proposed
  • [x] Prototype
  • [ ] Implementation
  • [ ] Specification

Summary

Do not require type specification for constructors when the type is known.

Motivation

Allow field initialization without duplicating the type.

Dictionary<string, List<int>> field = new() {
    { "item1", new() { 1, 2, 3 } }
};

Allow omitting the type when it can be inferred from usage.

XmlReader.Create(reader, new() { IgnoreWhitespace = true });

Instantiate an object without spelling out the type.

private readonly static object s_syncObj = new();

Specification

A new syntactic form, target_typed_new of the object_creation_expression is accepted in which the type is optional.

object_creation_expression
    : 'new' type '(' argument_list? ')' object_or_collection_initializer?
    | 'new' type object_or_collection_initializer
    | target_typed_new
    ;
target_typed_new
    : 'new' '(' argument_list? ')' object_or_collection_initializer?
    ;

A target_typed_new expression does not have a type. However, there is a new object creation conversion that is an implicit conversion from expression, that exists from a target_typed_new to every type.

Given a target type T, the type T0 is T's underlying type if T is an instance of System.Nullable. Otherwise T0 is T. The meaning of a target_typed_new expression that is converted to the type T is the same as the meaning of a corresponding object_creation_expression that specifies T0 as the type.

It is a compile-time error if a target_typed_new is used as an operand of a unary or binary operator, or if it is used where it is not subject to an object creation conversion.

Open Issue: should we allow delegates and tuples as the target-type?

The above rules include delegates (a reference type) and tuples (a struct type). Although both types are constructible, if the type is inferable, an anonymous function or a tuple literal can already be used.

(int a, int b) t = new(1, 2); // "new" is redundant
Action a = new(() => {}); // "new" is redundant

(int a, int b) t = new(); // OK; same as (0, 0)
Action a = new(); // no constructor found

Miscellaneous

The following are consequences of the specification:

  • throw new() is allowed (the target type is System.Exception)
  • Target-typed new is not allowed with binary operators.
  • It is disallowed when there is no type to target: unary operators, collection of a foreach, in a using, in a deconstruction, in an await expression, as an anonymous type property (new { Prop = new() }), in a lock statement, in a sizeof, in a fixed statement, in a member access (new().field), in a dynamically dispatched operation (someDynamic.Method(new())), in a LINQ query, as the operand of the is operator, as the left operand of the ?? operator, ...
  • It is also disallowed as a ref.
  • The following kinds of types are not permitted as targets of the conversion
    • Enum types: new() will work (as new Enum() works to give the default value), but new(1) will not work as enum types do not have a constructor.
    • Interface types: This would work the same as the corresponding creation expression for COM types.
    • Array types: arrays need a special syntax to provide the length.
    • dynamic: we don't allow new dynamic(), so we don't allow new() with dynamic as a target type.
    • tuples: These have the same meaning as an object creation using the underlying type.
    • All the other types that are not permitted in the object_creation_expression are excluded as well, for instance, pointer types.

Drawbacks

There were some concerns with target-typed new creating new categories of breaking changes, but we already have that with null and default, and that has not been a significant problem.

Alternatives

Most of complaints about types being too long to duplicate in field initialization is about type arguments not the type itself, we could infer only type arguments like new Dictionary(...) (or similar) and infer type arguments locally from arguments or the collection initializer.

Questions

  • Should we forbid usages in expression trees? (no)
  • How the feature interacts with dynamic arguments? (no special treatment)
  • How IntelliSense should work with new()? (only when there is a single target-type)

Design meetings