Static Class Design

A static class is defined as a class that contains only static members (of course besides the instance members inherited from System.Object and possibly a private constructor). Some languages provide built-in support for static classes. In C# 2.0 and later, when a class is declared to be static, it is sealed, abstract, and no instance members can be overridden or declared.

Static classes are a compromise between pure object-oriented design and simplicity. They are commonly used to provide shortcuts to other operations (such as System.IO.File), holders of extension methods, or functionality for which a full object-oriented wrapper is unwarranted (such as System.Environment).

✓ DO use static classes sparingly.

Static classes should be used only as supporting classes for the object-oriented core of the framework.

X DO NOT treat static classes as a miscellaneous bucket.

X DO NOT declare or override instance members in static classes.

✓ DO declare static classes as sealed, abstract, and add a private instance constructor if your programming language does not have built-in support for static classes.

Portions © 2005, 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education, Inc. from Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reusable .NET Libraries, 2nd Edition by Krzysztof Cwalina and Brad Abrams, published Oct 22, 2008 by Addison-Wesley Professional as part of the Microsoft Windows Development Series.

See also