How to: Define a Conversion Operator (Visual Basic)

If you have defined a class or structure, you can define a type conversion operator between the type of your class or structure and another data type (such as Integer, Double, or String).

Define the type conversion as a CType Function procedure within the class or structure. All conversion procedures must be Public Shared, and each one must specify either Widening or Narrowing.

Defining an operator on a class or structure is also called overloading the operator.


The following example defines conversion operators between a structure called digit and a Byte.

Public Structure digit
Private dig As Byte
    Public Sub New(ByVal b As Byte)
        If (b < 0 OrElse b > 9) Then Throw New System.ArgumentException(
            "Argument outside range for Byte")
        Me.dig = b
    End Sub
    Public Shared Widening Operator CType(ByVal d As digit) As Byte
        Return d.dig
    End Operator
    Public Shared Narrowing Operator CType(ByVal b As Byte) As digit
        Return New digit(b)
    End Operator
End Structure

You can test the structure digit with the following code.

Public Sub consumeDigit()
    Dim d1 As New digit(4)
    Dim d2 As New digit(7)
    Dim d3 As digit = CType(CByte(3), digit)
    Dim s As String = "Initial 4 generates " & CStr(CType(d1, Byte)) &
          vbCrLf & "Initial 7 generates " & CStr(CType(d2, Byte)) &
          vbCrLf & "Converted 3 generates " & CStr(CType(d3, Byte))
        Dim d4 As digit
        d4 = CType(CType(d1, Byte) + CType(d2, Byte), digit)
    Catch e4 As System.Exception
        s &= vbCrLf & "4 + 7 generates " & """" & e4.Message & """"
    End Try
        Dim d5 As digit = CType(CByte(10), digit)
    Catch e5 As System.Exception
        s &= vbCrLf & "Initial 10 generates " & """" & e5.Message & """"
    End Try
End Sub

See Also

Operator Procedures
How to: Define an Operator
How to: Call an Operator Procedure
How to: Use a Class that Defines Operators
Operator Statement
Structure Statement
How to: Declare a Structure
Implicit and Explicit Conversions
Widening and Narrowing Conversions