String Enum for both C# and VB
The underlying type for an Enum is integer based; but I was wondering if it were possible to have a Enum that were String based. Not sure if it's even possible make sense; but it would save some time creating wrapper classes for String constants.
My "Symbol" class, based on the idea of :symbols in Ruby, is basically a string-based enum with fast integer-like performance: http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/34753/Symbols-as-extensible-enums
This concept would be a lot easier to use with compiler support. I'd really, REALLY love to see methods that take Symbol arguments, with an inline list of allowed symbols. For example, methods like the following are clumsy to define:
public string Split(char separator, StringSplitOptions options);
it's clumsy because you have to define the "StringSplitOptions" as a completely separate entity from the class that contains the Split() method. Plus you may have to write separate documentation for the darn thing. Plus the user has to write "StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries" which is incredibly long-winded.
For all these reasons, people often use boolean parameters, which often leads to less readable method calls and causes trouble when you need to add a third possible behavior to your method.
I imagine a definition like this instead:
public string Split(char separator, [OneOf(:RemoveEmptyEntries, :KeepEmptyEntries)] Symbol option);
If the user tries to pass an illegal option (and this is known at compile-time), the compiler would issue a warning or error.
Alex Walgreen commented
Something like the Enum as supported in Java would be very cool and usefull!