In 2.0 generics came into the picture, and they started to permeate the .NET world in a big way. The easiest change was to the collection classes, but there were also some not-so subtle additions and changes. One I really like is IEquatable<T>, which gives you a nice type-safe Equals method (and makes overriding Object.Equals() really easy). IEnumerable was also genericized. But...why isn't there an ICloneable<T>?

I did some searching, and it seems like ICloneable isn't viewed in a positive light with the MS folks. Given this view, it makes more sense why that interface wasn't added in 2.0. It's not that hard to make:

public interface ICloneable<T>
    where T : class
    T Clone();

This doesn't inherit from ICloneable, but that's OK as other generic interfaces don't descend from their non-generic counterparts. Also, it doesn't work for value types (for reasons that are echoed here).

Until a "final" judgement comes out on ICloneable it looks like you'll need to make your own type-safe cloning interface if you really want it. But it seems like people generally avoid ICloneable. I'm not a lover or a hater of it; I just found it a bit odd that a genericized version wasn't made available in 2.0, that's all.

* Posted at 07.11.2007 10:16:23 PM CST | Link *

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