Static analysis of “is”

Returning now to the subject we started discussing last time on FAIC: sometimes the compiler can know via static analysis[1. That is, analysis done knowing only the compile-time types of expressions, rather than knowing their possibly more specific run-time types] that an is operator expression is guaranteed to produce a particular result.
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An “is” operator puzzle, part one

It is possible for a program with some local variable x

bool b = x is FooBar;

to assign true to b at runtime, even though there is no conversion, implicit or explicit, from x to FooBar allowed by the compiler! That is to say that

FooBar foobar = (FooBar)x;

would not be allowed by the compiler in that same program.

Can you create a program to demonstrate this fact?

This is not a particularly hard puzzle but it does illustrate some of the subtleties of the is operator that we’ll discuss in the next episode.

Representation and identity

(Note: not to be confused with Inheritance and Representation.)

I get a fair number of questions about the C# cast operator. The most frequent question I get is:

short sss = 123;
object ooo = sss;            // Box the short.
int iii = (int) sss;         // Perfectly legal.
int jjj = (int) (short) ooo; // Perfectly legal
int kkk = (int) ooo;         // Invalid cast exception?! Why?

Why? Because a boxed T can only be unboxed to T (or Nullable<T>.) Once it is unboxed, it’s just a value that can be cast as usual, so the double cast works just fine.
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