ATBG: null coalescing precedence

In the latest episode of the Coverity Development Testing Blog‘s continuing series “Ask the Bug Guys”, I dig into two questions about the null coalescing operator. This handy little operator is probably the least well understood of all the C# operators, but it is quite useful. Unfortunately, it is easy to accidentally use it incorrectly due to precedence issues.

As always, if you have questions about a bug you’ve found in a C, C++, C# or Java program that you think would make a good episode of ATBG, please send your question along with a small reproducer of the problem to We cannot promise to answer every question or solve every problem, but we’ll take a selection of the best questions that we can answer and address them on the dev testing blog every couple of weeks.

C++ and the pit of despair

Raymond has an interesting post today about two subtle aspects of C#: how order of evaluation in an expression is specified as strictly left-to-right, and how the rules regarding local shadowing ensure that an identifier has exactly one meaning in a local scope. He makes an educated guess that the reason for these sorts of rules is to “reduce the frequency of a category of subtle bugs“.

I’d like to take this opportunity to both confirm that guess and to expand upon it a bit. Continue reading