Reflection In .NET

.NET Reflection is a powerful feature of the .NET framework that enables developers to inspect and manipulate types, members, and metadata of assemblies at runtime. It provides a way to obtain information about the structure and behavior of classes, interfaces, fields, properties, methods, and other entities within a compiled assembly.

Reflection allows developers to dynamically analyze and interact with code elements, even if their details are unknown at compile time. This is particularly useful in scenarios such as plugin systems, object serialization, dependency injection frameworks, and dynamic code generation.


By utilizing reflection, developers can perform various tasks such as:

Obtaining Type Information

Reflection enables developers to retrieve information about types present in an assembly, including their properties, methods, fields, events, and attributes. This information can be utilized for various purposes, such as creating instances of types dynamically or invoking their members.

Assembly assembly = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly(); Type type = assembly.GetType("MyNamespace.MyClass"); MethodInfo method = type.GetMethod("MyMethod"); object instance = Activator.CreateInstance(type); method.Invoke(instance, null);

Dynamic Code Generation

Reflection allows developers to create types, methods, properties, and other members dynamically at runtime. This can be useful for scenarios where code needs to be generated dynamically based on certain conditions or configurations.

AssemblyName assemblyName = new AssemblyName("MyDynamicAssembly"); AssemblyBuilder assemblyBuilder = AssemblyBuilder.DefineDynamicAssembly(assemblyName, AssemblyBuilderAccess.Run); ModuleBuilder moduleBuilder = assemblyBuilder.DefineDynamicModule("MyDynamicModule"); TypeBuilder typeBuilder = moduleBuilder.DefineType("MyDynamicType", TypeAttributes.Public); MethodBuilder methodBuilder = typeBuilder.DefineMethod("MyDynamicMethod", MethodAttributes.Public); Type dynamicType = typeBuilder.CreateType(); object instance = Activator.CreateInstance(dynamicType); MethodInfo dynamicMethod = dynamicType.GetMethod("MyDynamicMethod"); dynamicMethod.Invoke(instance, null);

Accessing Attributes

Reflection allows developers to inspect and utilize custom attributes defined on types, methods, properties, and other code elements. This enables the retrieval of additional metadata or behavior associated with these elements.

Type type = typeof(MyClass); MyCustomAttribute attribute = (MyCustomAttribute)type.GetCustomAttribute(typeof(MyCustomAttribute)); if (attribute != null) { // Perform actions based on attribute information }

Modifying and Extending Existing Code

Reflection allows developers to modify existing code at runtime by manipulating the members of types, adding new properties or methods, changing values, or accessing private members that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Type type = typeof(MyClass); FieldInfo field = type.GetField("myField", BindingFlags.NonPublic BindingFlags.Instance); object instance = Activator.CreateInstance(type); field.SetValue(instance, newValue);


It's important to note that reflection can have performance implications and should be used judiciously, as it involves runtime introspection and dynamic invocations. However, when used appropriately, reflection can provide great flexibility and extensibility in developing dynamic and adaptable applications within the .NET framework.