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A variable declared with the readonly modifier can only be assigned as part of the declaration or in the class’s constructor:
private static readonly string _defaultString = "Hello World";
A variable declared with the const modifier must be initialized as part of the declaration, and its value cannot be modified:
private const string DefaultString = "Hello World";
readonly vs const
Here’s a quick glance of how the two modifiers differ:
|Evaluation Time||Performance||Type Restrictions||Scope|
|readonly||Runtime||Slow||None||Instance or Static|
|const||Compile-Time||Fast||Primitive types, enums or strings||Static|
As you can see, though const is faster, readonly offers much more flexibility. As Bill Wagner’s stated in his first Effective C# book:
A slower, correct program is better than a faster, broken program
which is why he’s recommended you should prefer readonly to const. But you must be wondering how using the const modifier can ‘break’ your program!?
Well, with const, the value of the variable is evaluated at compile-time and as I mentioned in my post on the volatile modifier here, the compiler will apply constant propagation and replace any reference to the constant variable with its value in the generated IL code, and this happens across assemblies! This behaviour introduces a subtle bug when you update the value of a constant variable and the updated value is not reflected in other assemblies (because the constant variable is not evaluated at runtime) until you rebuild the assemblies which references this constant variable.
I specialise in rapidly transitioning teams to serverless and building production-ready services on AWS.
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Here is a complete list of all my posts on serverless and AWS Lambda. In the meantime, here are a few of my most popular blog posts.
- Lambda optimization tip – enable HTTP keep-alive
- You are thinking about serverless costs all wrong
- Many faced threats to Serverless security
- We can do better than percentile latencies
- I’m afraid you’re thinking about AWS Lambda cold starts all wrong
- Yubl’s road to Serverless
- AWS Lambda – should you have few monolithic functions or many single-purposed functions?
- AWS Lambda – compare coldstart time with different languages, memory and code sizes
- Guys, we’re doing pagination wrong