What is the difference between a Field and a Property in C#?


Properties expose fields. Fields should (almost always) be kept private to a class and accessed via get and set properties. Properties provide a level of abstraction allowing you to change the fields while not affecting the external way they are accessed by the things that use your class.

public class MyClass
    // this is a field.  It is private to your class and stores the actual data.
    private string _myField;

    // this is a property.  When you access it uses the underlying field, but only exposes
    // the contract that will not be affected by the underlying field
    public string MyField
            return _myField;
            _myField = value;

@Kent points out that Properties are not required to encapsulate fields, they could do a calculation on other fields, or serve other purposes.

@GSS points out that you can also do other logic, such as validation, when a property is accessed, another useful feature.


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