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Essential .NET, Volume 1: The Common Language Runtime by Chris Sells, Don Box

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Programming with Metadata

The previous section ended with an example that displayed a list of types a given object was compatible with. That example is just the tip of the iceberg of what is possible when type definitions are made machine-readable. This facility is often called reflection, a term made popular by Java.

Reflection makes all aspects of a type's definition available to programs, both at development time and at runtime. Although reflection is useful for building highly dynamic systems, it is far more applicable as a development-time tool. The primary application for reflection is for code generation. Code generation is typically thought of as a development-time activity, and reflection is useful in this capacity. However, even systems ...

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