C# – Fastest Way to do Shallow Copy in C#


I wonder what is the fastest way to do shallow copying in C#? I only know there are 2 ways to do shallow copy:

  1. MemberwiseClone
  2. Copy each field one by one (manual)

I found that (2) is faster than (1). I'm wondering if there's another way to do shallow copying?

Best Solution

This is a complex subject with lots of possible solutions and many pros and cons to each. There is a wonderful article here that outlines several different ways of making a copy in C#. To summarize:

  1. Clone Manually
    Tedious, but high level of control.

  2. Clone with MemberwiseClone
    Only creates a shallow copy, i.e. for reference-type fields the original object and its clone refer to the same object.

  3. Clone with Reflection
    Shallow copy by default, can be re-written to do deep copy. Advantage: automated. Disadvantage: reflection is slow.

  4. Clone with Serialization
    Easy, automated. Give up some control and serialization is slowest of all.

  5. Clone with IL, Clone with Extension Methods
    More advanced solutions, not as common.