Java – C# vs Java Enum (for those new to C#)


I've been programming in Java for a while and just got thrown onto a project that's written entirely in C#. I'm trying to come up to speed in C#, and noticed enums used in several places in my new project, but at first glance, C#'s enums seem to be more simplistic than the Java 1.5+ implementation. Can anyone enumerate the differences between C# and Java enums, and how to overcome the differences? (I don't want to start a language flame war, I just want to know how to do some things in C# that I used to do in Java). For example, could someone post a C# counterpart to Sun's famous Planet enum example?

public enum Planet {
  MERCURY (3.303e+23, 2.4397e6),
  VENUS   (4.869e+24, 6.0518e6),
  EARTH   (5.976e+24, 6.37814e6),
  MARS    (6.421e+23, 3.3972e6),
  JUPITER (1.9e+27,   7.1492e7),
  SATURN  (5.688e+26, 6.0268e7),
  URANUS  (8.686e+25, 2.5559e7),
  NEPTUNE (1.024e+26, 2.4746e7),
  PLUTO   (1.27e+22,  1.137e6);

  private final double mass;   // in kilograms
  private final double radius; // in meters
  Planet(double mass, double radius) {
      this.mass = mass;
      this.radius = radius;
  public double mass()   { return mass; }
  public double radius() { return radius; }

  // universal gravitational constant  (m3 kg-1 s-2)
  public static final double G = 6.67300E-11;

  public double surfaceGravity() {
      return G * mass / (radius * radius);
  public double surfaceWeight(double otherMass) {
      return otherMass * surfaceGravity();

// Example usage (slight modification of Sun's example):
public static void main(String[] args) {
    Planet pEarth = Planet.EARTH;
    double earthRadius = pEarth.radius(); // Just threw it in to show usage

    // Argument passed in is earth Weight.  Calculate weight on each planet:
    double earthWeight = Double.parseDouble(args[0]);
    double mass = earthWeight/pEarth.surfaceGravity();
    for (Planet p : Planet.values())
       System.out.printf("Your weight on %s is %f%n",
                         p, p.surfaceWeight(mass));

// Example output:
$ java Planet 175
Your weight on MERCURY is 66.107583
Your weight on VENUS is 158.374842
[etc ...]

Best Solution

In C# you can define extension methods on enums, and this makes up for some of the missing functionality.

You can define Planet as an enum and also have extension methods equivalent to surfaceGravity() and surfaceWeight().

I have used custom attributes as suggested by Mikhail, but the same could be achieved using a Dictionary.

using System;
using System.Reflection;

class PlanetAttr: Attribute
    internal PlanetAttr(double mass, double radius)
        this.Mass = mass;
        this.Radius = radius;
    public double Mass { get; private set; }
    public double Radius { get; private set; }

public static class Planets
    public static double GetSurfaceGravity(this Planet p)
        PlanetAttr attr = GetAttr(p);
        return G * attr.Mass / (attr.Radius * attr.Radius);

    public static double GetSurfaceWeight(this Planet p, double otherMass)
        return otherMass * p.GetSurfaceGravity();

    public const double G = 6.67300E-11;

    private static PlanetAttr GetAttr(Planet p)
        return (PlanetAttr)Attribute.GetCustomAttribute(ForValue(p), typeof(PlanetAttr));

    private static MemberInfo ForValue(Planet p)
        return typeof(Planet).GetField(Enum.GetName(typeof(Planet), p));


public enum Planet
    [PlanetAttr(3.303e+23, 2.4397e6)]  MERCURY,
    [PlanetAttr(4.869e+24, 6.0518e6)]  VENUS,
    [PlanetAttr(5.976e+24, 6.37814e6)] EARTH,
    [PlanetAttr(6.421e+23, 3.3972e6)]  MARS,
    [PlanetAttr(1.9e+27,   7.1492e7)]  JUPITER,
    [PlanetAttr(5.688e+26, 6.0268e7)]  SATURN,
    [PlanetAttr(8.686e+25, 2.5559e7)]  URANUS,
    [PlanetAttr(1.024e+26, 2.4746e7)]  NEPTUNE,
    [PlanetAttr(1.27e+22,  1.137e6)]   PLUTO