C# Turbocharge Development

Alex Maher
3 min readMar 13, 2024

The Power of Source Generators

For programmers looking to stay at the forefront of technology and maximize their impact, understanding and utilizing C# Source Generators is not just beneficial; it’s essential.

Thats why I prepared a practical guide with examples of C# source generators, a compelling feature introduced in C# 9.0 opened up new avenues for developers to optimize performance and productivity.

I think the adoption of C# Source Generators offers a pathway towards more efficient, error-free, and enjoyable coding experiences.

So, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s start!

Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

These generators work at compile-time to produce additional C# source files, thereby automating code generation and reducing runtime overhead.

Let’s dive into how these can be practically applied with examples to illustrate their power and versatility.

Example 1: Automating INotifyPropertyChanged Implementation

One common use case is automating the implementation of the `INotifyPropertyChanged` interface, which is essential for data binding in applications but can be verbose to implement manually.

public partial class Person
private string _name;
private int _age;

In this example, a source generator could parse classes marked with an `[AutoNotify]`attribute and automatically generate the boilerplate code required for property change notifications.

This significantly simplifies the model classes and keeps the codebase DRY!

Example 2: Optimizing JSON Serialization

Consider a scenario where your application frequently serializes and deserializes JSON data. Instead of relying on reflection at runtime with a library like `System.Text.Json`, a source generator could statically analyze the types to be serialized and generate highly optimized serialization code.

public class User
public string Name { get; set; }
public int Age { get; set; }

A source generator could automatically generate a `SerializeToUser` and `DeserializeFromUser` method for the User class, tailoring the implementation specifically to the properties of the class and thus bypassing the performance overhead of reflection.

Example 3: Generating Data Access Layer Code

Source generators can also be used to generate a Data Access Layer (DAL) code. Given a simple entity definition, the generator can produce the necessary CRUD operations, interfacing directly with the database.

public class Product
public int Id { get; set; }
public string Name { get; set; }
public decimal Price { get; set; }

Based on the `[AutoGenerateCrud]` attribute, the source generator would generate methods like `GetProductById`, `CreateProduct`, `UpdateProduct`, and `DeleteProduct` significantly reducing the manual effort and potential for errors.

These examples illustrate just a fraction of what’s possible with C# source generators. By automating routine coding tasks, optimizing performance-critical paths, and enabling more expressive coding patterns, source generators not only save valuable development time but also open up new possibilities for writing cleaner, more efficient code.

To start leveraging source generators in your projects, delve into the official documentation, explore open-source generators for inspiration, and consider building your own to address specific needs within your applications.

As the C# ecosystem continues to evolve, source generators will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the future of C# development, enabling developers to achieve more with less code.

As a programmer,

my journey through the ever-evolving landscape of technology is fueled by a daily commitment to improvement and a passion for sharing knowledge. Each day, I delve into new challenges, pushing the boundaries of what I know, and embracing the continuous learning that our field demands.

This relentless pursuit of growth isn’t just a personal endeavor; it’s a shared voyage. By exchanging insights and experiences with others, I aspire to not only enhance my own expertise but also to uplift the programming community.

My hope is that, through this exchange of knowledge, I can help others overcome their hurdles, inspiring innovation and fostering a collaborative spirit that propels us all forward. ☺


Thank You For Reading <3



Alex Maher

.NET C# dev with 10+ yrs exp, self-taught & passionate web developer. Sharing tips & experiences in C# and web dev.