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Member Field (Java and C# Cross Reference Guide)

By Mike Prestwood

Java versus C#: A side by side comparison between Java and C#.

OOP Basics

Some languages support object-based concepts such as Paradox, Access, and VB Classic. Other languages have OO extensions and fully support object orientation in a hybrid fashion (such as C++ and Dephi for Win32). Finally, some lanages such as C#, VB.Net, Prism, and Java are entirely written in OO. Meaning, every line of code written must occur within a class).

Member Field

[Other Languages] 

Also known as a Class Field.

A class variable defined with a specific class visibility, usually private visibility. A member property is different than a member field. A member property uses a member field to store values through accessor methods (getters and setters). For example, it is common to use a private member field to store the current value of a property. The current values of all the class member fields is the current state of the object.

Languages Focus

What modifiers apply to member fields, if any? Typical member field modifiers include scope modifiers (private, protected, etc.) and read-only. Can you initialize the value of a member field when declared ensuring a default value?


In Java, you can set the scope of a field member to public, protected, or private. Additional modifiers are static, abstract, final (assign only once), strictfp (strict floating point values) transient (do not save to persistent storage), and volatile (all threads see same value).

You can initialize member fields as in:

int age = 0;
More Info / Comment

In C# you can set the visibility of a member field to any visibility: private, protected, public, internal or protected internal.

You can intialize a member field with a default when declared. If you set the member field value in your constructor, it will override the default value.

Finally, you can use the static modifier (no instance required) and readonly modifier (similar to a constant).

Syntax Example:
public class Cyborg : System.Object
  private string serialNumber = "A100";
  public string cyborgName; 
  public int cyborgAge = 0;
  public static readonly int seriesID = 100;

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