Creating delegates manually vs using Action/Func delegates

Today I was thinking about declaring this:

private delegate double ChangeListAction(string param1, int number);

but why not use this:

private Func<string, int, double> ChangeListAction;

or if ChangeListAction would have no return value I could use:

private Action<string,int> ChangeListAction;

so where is the advantage in declaring a delegate with the delegate keyword?

Is it because of .NET 1.1, and with .NET 2.0 came Action<T> and with .NET 3.5 came Func<T>?


The advent of Action and Func family of delegates has rendered custom delegates less used, but the latter still finds uses. Advantages of custom delegates include:

  1. As others have pointed, conveys intent clearly unlike generic Action and Func (Patrik has a very good point about meaningful parameter names).

  2. You can specify ref/out parameters unlike the other two generic delegates. For eg, you can have

    public delegate double ChangeListAction(out string p1, ref int p2);

    but not

    Func<out string, ref int, double> ChangeListAction;
  3. Also, with custom delegates you need to write ChangeListAction (I mean the definition) only once somewhere in your code base, whereas if you don’t define one you will have to litter everywhere Func<string, int, double> all over. Changing the signature will be a hassle in the latter case – a bad case of not being dry.

  4. Can have optional parameters.

    public delegate double ChangeListAction(string p1 = "haha", int p2);

    but not

    Func<string, int, double> ChangeListAction = (p1 = "haha", p2) => (double)p2; 
  5. You can have params keyword for parameters of a method, not so with Action/Func.

    public delegate double ChangeListAction(int p1, params string[] p2);

    but not

    Func<int, params string[], double> ChangeListAction;
  6. Well, if you’re truly out of luck and need parameters more than 16 (for the moment) 🙂

As to merits of Action and Func:

  1. It’s quick and dirty, and I use it all over. It makes code short if the use-case is trivial (custom delegates have gone out of fashion with me).

  2. More importantly, its type compatible across domains. Action and Func are framework defined, and they operates seamlessly as long as the parameter types match. You can’t have ChangeSomeAction for ChangeListAction. Linq finds great use of this aspect.

Source : Link , Question Author : Elisabeth , Answer Author : Community

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