Monday, August 24, 2009
What is reflection?
All .NET compilers produce metadata about the types defined in the modules they produce. This metadata is packaged along with the module (modules in turn are packaged together in assemblies), and can be accessed by a mechanism called reflection. The System.Reflection namespace contains classes that can be used to interrogate the types for a module/assembly.Using reflection to access .NET metadata is very similar to using ITypeLib/ITypeInfo to access type library data in COM, and it is used for similar purposes - e.g. determining data type sizes for marshaling data across context/process/machine boundaries.Reflection can also be used to dynamically invoke methods (see System.Type.InvokeMember ) , or even create types dynamically at run-time (see System.Reflection.Emit.TypeBuilder).