Covariance and Contravariance. What do they mean again?

My Software Notes

I don’t have to deal with covariance and contravariance very often, so every time I do I forget which is which. So, just for my own benefit, here is a note describing them:

Covariance and contravariance are terms that refer to the ability to use a less derived or more derived type than originally specified.

Covariance – Enables you to use a more specific type than originally specified

E.g., in generics

We have a base type called “Feline” and we have a derived type called “HouseCat”.

IEnumerable<HouseCat> cats = new List<HouseCat>();
IEnumerable<Feline> gods = cats;
//Note: felines have a very high opinion of themselves 🙂


Contravariance – Enables you to use a less derived type than originally specified.

E.g., in generics

Using the same base and derived types as above.

IEnumerable<Feline> gods = new List<Feiline>();
IEnumerable<HouseCat> cats = gods;


References:

Covariance and Contravariance (C# and Visual Basic)

Covariance and Contravariance…

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