What's the difference between String and string?
24
In C#, what is the difference between String and string? (note the case)

Example:

Also, what are the guidelines for the use of each?
improve this question | comment
Krystina Shields Created at: 2013-11-13 17:07:31 UTC By Krystina Shields
In effect, all it is is using string = System.String; - Santiago Pacocha
There is no difference. - Hubert Reynolds V
It isn't quite using string = System.String;, as string is a key word in the C# language specification and is recognized by the compiler itself, yeah?  Which also means that string is ECMA compatible (with the C# spec) while System.String really isn't.  The using blah = Type stuff is basically syntactical sugar to allow mere mortals to ask the compiler to do substitutions during pre-parsing so you don't have to use 47 characters of dot-separated type specification for every variable in cases where you have name collisions.  Using it in other situations is probably undesirable. - Ashly Blanda
Jegan, they are not different.  They are exactly the same.

String.GetType() == string.GetType() - Gabriella Gutkowski
@Jegan: you're executing an instance method on a type. It's typeof(string) == typeof(System.String). String only works if you have a using System; - Irma Wuckert
30 Answers
0
String refers to a string object which comes with various functions for manipulating the contained string.

string refers to a primitive type 

In C# they both compile to String but in other languages they do not so you should use String if you want to deal with String objects and string if you want to deal with literals.
0
string is a reserved word, but String is just a class name. 
This means that 'string' cannot be used as a variable name by itself.

If for some reason you wanted a variable called string, you'd see only the first of these compiles:

StringBuilder String = new StringBuilder();  // compiles
StringBuilder string = new StringBuilder();  // doesn't compile 


If you really want a variable name called 'string' you can use @ as a prefix :

StringBuilder @string = new StringBuilder();


Another critical difference : Stackoverflow highlights them differently. 
0
Using System types makes it easier to port between C# and VB.Net, if you are into that sort of thing.
0
Against what seems to be common practice among other programmers, I prefer String over string, just to highlight the fact that String is a reference type, as Jon Skeet mentioned.
0
String (System.String) is a class in the base class library. string (lower case) is a reserved work in C# that is an alias for System.String. Int32 vs int is a similar situation as is Boolean vs. bool. These C# language specific keywords enable you to declare primitives in a style similar to C. 
0
‘string’ is an alias (or shorthand) of System.String. That means, by typing ‘string’ we meant System.String. You can read more in think link: 'string' is an alias/shorthand of System.String.
0
String is not a keyword and it can be used as Identifier whereas string is a keyword and cannot be used as Identifier. And in function point of view both are same.
0
I'd just like to add this to lfousts answer, from Ritchers book:


  The C# language specification states,
  “As a matter of style, use of the
  keyword is favored over use of the
  complete system type name.” I disagree
  with the language specification; I
  prefer to use the FCL type names and
  completely avoid the primitive type
  names. In fact, I wish that compilers
  didn’t even offer the primitive type
  names and forced developers to use the
  FCL type names instead. Here are my
  reasons:


I didn't get his opinion before I read the complete paragraph.  
0
There is no difference.

The C# keyword string maps to the .NET type System.String - it is an alias that keeps to the naming conventions of the language.

Similarly, int maps to System.Int32.
0
string is an alias for System.String.  So technically, there is no difference.  It's like int vs. System.Int32.

As far as guidelines, I think it's generally recommended to use string any time you're referring to an object.  

e.g. string place = "world";

Likewise, I think it's generally recommended to use String if you need to refer specifically to the class.

e.g.
    string greet = String.Format("Hello {0}!", place);

This is the style that Microsoft tends to use in their examples.

It appears that the guidance in this area may have changed, as StyleCop now enforces the use of the C#-specific aliases.
0
Coming late to the party: I use the CLR types 100% of the time (well, except if forced to use the C# type, but I don't remember when the last time that was). 

I originally started doing this years ago, as per the CLR books by Ritchie. It made sense to me that all CLR languages ultimately have to be able to support the set of CLR types, so using the CLR types yourself provided clearer, and possibly more "reusable" code.

Now that I've been doing it for years, it's a habit and I like the coloration that VS shows for the CLR types.

The only real downer is that auto-complete uses the C# type, so I end up re-typing automatically generated types to specify the CLR type instead.

Also, now, when I see "int" or "string", it just looks really wrong to me, like I'm looking at 1970's C code.
0
There is no difference between the two - string, however, appears to be the preferred option when considering other developers' source code.
0
Just for the sake of completeness, here's a brain dump of related information...

As others have noted, string is an alias for System.String. They compile to the same code, so at execution time there is no difference whatsoever. This is just one of the aliases in C#. The complete list is:

object:  System.Object
string:  System.String
bool:    System.Boolean
byte:    System.Byte
sbyte:   System.SByte
short:   System.Int16
ushort:  System.UInt16
int:     System.Int32
uint:    System.UInt32
long:    System.Int64
ulong:   System.UInt64
float:   System.Single
double:  System.Double
decimal: System.Decimal
char:    System.Char


Apart from string, object, the aliases are all to value types. decimal is a value type, but not a primitive type in the CLR. The only primitive type which doesn't have an alias is System.IntPtr.

In the spec, the value type aliases are known as "simple types". Literals can be used for constant values of every simple type; no other value types have literal forms available. (Compare this with VB, which allows DateTime literals, and has an alias for it too.)

There is one circumstance in which you have to use the aliases: when explicitly specifying an enum's underlying type. For instance:

public enum Foo : UInt32 {} // Invalid
public enum Bar : uint   {} // Valid


Finally, when it comes to which to use: personally I use the aliases everywhere for the implementation, but the CLR type for any APIs. It really doesn't matter too much which you use in terms of implementation - consistency among your team is nice, but no-one else is going to care. On the other hand, it's genuinely important that if you refer to a type in an API, you do so in a language neutral way. A method called "ReadInt32" is unambiguous, whereas a method called "ReadInt" requires interpretation. The caller could be using a language which defines an "int" alias for Int16, for example. The .NET framework designers have followed this pattern, good examples being in the BitConverter, BinaryReader and Convert classes.
0
String stands for System.String and it is a .NET Framework type. string is an alias in the C# language for  System.String. Both of them are compiled to System.String in IL (Intermediate Language), so there is no difference. Choose what you like and use that. If you code in C#, I'd prefer string as it's a C# type alias and well-known by C# programmers.

I can say the same about (int, System.Int32) etc..
0
The best answer I have ever heard about using the provided type aliases in C# comes from Jeffrey Richter in his book CLR Via C#. Here are his 3 reasons:


  I've seen a number of developers confused, not knowing whether to use string or String in their code. Because in C# the string (a keyword) maps exactly to System.String (an FCL type), there is no difference and either can be used.
  In C#, long maps to System.Int64, but in a different programming language, long could map to an Int16 or Int32. In fact, C++/CLI does in fact treat long as an Int32. Someone reading source code in one language could easily misinterpret the code's intention if he or she were used to programming in a different programming language. In fact, most languages won't even treat long as a keyword and won't compile code that uses it.
  The FCL has many methods that have type names as part of their method names. For example, the BinaryReader type offers methods such as ReadBoolean, ReadInt32, ReadSingle, and so on, and the System.Convert type offers methods such as ToBoolean, ToInt32, ToSingle, and so on. Although it's legal to write the following code, the line with float feels very unnatural to me, and it's not obvious that the line is correct:
  

BinaryReader br = new BinaryReader(...);
float val  = br.ReadSingle(); // Ok, but feels unnatural
Single val = br.ReadSingle(); // OK and feels good


So there you have it. I think these are all really good points. I however, don't find myself using Jeffrey's advice in my own code. Maybe I am too stuck in my C# world but I end up trying to make my code look like the framework code.
0
I just wrote a short article on this topic, including a response from Juval Löwy (of IDesign, creator of the C# coding standard). It says it all!

Check it out on this link.
0
It's been covered above; however, you can't use string in reflection; you must use String.
0
There IS one difference - you can't use String without "using System;" beforehand.
0
Valters, you cannot establish global aliases in the style of string, int, etc. so far as I know.  However, you can do more localized aliasing for types and namespaces with the using keyword.

e.g.

using str = System.String;
//...
str s = "Now you've got another alias for string!";


See here: using Directive (C# Reference)
0
string and String are identical in all ways (except the uppercase "S").  There are no performance implications either way.

Lowercase string is preferred in most projects due to the syntax highlighting
0
'System.String' is THE .net string class - in C# 'string' is an alias for System.String - so in use they are the same.

As for guidelines I wouldn't get too bogged down and just use whichever you feel like - there are more important things in life and the code is going to be the same anyway.

If you find yourselves building systems where it is necessary to specify the size of the integers you are using and so tend to use Int16, Int32, UInt16, UInt32 etc. then it might look more natural to use String - and when moving around between different .net languages it might make things more understandable - otherwise I would use string and int.
0
string is just an alias for System.String. The compiler will treat them identically.

The only practical difference is the syntax highlighting as you mention, and that you have to write using System if you use String.
0
C# is a language which is used together with the CLR.

string is a type in C#.

System.String is a type in the CLR.

When you use C# together with the CLR string will be mapped to System.String.

Theoretically, you could implement a C#-compiler that generated Java bytecode. A sensible implementation of this compiler would probably map string to java.lang.String in order to interoperate with the Java runtime library.
0
I prefer the capitalized .NET types (rather than the aliases) for formatting reasons. The .NET types are colored the same as other object types (the value types are proper objects, after all).

Conditional and control keywords (like 'if', 'switch', and 'return') are lowercase and colored dark blue (by default). And I would rather not have the disagreement in use and format.
0
Both are same. But from coding guidelines perspective it's better to use string instead of String. This is what generally developers use. e.g. instead of using Int32 we use int as int is alias to Int32
FYI
“The keyword string is simply an alias for the predefined class System.String.” - C# Language Specification 4.2.3
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/En-US/library/aa691153.aspx
0
As the others are saying, they're the same.  StyleCop rules, by default, will enforce you to use string as a C# code style best practice, except when referencing System.String static functions, such as String.Format, String.Join, String.Concat, etc...
0
It's a matter of convention, really.  "string" just looks more like C/C++ style.  The general convention is to use whatever shortcuts your chosen language has provided (int/Int for Int32).  This goes for "object" and "decimal" as well.

Theoretically this could help to port code into some future 64-bit standard in which "int" might mean Int64, but that's not the point, and I would expect any upgrade wizard to change any "int" references to "Int32" anyway just to be safe.
0
Yes, that's no difference between them, just like the bool and Boolean.
0
One argument not mentioned elsewhere to prefer the pascal case String:

System.String is a reference type, and reference types names are pascal case by convention.
0
Lower case string is an alias for System.String.
They are the same in C#.

There's a debate over whether you should use the System types (System.Int32, System.String, etc.) types or the C# aliases (int, string, etc). I personally believe you should use the C# aliases, but that's just my personal preference.
Your Answer