56. Static classes#

You’ve learned about static fields, static constructors, static methods, and static properties. We’ve shown that each of these can exist in regular (non-static) classes. But, what happens when we declare a class as static?

A static class is a class that cannot be instantiated or inherited from (a concept we will get to later). This means you cannot create an instance of it using the new keyword, nor can you use it as a base class (again, more on this later). A static class can only contain static members. It cannot contain instance fields, instance methods, instance properties, or instance constructors.

Static classes are most commonly used to create utility classes where you group related methods together. These methods do not need to operate on an instance of a class and can work independently. An example of a static class in the .NET framework is the Math class, which provides mathematical functions like Abs, Pow, and Sqrt. All of these methods are static because they do not operate on an instance of the Math class.

Here’s an example of how you might define a static class in your own code:

public static class GameUtils
    public static int CalculateScore(int level, int enemiesDefeated)
        return level * enemiesDefeated;

    public static void DisplayScore(int score)
        Console.WriteLine($"Your score is: {score}");

In this example, the GameUtils class contains two static methods for calculating and displaying a game score. You could use this class in your game code like so:

int level = 5;
int enemiesDefeated = 30;

int score = GameUtils.CalculateScore(level, enemiesDefeated);
Your score is: 150


The static keyword runs counter to the core ideas in object oriented programming, like subtype polymorphism, and can make your code less flexible, maintainable, and difficult to test. Although the static GameUtils class example seems convenient, you should consider creating a regular (non-static) Game class that keeps track of its own score and displays it. This would likely lead to more flexible and maintainable code in the long run. Use static classes carefully and remember that there’s always an object oriented design that could meet your needs.

In conclusion, static classes and their members play an essential role in C#, providing a way to group related utility functions together and to represent concepts that are singular in nature (like the Math class). However, they should be used judiciously and with an understanding of their limitations compared to regular, non-static classes.