String representation of an Enum

Try type-safe-enum pattern.

public sealed class AuthenticationMethod {

    private readonly String name;
    private readonly int value;

    public static readonly AuthenticationMethod FORMS = new AuthenticationMethod (1, "FORMS");
    public static readonly AuthenticationMethod WINDOWSAUTHENTICATION = new AuthenticationMethod (2, "WINDOWS");
    public static readonly AuthenticationMethod SINGLESIGNON = new AuthenticationMethod (3, "SSN");        

    private AuthenticationMethod(int value, String name){ = name;
        this.value = value;

    public override String ToString(){
        return name;


Explicit (or implicit) type conversion can be done by

  • adding static field with mapping

    private static readonly Dictionary<string, AuthenticationMethod> instance = new Dictionary<string,AuthenticationMethod>();
    • n.b. In order that the initialisation of the the “enum member” fields doesn’t throw a NullReferenceException when calling the instance constructor, be sure to put the Dictionary field before the “enum member” fields in your class. This is because static field initialisers are called in declaration order, and before the static constructor, creating the weird and necessary but confusing situation that the instance constructor can be called before all static fields have been initialised, and before the static constructor is called.
  • filling this mapping in instance constructor

    instance[name] = this;
  • and adding user-defined type conversion operator

    public static explicit operator AuthenticationMethod(string str)
        AuthenticationMethod result;
        if (instance.TryGetValue(str, out result))
            return result;
            throw new InvalidCastException();

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