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Use MATLAB Handle Classes in C#


The MATLAB® engine API for .NET supports MATLAB handle classes when using the strongly typed interface. This feature translates the behavior of MATLAB classes that inherit from handle classes into equivalent C# code, preserving specific features and behaviors. (since R2024a)

Key Features

When you generate a C# file from a MATLAB class that inherits from a handle class using the matlab.engine.typedinterface.generateCSharp function, you get this functionality:

  • Copy behavior: The generated C# code replicates MATLAB handle class copy behavior. In MATLAB, handle objects are reference types, meaning that when you copy these objects, both the original and the new variable refer to the same object.

  • Comparison operators: The C# representation of MATLAB handle classes supports comparison operations. You can compare C# objects, derived from MATLAB handle classes, using the standard operators ==, !=, <, >, <=, and >=.

  • isvalid function support: The C# interface supports the isvalid function, which checks if handle objects are valid or have been deleted.

  • delete function support: The C# interface supports the delete function.

Inherent Capabilities of MATLAB Handle Classes

Deriving from the MATLAB handle class enables a subclass to:

  • Inherit methods.

  • Define events and listeners.

  • Define dynamic properties.

  • Implement set and get methods.

  • Customize copy behavior.

Example Files

These example files demonstrate the use and integration of MATLAB handle classes with C# applications using the engine API for .NET:

  • BankAccount.m: This MATLAB class file inherits from the handle class and provides basic banking functionality. For more information, see MATLAB BankAccount Class.

  • generateBankAccount.m: A MATLAB script used to generate the corresponding C# file from the BankAccount class, illustrating the integration with the engine API for .NET.

    matlab.engine.typedinterface.generateCSharp( ...
        "BankAccount", ...
  • run_BankAccount.m: An example using the BankAccount class.


  • Program.cs: This C# console application demonstrates the use of the generated C# file from the MATLAB BankAccount class. It replicates the functionality of the MATLAB script run_BankAccount.m, but within a .NET environment. This application shows key operations such as account creation, deposits, withdrawals, and balance inquiries, mirroring the actions performed in the MATLAB script.


MATLAB BankAccount Class


Class definition: The MATLAB class BankAccount is defined as a subclass of the handle class, which allows it to exhibit reference behavior. This means instances of this class can be passed by reference.

Private properties: The class has one private property, Balance, which is a double.

Methods: The class includes methods for depositing, withdrawing, and checking the balance. These methods ensure controlled access and modification of the Balance property.

Generated C# BankAccount File


Class inheritance: The C# BankAccount class does not explicitly inherit from a standard C# class that mimics a MATLAB handle class. Instead, the characteristics of a MATLAB handle class are flattened into the C# representation. This approach involves selectively integrating a subset of supported methods into the generated C# code. By incorporating these methods, the C# BankAccount class emulates the behavior of a MATLAB handle class.

Constructors and overloaded operators: These operators provide similar functionalities to a MATLAB handle class, which supports comparison operations.

public static bool operator >= (BankAccount obj1, BankAccount obj2)
public static bool operator <= (BankAccount obj1, BankAccount obj2)
public static bool operator != (BankAccount obj1, BankAccount obj2)
public static bool operator == (BankAccount obj1, BankAccount obj2)
public static bool operator > (BankAccount obj1, BankAccount obj2)
public static bool operator < (BankAccount obj1, BankAccount obj2)

Method mapping: The C# methods (deposit, withdraw, and checkBalance) correspond to the MATLAB class methods.

MATLAB Signature

C# Signature

function deposit(obj, amount)
public void deposit(double amount)
function withdraw(obj, amount)
public void withdraw(double amount)
function bal = checkBalance(obj)
public void checkBalance()