vb.net return a class from a function, but don't know what kind of class gets returned

I have a vb6 app that calls a function which returns a class

                Dim stepToBeProgrammed As Object
                Set stepToBeProgrammed = getClassOrFormFromStep(stepNameLong, "class")

The function getClassOrFormFromStep, is set up to return an object, in this case a class.

Is this how I should do it in vb.net?

Does setting the object cast it's type?

Is there a performance issue here?
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PockyMasterConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you don't know which kind of class you will return, do you also not know which kind of base class your returning objects will share? If yes, return a type of that base class. If you want to use the returned object in other functionality than implemented in the base class, you will have to cast it. So someway or another, you are gonna have to know which type you are returning/requesting.

Like shakti said, you can use the gettype to determine the returned object type. combine that with casting when needed e.g.

But in my opinion, if you want to get an object, you are getting it because you need it for some reason. So probably in one way or another you will know what kind of object you will get!

Shakti109Connect With a Mentor Commented:

When the object returns, it gets cast as whatever class it gets passed (late bound).

You could use this in vb.net, but if you used the explicit and strict options in the compiler you would get errors for having a late bound object and yes this becomes a performance issue. It is not a world-ending type of performance hit, but it is less than optimal.

When you say you dont know what class is being returned, is this due to the possibility of multiple types being passed back to your call?

If so you can define the object that gets the return item all at one time.

As an example :

   dim ClassTest = returnclass(1)

   Public Function returnclass(ByVal mu As Integer) As MyNewClass
      Return New MyNewClass
   End Function

 Public class MyNewClass
   'functions, logic, etc here
 end class

If you were to use gettype on ClassTest  (something like : console.writeline(classtest.gettype), you would see that it "became" an instance of MyNewClass.
jackjohnson44Author Commented:
Thanks, that will definitely work for dim'ing the variable.

I don't know what type of class will be returned, is it ok to have my function return type object?
Or is there a better way to do it?

   Public Function returnclass(ByVal mu As Integer) As object
      Return New MyNewClass
   End Function
Shakti109Connect With a Mentor Commented:

Sure, you can return as "object", when it actually does return it will "become" whatever it was passed.

Your function :
   Public Function returnclass(ByVal mu As Integer) As object
      Return New MyNewClass
   End Function

Will work for returning an unknown class.
jackjohnson44Author Commented:
Instead of object, I set the variable to the base class.

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