System.ComponentModel.AttributeProviderAttribute Class

Enables attribute redirection. This class cannot be inherited.

See Also: AttributeProviderAttribute


[System.AttributeUsage(System.AttributeTargets.Property, AllowMultiple=false, Inherited=true)]
public class AttributeProviderAttribute : Attribute


There are a few cases in the .NET Framework object model where a property is purposely typed to be vague. For example, the DataGridView.DataSource property is typed as object. The reason for this is that this property can accept several types of input. Unfortunately, this provides no common place to add metadata to describe the characteristics of the property. Each DataSource property throughout the .NET Framework needs to have identical metadata for type converters, UI type editors, and other services that require metadata. The AttributeProviderAttribute remedies this situation.

Once this attribute is placed on a property, the rules for obtaining attributes for the property descriptor's MemberDescriptor.Attributes collection differ. Typically, the property descriptor gathers local attributes, and then merges these with attributes from the property type. In this case, the attributes are taken from the type returned from the AttributeProviderAttribute, not from the actual property type. This attribute is used on DataGridView.DataSource to point the DataGridView.DataSource object's specific type to IListSource, and the appropriate metadata is placed on IListSource to enable data binding. In so doing, external parties can easily add metadata to all data sources.

Attributes obtained from a type declared in the AttributeProviderAttribute have a priority in between the attributes of the property’s type and the attributes on the property. The following list, in priority order, shows the full set of available merged attributes:

  • Property Attributes

  • Attribute Provider Attributes

  • Property Type Attributes


Namespace: System.ComponentModel
Assembly: System (in System.dll)
Assembly Versions:,

The members of System.ComponentModel.AttributeProviderAttribute are listed below.

See Also: Attribute

Public Constructors

Initializes a new instance of the AttributeProviderAttribute class with the given type name.

Initializes a new instance of the AttributeProviderAttribute class with the given type.

Initializes a new instance of the AttributeProviderAttribute class with the given type name and property name.

Public Properties


Gets the name of the property for which attributes will be retrieved.


Gets the assembly qualified type name passed into the constructor.