Instantiate a class from its textual name

Here’s what the method may look like:

private static object MagicallyCreateInstance(string className)
    var assembly = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly();

    var type = assembly.GetTypes()
        .First(t => t.Name == className);

    return Activator.CreateInstance(type);

The code above assumes that:

  • you are looking for a class that is in the currently executing assembly (this can be adjusted – just change assembly to whatever you need)
  • there is exactly one class with the name you are looking for in that assembly
  • the class has a default constructor


Here’s how to get all the classes that derive from a given class (and are defined in the same assembly):

private static IEnumerable<Type> GetDerivedTypesFor(Type baseType)
    var assembly = Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly();

    return assembly.GetTypes()
        .Where(t => baseType != t);

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