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LINQ: Enhancing Distinct With The PredicateEqualityComparer

, 15 Apr 2010
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LINQ: Enhancing Distinct With The PredicateEqualityComparer
LINQ With C# (Portuguese)

Today I was writing a LINQ query and I needed to select distinct values based on a comparison criteria.

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Fortunately, LINQ’s Distinct method allows an equality comparer to be supplied, but, unfortunately, sometimes, this means having to write custom equality comparer.

Because I was going to need more than one equality comparer for this set of tools I was building, I decided to build a generic equality comparer that would just take a custom predicate. Something like this:

public class PredicateEqualityComparer<T> : EqualityComparer<T>
{
    private Func<T, T, bool> predicate;

    public PredicateEqualityComparer(Func<T, T, bool> predicate)
        : base()
    {
        this.predicate = predicate;
    }

    public override bool Equals(T x, T y)
    {
        if (x != null)
        {
            return ((y != null) && this.predicate(x, y));
        }

        if (y != null)
        {
            return false;
        }

        return true;
    }

    public override int GetHashCode(T obj)
    {
        // Always return the same value to force the call to IEqualityComparer<T>.Equals
        return 0;
    }
}

Now I can write code like this:

.Distinct(new PredicateEqualityComparer<Item>((x, y) => x.Field == y.Field))

But I felt that I’d lost all conciseness and expressiveness of LINQ and it doesn’t support anonymous types. So I came up with another Distinct extension method:

public static IEnumerable<TSource> Distinct<TSource>
	(this IEnumerable<TSource> source, Func<TSource, TSource, bool> predicate)
{
    return source.Distinct(new PredicateEqualityComparer<TSource>(predicate));
}

And the query is now written like this:

.Distinct((x, y) => x.Field == y.Field)

Looks a lot better, doesn’t it? And it works with anonymous types.

Update: I, accidentally, had published the wrong version of the IEqualityComparer<T>.Equals method.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Paulo Morgado
Software Developer (Senior) Paulo Morgado
Portugal Portugal

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