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List<T>.BinarySearch Method (Int32, Int32, T, IComparer<T>)

Searches a range of elements in the sorted List<T> for an element using the specified comparer and returns the zero-based index of the element.

Namespace:  System.Collections.Generic
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
public int BinarySearch(
	int index,
	int count,
	T item,
	IComparer<T> comparer
)

Parameters

index
Type: System.Int32
The zero-based starting index of the range to search.
count
Type: System.Int32
The length of the range to search.
item
Type: T
The object to locate. The value can be null for reference types.
comparer
Type: System.Collections.Generic.IComparer<T>
The IComparer<T> implementation to use when comparing elements, or null to use the default comparer Comparer<T>.Default.

Return Value

Type: System.Int32
The zero-based index of item in the sorted List<T>, if item is found; otherwise, a negative number that is the bitwise complement of the index of the next element that is larger than item or, if there is no larger element, the bitwise complement of Count.
ExceptionCondition
ArgumentOutOfRangeException

index is less than 0.

-or-

count is less than 0.

ArgumentException

index and count do not denote a valid range in the List<T>.

InvalidOperationException

comparer is null, and the default comparer Comparer<T>.Default cannot find an implementation of the IComparable<T> generic interface or the IComparable interface for type T.

The comparer customizes how the elements are compared. For example, you can use a CaseInsensitiveComparer instance as the comparer to perform case-insensitive string searches.

If comparer is provided, the elements of the List<T> are compared to the specified value using the specified IComparer<T> implementation.

If comparer is null, the default comparer Comparer<T>.Default checks whether type T implements the IComparable<T> generic interface and uses that implementation, if available. If not, Comparer<T>.Default checks whether type T implements the IComparable interface. If type T does not implement either interface, Comparer<T>.Default throws InvalidOperationException.

The List<T> must already be sorted according to the comparer implementation; otherwise, the result is incorrect.

Comparing null with any reference type is allowed and does not generate an exception when using the IComparable<T> generic interface. When sorting, null is considered to be less than any other object.

If the List<T> contains more than one element with the same value, the method returns only one of the occurrences, and it might return any one of the occurrences, not necessarily the first one.

If the List<T> does not contain the specified value, the method returns a negative integer. You can apply the bitwise complement operation (~) to this negative integer to get the index of the first element that is larger than the search value. When inserting the value into the List<T>, this index should be used as the insertion point to maintain the sort order.

This method is an O(log n) operation, where n is the number of elements in the range.

The following code example demonstrates the Sort(Int32, Int32, IComparer<T>) method overload and the BinarySearch(Int32, Int32, T, IComparer<T>) method overload.

The code example defines an alternative comparer for strings named DinoCompare, which implements the IComparer<string> (IComparer(Of String) in Visual Basic, IComparer<String^> in Visual C++) generic interface. The comparer works as follows: First, the comparands are tested for null, and a null reference is treated as less than a non-null. Second, the string lengths are compared, and the longer string is deemed to be greater. Third, if the lengths are equal, ordinary string comparison is used.

A List<T> of strings is created and populated with the names of five herbivorous dinosaurs and three carnivorous dinosaurs. Within each of the two groups, the names are not in any particular sort order. The list is displayed, the range of herbivores is sorted using the alternate comparer, and the list is displayed again.

The BinarySearch(Int32, Int32, T, IComparer<T>) method overload is then used to search only the range of herbivores for "Brachiosaurus". The string is not found, and the bitwise complement (the ~ operator in C# and Visual C++, Xor -1 in Visual Basic) of the negative number returned by the BinarySearch(Int32, Int32, T, IComparer<T>) method is used as an index for inserting the new string.


using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

public class DinoComparer: IComparer<string>
{
    public int Compare(string x, string y)
    {
        if (x == null)
        {
            if (y == null)
            {
                // If x is null and y is null, they're
                // equal. 
                return 0;
            }
            else
            {
                // If x is null and y is not null, y
                // is greater. 
                return -1;
            }
        }
        else
        {
            // If x is not null...
            //
            if (y == null)
                // ...and y is null, x is greater.
            {
                return 1;
            }
            else
            {
                // ...and y is not null, compare the 
                // lengths of the two strings.
                //
                int retval = x.Length.CompareTo(y.Length);

                if (retval != 0)
                {
                    // If the strings are not of equal length,
                    // the longer string is greater.
                    //
                    return retval;
                }
                else
                {
                    // If the strings are of equal length,
                    // sort them with ordinary string comparison.
                    //
                    return x.CompareTo(y);
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

public class Example
{
    public static void Main()
    {
        List<string> dinosaurs = new List<string>();

        dinosaurs.Add("Pachycephalosaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Parasauralophus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Amargasaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Galimimus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Mamenchisaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Deinonychus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Oviraptor");
        dinosaurs.Add("Tyrannosaurus");

        int herbivores = 5;
        Display(dinosaurs);

        DinoComparer dc = new DinoComparer();

        Console.WriteLine("\nSort a range with the alternate comparer:");
        dinosaurs.Sort(0, herbivores, dc);
        Display(dinosaurs);

        Console.WriteLine("\nBinarySearch a range and Insert \"{0}\":",
            "Brachiosaurus");

        int index = dinosaurs.BinarySearch(0, herbivores, "Brachiosaurus", dc);

        if (index < 0)
        {
            dinosaurs.Insert(~index, "Brachiosaurus");
            herbivores++;
        }

        Display(dinosaurs);
    }

    private static void Display(List<string> list)
    {
        Console.WriteLine();
        foreach( string s in list )
        {
            Console.WriteLine(s);
        }
    }
}

/* This code example produces the following output:

Pachycephalosaurus
Parasauralophus
Amargasaurus
Galimimus
Mamenchisaurus
Deinonychus
Oviraptor
Tyrannosaurus

Sort a range with the alternate comparer:

Galimimus
Amargasaurus
Mamenchisaurus
Parasauralophus
Pachycephalosaurus
Deinonychus
Oviraptor
Tyrannosaurus

BinarySearch a range and Insert "Brachiosaurus":

Galimimus
Amargasaurus
Brachiosaurus
Mamenchisaurus
Parasauralophus
Pachycephalosaurus
Deinonychus
Oviraptor
Tyrannosaurus
 */


.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Portable Class Library

Supported in: Portable Class Library

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.
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