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Array.Sort<T> Method (T[], Comparison<T>)

Sorts the elements in an Array using the specified Comparison<T>.

Namespace:  System
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)
public static void Sort<T>(
	T[] array,
	Comparison<T> comparison
)

Type Parameters

T

The type of the elements of the array.

Parameters

array
Type: T[]

The one-dimensional, zero-based Array to sort

comparison
Type: System.Comparison<T>

The Comparison<T> to use when comparing elements.

ExceptionCondition
ArgumentNullException

array is null.

-or-

comparison is null.

ArgumentException

The implementation of comparison caused an error during the sort. For example, comparison might not return 0 when comparing an item with itself.

If the sort is not successfully completed, the results are undefined.

This method uses introspective sort (introsort) algorithm as follows:

  • If the partition size is fewer than 16 elements, it uses an insertion sort algorithm.

  • If the number of partitions exceeds 2 * LogN, where N is the range of the input array, it uses a Heapsort algorithm.

  • Otherwise, it uses a Quicksort algorithm.

This implementation performs an unstable sort; that is, if two elements are equal, their order might not be preserved. In contrast, a stable sort preserves the order of elements that are equal.

For arrays that are sorted by using the Heapsort and Quicksort algorithms, in the worst case, this method is an O(n log n) operation, where n is the Length of array.

Notes to Callers

The .NET Framework 4 and earlier versions used only the Quicksort algorithm. Quicksort identifies invalid comparers in some situations in which the sorting operation throws an IndexOutOfRangeException exception, and throws an ArgumentException exception to the caller. Starting with the .NET Framework 4.5, it is possible that sorting operations that previously threw ArgumentException will not throw an exception, because the insertion sort and heapsort algorithms do not detect an invalid comparer. For the most part, this applies to arrays with fewer than 16 elements.

The following code example demonstrates the Sort(Comparison<T>) method overload.

The code example defines an alternative comparison method for strings, named CompareDinosByLength. This method 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 array of strings is created and populated with four strings, in no particular order. The list also includes an empty string and a null reference. The list is displayed, sorted using a Comparison<T> generic delegate representing the CompareDinosByLength method, and displayed again.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

public class Example
{
    private static int CompareDinosByLength(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 static void Main()
    {
        string[] dinosaurs = {
            "Pachycephalosaurus",
            "Amargasaurus",
            "",
            null,
            "Mamenchisaurus",
            "Deinonychus" };
        Display(dinosaurs);

        Console.WriteLine("\nSort with generic Comparison<string> delegate:");
        Array.Sort(dinosaurs, CompareDinosByLength);
        Display(dinosaurs);

    }

    private static void Display(string[] arr)
    {
        Console.WriteLine();
        foreach( string s in arr )
        {
            if (s == null)
                Console.WriteLine("(null)");
            else
                Console.WriteLine("\"{0}\"", s);
        }
    }
}

/* This code example produces the following output:

"Pachycephalosaurus"
"Amargasaurus"
""
(null)
"Mamenchisaurus"
"Deinonychus"

Sort with generic Comparison<string> delegate:

(null)
""
"Deinonychus"
"Amargasaurus"
"Mamenchisaurus"
"Pachycephalosaurus"
 */

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5.1, 4.5, 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

.NET for Windows Store apps

Supported in: Windows 8

.NET for Windows Phone apps

Supported in: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Silverlight 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)

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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