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IComparable Interface

Defines a generalized type-specific comparison method that a value type or class implements to order or sort its instances.

Namespace:  System
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public interface IComparable

The IComparable type exposes the following members.

Public methodSupported by the XNA FrameworkCompareToCompares the current instance with another object of the same type and returns an integer that indicates whether the current instance precedes, follows, or occurs in the same position in the sort order as the other object.

This interface is implemented by types whose values can be ordered or sorted. It requires that implementing types define a single method, CompareTo(Object), that indicates whether the position of the current instance in the sort order is before, after, or the same as a second object of the same type. The instance's IComparable implementation is called automatically by methods such as Array.Sort and ArrayList.Sort.

The implementation of the CompareTo(Object) method must return an Int32 that has one of three values, as shown in the following table.



Less than zero

The current instance precedes the object specified by the CompareTo method in the sort order.


This current instance occurs in the same position in the sort order as the object specified by the CompareTo method.

Greater than zero

This current instance follows the object specified by the CompareTo method in the sort order.

All numeric types (such as Int32 and Double) implement IComparable, as do String, Char, and DateTime. Custom types should also provide their own implementation of IComparable to enable object instances to be ordered or sorted.

The following example illustrates the implementation of IComparable and the requisite CompareTo method.

using System;
using System.Collections;

public class Temperature : IComparable 
    // The temperature value
    protected double temperatureF;

    public int CompareTo(object obj) {
        if (obj == null) return 1;

        Temperature otherTemperature = obj as Temperature;
        if (otherTemperature != null) 
            return this.temperatureF.CompareTo(otherTemperature.temperatureF);
           throw new ArgumentException("Object is not a Temperature");

    public double Fahrenheit 
            return this.temperatureF;
        set {
            this.temperatureF = value;

    public double Celsius 
            return (this.temperatureF - 32) * (5.0/9);
            this.temperatureF = (value * 9.0/5) + 32;

public class CompareTemperatures
   public static void Main()
      ArrayList temperatures = new ArrayList();
      // Initialize random number generator.
      Random rnd = new Random();

      // Generate 10 temperatures between 0 and 100 randomly.
      for (int ctr = 1; ctr <= 10; ctr++)
         int degrees = rnd.Next(0, 100);
         Temperature temp = new Temperature();
         temp.Fahrenheit = degrees;

      // Sort ArrayList.

      foreach (Temperature temp in temperatures)

// The example displays the following output to the console (individual
// values may vary because they are randomly generated):
//       2
//       7
//       16
//       17
//       31
//       37
//       58
//       66
//       72
//       95

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

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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