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Comparison<T> Class

Represents the method that compares two objects of the same type.

Namespace:  System
Assemblies:   System.Runtime (in System.Runtime.dll)
  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public sealed class Comparison<T> : MulticastDelegate

Type Parameters

in T

The type of the objects to compare.

This type parameter is contravariant. That is, you can use either the type you specified or any type that is less derived. For more information about covariance and contravariance, see Covariance and Contravariance in Generics.

The Comparison<T> type exposes the following members.

  NameDescription
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsComparison<T>
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  NameDescription
Public propertySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsTargetGets the class instance on which the current delegate invokes the instance method. (Inherited from Delegate.)
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  NameDescription
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsBeginInvoke
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsDynamicInvokeDynamically invokes (late-bound) the method represented by the current delegate. (Inherited from Delegate.)
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsEndInvoke
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsEqualsDetermines whether this multicast delegate and the specified object are equal. (Inherited from MulticastDelegate.)
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetHashCodeReturns the hash code for this instance. (Inherited from MulticastDelegate.)
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetInvocationListReturns the invocation list of this multicast delegate, in invocation order. (Inherited from MulticastDelegate.)
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetTypeGets the Type of the current instance. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsInvoke
Public methodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsToStringReturns a string that represents the current object. (Inherited from Object.)
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  NameDescription
Public Extension MethodSupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetMethodInfoGets an object that represents the method represented by the specified delegate. (Defined by RuntimeReflectionExtensions.)
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This delegate is used by the Sort<T>(T[], Comparison<T>) method overload of the Array class and the Sort(Comparison<T>) method overload of the List<T> class to sort the elements of an array or list.

The following code example demonstrates the use of the Comparison<T> delegate with 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 List<T> 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()
    {
        List<string> dinosaurs = new List<string>();
        dinosaurs.Add("Pachycephalosaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Amargasaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("");
        dinosaurs.Add(null);
        dinosaurs.Add("Mamenchisaurus");
        dinosaurs.Add("Deinonychus");
        Display(dinosaurs);

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

    }

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

The following example uses the Comparison<T> delegate to sort the elements of a collection of CityInfo objects. CityInfo is an application-defined class that contains information about a city and its population. The example defines three methods, CompareByName, CompareByPopulation, and CompareByNames, that offer three different ways of ordering the CityInfo objects. Each method is assigned to the comparison argument of the Array.Sort<T>(T[], Comparison<T>) method.

using System;

public class CityInfo
{
   string cityName;
   string countryName;
   int pop2010;

   public CityInfo(string name, string country, int pop2010)
   {
      this.cityName = name;
      this.countryName = country;
      this.pop2010 = pop2010;
   }

   public string City
   { get { return this.cityName; } } 

   public string Country
   { get { return this.countryName; } }

   public int Population
   { get { return this.pop2010; } }

   public static int CompareByName(CityInfo city1, CityInfo city2)
   { 
      return String.Compare(city1.City, city2.City);
   }

   public static int CompareByPopulation(CityInfo city1, CityInfo city2)
   {
      return city1.Population.CompareTo(city2.Population);
   }

   public static int CompareByNames(CityInfo city1, CityInfo city2)
   {
      return String.Compare(city1.Country + city1.City, city2.Country + city2.City);
   }      
}

public class Example
{
   public static void Main()
   {
      CityInfo NYC = new CityInfo("New York City", "United States of America", 8175133 );
      CityInfo Det = new CityInfo("Detroit", "United States of America", 713777);
      CityInfo Paris = new CityInfo("Paris", "France",  2193031);
      CityInfo[] cities = { NYC, Det, Paris };
      // Display ordered array.
      DisplayArray(cities);

      // Sort array by city name.
      Array.Sort(cities, CityInfo.CompareByName);
      DisplayArray(cities);

      // Sort array by population.
      Array.Sort(cities, CityInfo.CompareByPopulation);
      DisplayArray(cities);

      // Sort array by country + city name.
      Array.Sort(cities, CityInfo.CompareByNames);
      DisplayArray(cities);
   }

   private static void DisplayArray(CityInfo[] cities)
   {
      Console.WriteLine("{0,-20} {1,-25} {2,10}", "City", "Country", "Population");
      foreach (var city in cities)
         Console.WriteLine("{0,-20} {1,-25} {2,10:N0}", city.City, 
                           city.Country, city.Population);

      Console.WriteLine();
   }
}
// The example displays the following output: 
//     City                 Country                   Population 
//     New York City        United States of America   8,175,133 
//     Detroit              United States of America     713,777 
//     Paris                France                     2,193,031 
//      
//     City                 Country                   Population 
//     Detroit              United States of America     713,777 
//     New York City        United States of America   8,175,133 
//     Paris                France                     2,193,031 
//      
//     City                 Country                   Population 
//     Detroit              United States of America     713,777 
//     Paris                France                     2,193,031 
//     New York City        United States of America   8,175,133 
//      
//     City                 Country                   Population 
//     Paris                France                     2,193,031 
//     Detroit              United States of America     713,777 
//     New York City        United States of America   8,175,133

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5.3, 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

Supported in: Windows Phone 8.1

Supported in: Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1

Supported in: Windows Phone Silverlight 8

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.

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.
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