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IComparable.CompareTo Method

Note: This method is new in the .NET Framework version 2.0.

Compares the current object with another object of the same type.

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

int CompareTo (
	T other
)
int CompareTo (
	T other
)
function CompareTo (
	other : T
) : int

Parameters

other

An object to compare with this object.

Return Value

A 32-bit signed integer that indicates the relative order of the objects being compared. The return value has the following meanings:

Value

Meaning

Less than zero

This object is less than the other parameter.

Zero

This object is equal to other.

Greater than zero

This object is greater than other.

This method is only a definition and must be implemented by a specific class or value type to have effect. The meaning of the comparisons, "less than," "equal to," and "greater than," depends on the particular implementation.

By definition, any object compares greater than a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic), and two null references compare equal to each other.

Notes to Implementers For objects A, B, and C, the following must be true: A.CompareTo(A) is required to return zero. If A.CompareTo(B) returns zero, then B.CompareTo(A) is required to return zero. If A.CompareTo(B) returns zero and B.CompareTo(C) returns zero, then A.CompareTo(C) is required to return zero. If A.CompareTo(B) returns a value other than zero, then B.CompareTo(A) is required to return a value of the opposite sign. If A.CompareTo(B) returns a value x that is not equal to zero, and B.CompareTo(C) returns a value y of the same sign as x, then A.CompareTo(C) is required to return a value of the same sign as x and y.

Notes to Callers Use the CompareTo method to determine the ordering of instances of a class.

The following code example illustrates the implementation of IComparable for a simple Temperature object. The example creates a SortedList collection of strings with Temperature object keys, and adds several pairs of temperatures and strings to the list out of sequence. The SortedList collection uses the IComparable implementation to sort the list entries, which are then displayed in order of increasing temperature.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

public class Temperature : IComparable<Temperature>
{
    // Implement the CompareTo method. For the parameter type, Use 
    // the type specified for the type parameter of the generic 
    // IComparable interface. 
    //
    public int CompareTo(Temperature other)
    {
        // The temperature comparison depends on the comparison of the
        // the underlying Double values. Because the CompareTo method is
        // strongly typed, it is not necessary to test for the correct
        // object type.
        return m_value.CompareTo(other.m_value);
    }

    // The underlying temperature value.
    protected double m_value = 0.0;

    public double Celsius    
    {
        get
        {
            return m_value - 273.15;
        }
    }

    public double Kelvin    
    {
        get
        {
            return m_value;
        }
        set
        {
            if (value < 0.0)
            {
                throw new ArgumentException("Temperature cannot be less than absolute zero.");
            }
            else
            {
                m_value = value;
            }
        }
    }

    public Temperature(double degreesKelvin)
    {
        this.Kelvin = degreesKelvin;
    }
}

public class Example
{
    public static void Main()
    {
        SortedList<Temperature, string> temps = 
            new SortedList<Temperature, string>();

        // Add entries to the sorted list, out of order.
        temps.Add(new Temperature(2017.15), "Boiling point of Lead");
        temps.Add(new Temperature(0), "Absolute zero");
        temps.Add(new Temperature(273.15), "Freezing point of water");
        temps.Add(new Temperature(5100.15), "Boiling point of Carbon");
        temps.Add(new Temperature(373.15), "Boiling point of water");
        temps.Add(new Temperature(600.65), "Melting point of Lead");

        foreach( KeyValuePair<Temperature, string> kvp in temps )
        {
            Console.WriteLine("{0} is {1} degrees Celsius.", kvp.Value, kvp.Key.Celsius);
        }
    }
}

/* This code example produces the following output:

Absolute zero is -273.15 degrees Celsius.
Freezing point of water is 0 degrees Celsius.
Boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius.
Melting point of Lead is 327.5 degrees Celsius.
Boiling point of Lead is 1744 degrees Celsius.
Boiling point of Carbon is 4827 degrees Celsius.

*/

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows CE, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

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

.NET Framework

Supported in: 2.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 2.0
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