Comparer<T> Class

Provides a base class for implementations of the IComparer<T> generic interface.

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

[SerializableAttribute]
public abstract class Comparer<T> : IComparer, 
	IComparer<T>

Type Parameters

T

The type of objects to compare.

Derive from this class to provide a custom implementation of the IComparer<T> interface for use with collection classes such as the SortedList<TKey, TValue> and SortedDictionary<TKey, TValue> generic classes.

The difference between deriving from the Comparer<T> class and implementing the System.IComparable interface is as follows:

  • To specify how two objects should be compared by default, implement the System.IComparable interface in your class. This ensures that sort operations will use the default comparison code that you provided.

  • To define a comparer to use instead of the default comparer, derive from the Comparer<T> class. You can then use this comparer in sort operations that take a comparer as a parameter.

The object returned by the Default property uses the System.IComparable<T> generic interface (IComparable<T> in C#, IComparable(Of T) in Visual Basic) to compare two objects. If type T does not implement the System.IComparable<T> generic interface, the Default property returns a Comparer<T> that uses the System.IComparable interface.

Notes to Implementers:

Compare and EqualityComparer<T>.Equals may behave differently in terms of culture-sensitivity and case-sensitivity.

For string comparisons, the StringComparer class is recommended over Comparer<String>. Properties of the StringComparer class return predefined instances that perform string comparisons with different combinations of culture-sensitivity and case-sensitivity. The case-sensitivity and culture-sensitivity are consistent among the members of the same StringComparer instance.

For more information on culture-specific comparisons, see the System.Globalization namespace and Encoding and Localization.

The following example derives a class, BoxLengthFirst, from the Comparer<T> class. This comparer compares two objects of type Box. It sorts them first by length, then by height, and then by width. The Box class implements the IComparable<T> interface to control the default comparison between two Box objects. This default implementation sorts first by height, then by length, and then by width. The example shows the differences between the two comparisons by sorting a list of Box objects first by using the BoxLengthFirst comparer and then by using the default comparer.

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;

class Program
{
    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        List<Box> Boxes = new List<Box>();
        Boxes.Add(new Box(4, 20, 14));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(12, 12, 12));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(8, 20, 10));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(6, 10, 2));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(2, 8, 4));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(2, 6, 8));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(4, 12, 20));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(18, 10, 4));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(24, 4, 18));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(10, 4, 16));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(10, 2, 10));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(6, 18, 2));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(8, 12, 4));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(12, 10, 8));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(14, 6, 6));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(16, 6, 16));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(2, 8, 12));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(4, 24, 8));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(8, 6, 20));
        Boxes.Add(new Box(18, 18, 12));

        // Sort by an Comparer<T> implementation that sorts 
        // first by the length.
        Boxes.Sort(new BoxLengthFirst());

        Console.WriteLine("H - L - W");
        Console.WriteLine("==========");
        foreach (Box bx in Boxes)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("{0}\t{1}\t{2}",
                bx.Height.ToString(), bx.Length.ToString(), 
                bx.Width.ToString());
        }

        Console.WriteLine();
        Console.WriteLine("H - L - W"); 
        Console.WriteLine("==========");

        // Get the default comparer that  
        // sorts first by the height.
        Comparer<Box> defComp = Comparer<Box>.Default;

        // Calling Boxes.Sort() with no parameter 
        // is the same as calling Boxs.Sort(defComp) 
        // because they are both using the default comparer.
        Boxes.Sort();

        foreach (Box bx in Boxes)
        {
            Console.WriteLine("{0}\t{1}\t{2}",
                bx.Height.ToString(), bx.Length.ToString(), 
                bx.Width.ToString());
        }


        // This explicit interface implementation 
        // compares first by the length. 
        // Returns -1 because the length of BoxA 
        // is less than the length of BoxB.
        BoxLengthFirst LengthFirst = new BoxLengthFirst(); 

        Comparer<Box> bc = (Comparer<Box>) LengthFirst;

        Box BoxA = new Box(2, 6, 8);
        Box BoxB = new Box(10, 12, 14);
        int x = LengthFirst.Compare(BoxA, BoxB);
        Console.WriteLine();
        Console.WriteLine(x.ToString());



    }

}

public class BoxLengthFirst : Comparer<Box> 
{
    // Compares by Length, Height, and Width. 
    public override int Compare(Box x, Box y)
    {
        if (x.Length.CompareTo(y.Length) != 0)
        {
            return x.Length.CompareTo(y.Length);
        }
        else if (x.Height.CompareTo(y.Height) != 0)
        {
            return x.Height.CompareTo(y.Height);
        }
        else if (x.Width.CompareTo(y.Width) != 0)
        {
            return x.Width.CompareTo(y.Width);
        }
        else
        {
            return 0;
        }
    }

}

// This class is not demonstrated in the Main method 
// and is provided only to show how to implement 
// the interface. It is recommended to derive 
// from Comparer<T> instead of implementing IComparer<T>. 
public class BoxComp : IComparer<Box>
{
    // Compares by Height, Length, and Width. 
    public int Compare(Box x, Box y)
    {
        if (x.Height.CompareTo(y.Height) != 0)
        {
            return x.Height.CompareTo(y.Height);
        }
        else if (x.Length.CompareTo(y.Length) != 0)
        {
            return x.Length.CompareTo(y.Length);
        }
        else if (x.Width.CompareTo(y.Width) != 0)
        {
            return x.Width.CompareTo(y.Width);
        }
        else
        {
            return 0;
        }
    }
}

public class Box : IComparable<Box>
{

    public Box(int h, int l, int w)
    {
        this.Height = h;
        this.Length = l;
        this.Width = w;
    }
    public int Height { get; private set; }
    public int Length { get; private set; }
    public int Width { get; private set; }

    public int CompareTo(Box other)
    {
        // Compares Height, Length, and Width. 
        if (this.Height.CompareTo(other.Height) != 0)
        {
            return this.Height.CompareTo(other.Height);
        }
        else if (this.Length.CompareTo(other.Length) != 0)
        {
            return this.Length.CompareTo(other.Length);
        }
        else if (this.Width.CompareTo(other.Width) != 0)
        {
            return this.Width.CompareTo(other.Width);
        }
        else
        {
            return 0;
        }
    }

}

System.Object
  System.Collections.Generic.Comparer<T>

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

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

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

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

Date

History

Reason

Updated remarks and added example.

Information enhancement.

Was this page helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback

Community Additions

ADD
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft