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IEqualityComparer<T> Interface

Defines methods to support the comparison of objects for equality.

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

public interface IEqualityComparer<in T>

Type Parameters

in T

The type of 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 IEqualityComparer<T> type exposes the following members.

  NameDescription
Public methodSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsEqualsDetermines whether the specified objects are equal.
Public methodSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibrarySupported in .NET for Windows Store appsGetHashCodeReturns a hash code for the specified object.
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This interface allows the implementation of customized equality comparison for collections. That is, you can create your own definition of equality for type T, and specify that this definition be used with a collection type that accepts the IEqualityComparer<T> generic interface. In the .NET Framework, constructors of the Dictionary<TKey, TValue> generic collection type accept this interface.

A default implementation of this interface is provided by the Default property of the EqualityComparer<T> generic class. The StringComparer class implements IEqualityComparer<T> of type String.

This interface supports only equality comparisons. Customization of comparisons for sorting and ordering is provided by the IComparer<T> generic interface.

We recommend that you derive from the EqualityComparer<T> class instead of implementing the IEqualityComparer<T> interface, because the EqualityComparer<T> class tests for equality using the IEquatable<T>.Equals method instead of the Object.Equals method. This is consistent with the Contains, IndexOf, LastIndexOf, and Remove methods of the Dictionary<TKey, TValue> class and other generic collections.

The following example adds custom Box objects to a dictionary collection. The Box objects are considered equal if their dimensions are the same.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
class Example
{
    static void Main()
    {
        try
        {

            BoxEqualityComparer boxEqC = new BoxEqualityComparer();

            Dictionary<Box, String> boxes = new Dictionary<Box,
                                                string>(boxEqC);

            Box redBox = new Box(4, 3, 4);
            Box blueBox = new Box(4, 3, 4);

            boxes.Add(redBox, "red");
            boxes.Add(blueBox, "blue");

            Console.WriteLine(redBox.GetHashCode());
            Console.WriteLine(blueBox.GetHashCode());
        }
        catch (ArgumentException argEx)
        {

            Console.WriteLine(argEx.Message);
        }
    }
}

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


class BoxEqualityComparer : IEqualityComparer<Box>
{

    public bool Equals(Box b1, Box b2)
    {
        if (b1.Height == b2.Height & b1.Length == b2.Length
                            & b1.Width == b2.Width)
        {
            return true;
        }
        else
        {
            return false;
        }
    }


    public int GetHashCode(Box bx)
    {
        int hCode = bx.Height ^ bx.Length ^ bx.Width;
        return hCode.GetHashCode();
    }

}

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.6, 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

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.

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