Sortable Value Type Code Snippet

Published on Saturday, March 25, 2006

$& I was reading Krzysztof Cwalina and Brad Abrams' book Framework Design Guidelines : Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reusable .NET Libraries (Guidelines) the other day. I was reading through the value type design guidelines and thought I should review some of the code I was currently working on to make sure my value types were complete.

My value types had no violations, but I did make note of a few things. First, usually each of my type's requisite methods were in a different order from all the others and usually interspersed between other methods; making it hard to validate to any particular guidelines. Second, any particular method was often implemented slightly differently than other implementations. And, third, some of my types had also implemented IComparable in addition to IComparable<T>. I decided I would try and come up with reference implementation of the IComparable<T> and IEquatble<T> advice in Guidelines for study.

I pulled together the disparate method implementations in the book–cleaning up a couple of guideline violations–into a pedantic example struct. I quickly noticed one thing: of the 11 methods and operators only two need be distinct: IComparable<T>.CompareTo(T) and Object.GetHashCode(). I thought this would be a perfect case for templated code, so I decided to write a code snippet.

After reviewing the example type, the topic of whether CompareTo(object) is necessary came up. I had mistakenly assumed IComparable should be implemented when implementing IComparable<T>, so I had included CompareTo(Object) in my example. I re-read Guidelines and found there wasn't any advice on IComparable after all. My example had no backwards compatibility requirements and no requirements to compare with other object types, so I dropped the IComparable implementation.

The resulting code snippet can be found here.

[Edit 18-Jul-06: Irena Kennedy has a relavent blog post relating to IEquatable<T> and IComparable<T>]

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Visual Studio 2005
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