Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sorting Dictionary object in .Net

A few days ago I came across a sorting-dictionary problem at work. The easiest way to have a sorted dictionary in .Net is to use the SortedDictionary(TKey, TValue) item. Every time you enter a keyvaluepair in the SortedDictionary item, it will be sorted automatically.

But I had to sort an existing Dictionary(TKey, TValue) item, that was provided by some other program. Initially, I was hoping that there is some Dictionary.Sort() function available that I could use but there isn't.

After some research I found that you could use the List.Sort() function to sort the dictionary by keys. But that is not all. You also need to add a delegate in the List.Sort() function to carry out the sorting process.

Here is the code.

//Code takes a Dictionary<double,int> item, sorts it and return the new Dictionary<double,int> item

private static Dictionary<double,int> Sort(Dictionary<double,int> Dict)
{
//Create a List object from the Dictionary item
List<keyvaluepair<double,int>> result = new List<keyvaluepair<double,int>>(Dict);


//Use the delegate in the List.Sort function to compare the keys for sorting
result.Sort(
delegate(
KeyValuePair<double, int> first,
KeyValuePair<double, int> second)
{
return first.Key.CompareTo(second.Key);
}
);

//Add the List items into a new dictionary item
Dictionary<double,int> sortedDict = new Dictionary<double,int>();

foreach (KeyValuePair<double, int> kvp in result)
{

double key = kvp.Key;
int value = kvp.Value;

sortedDict.Add(key, value);
}

return sortedDict;
}



If there is a better way to achieve this, please let me know.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi! I came across this randomly, but...

I believe you can just create a new SortedDictionary instance and pass in the original dictionary in the constructor, i.e.:

Dictionary<string,int> dict = new Dictonary<string, int>; // as the existing entry

SortedDictionary<string, int> sortedDict = new SortedDictionary<string, int>(dict); // now it's sorted

anyways, you get the idea. Maybe not any faster (?), but definitely easier to think about. :)

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Hi Anonymous!
Your suggested method is definitely more easier to think and to remember. Thanks for sharing it.

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