My Life As A Blog

TF#I Friday #5 : In which I return to C# for a bit

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In my last post I counted some words using F#, which turned out to require a single, simple line of F#.  When I’d done the same thing before in C# i had iterated over the words and kept a count as I went, which is a typically imperative approach.  So, I wondered if you could apply the functional approach to C# – perhaps using LINQ.  Turns out you can.

Firstly, it’s helpful to have some words to count.  Here’s a simple approach:

string test = "The cat sat on the mat.";
string[] words = test.Split(' ');

(In F# I populated a list of words directly, so there’s an extra line of C# here – largely because I started with my previous C# code.)  Right, now to the counting in one line:

var result = from word in words
             let strippedWord = StripPunctuation(word).ToLower()
             where strippedWord.Length > 0
             group word by strippedWord into grouped
             select new { Word = grouped.Key, Count = grouped.Count() };

You  may have noticed a call to StripPunctuation – a utility function I had in my previous C# code.  Here it is (declared static as I was running it in a console application:

private static string StripPunctuation(string word)
    string result = word;
    if (result.Length > 0)
        if (char.IsPunctuation(result[0]))
            result = result.TrimStart(result[0]);
        if (result.Length > 0)
            if (char.IsPunctuation(result[result.Length - 1]))
                result = result.TrimEnd(result[result.Length - 1]);
    return result;

And now, with a little sprinkling of dynamic capability, outputting the results to the console:

foreach (dynamic entry in result)
    Console.WriteLine("{0}\t{1}", entry.Word, entry.Count);

So it is possible to apply the more functional approach courtesy of LINQ, although there’s still more code than I had in F#.  The C# is doing a couple of extra things (it strips out punctuation and is case insensitive) – but the point isn’t really the comparison between the two examples so much as the fact that by grasping some functional concepts can result in a change to your C# – which is a good reason to learn some F#.


Written by remark

March 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Posted in .NET, c#, Development, F#, Languages

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