Iterator Benchmarks That Shocked With Unexpected Results

I wanted to create a follow-up post in my series on IEnumerables, iterators, and collections focusing on performance characteristics. When checking out the runtime performance and memory characteristics between these materialized collections and iterator benchmarks, I was very surprised! Check out this article for performance benchmark characteristics and some curious finds.

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Beware of These Iterator and Collection Traps

This article is not set out to try and persuade you, the reader, that either using an iterator or materialized collection will universally solve your problems. Both iterator and materialized collection usage can be used to solve the scenarios that we'll be looking at, but both will come with a different set of pros and cons that we can further explore. The purpose of this article is to highlight scenarios based on real world experiences where either an iterator or materialized collection was being misunderstood, misused, and ultimately leading to a pile of headaches. As you read this article, if you find yourself saying "Well, sure, but they should have..." you're probably right. The problem is fundamentally not the usage of an iterator or the materialized collection, but not understanding how to consume them effectively. So I hope that when…

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Iterators – An Elementary Perspective on How They Function

If you're newer to C# or programming in general, you may have used an iterator and not even realized it. Iterators can be a performant and effective tool that we have access to as .NET developers that allow us to traverse collections of data. Because one of the requirements of an iterator is that it must implement the IEnumerable interface, the results of an iterator can only be enumerated over. For example, you could use the results of an iterator in a foreach loop but you could not directly index into the iterator results (like you could an array) without some additional steps. Another requirement of iterators is that they use a special keyword called "yield" so that they can yield and return the individual elements that are to be provided to the caller of the iterator. In a nutshell,…

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IEnumerable in C# – A Simplified Beginners Guide

In C# and .NET, as programmers we have access to an interface that is called IEnumerable (or IEnumerable<T> for the generic version). Using IEnumerable allows us to iterate from a collection or data source by moving one element at a time. It's also important to note that all collection types in C# inherit from IEnumerable so collections you are familiar with like arrays and lists implement IEnumerable. I have been trying to help educate around IEnumerable usage for many years now so this is a renewed effort to help get more junior developers understanding how they work. As a bonus, if you're interested in working with the code that you see in this article you can clone it down from GitHub by visiting this link. A Companion Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR7Cq0iwNYo Simple IEnumerable Example Let's consider the following code example that will…

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Yield! Reconsidering APIs with Collections

Yield: A Little Background The yield keyword in C# is pretty cool. Being used within an iterator, yield lets a function return an item as well as control of execution to the caller and upon next iteration resume where it left off. Neat, right?¬†MSDN documentation lists these limitations surrounding the use of the yield keyword: Unsafe blocks are not allowed. Parameters to the method, operator, or accessor cannot be ref or out. A yield return statement cannot be located anywhere inside a try-catch block. It can be located in a try block if the try block is followed by a finally block. A yield break statement may be located in a try block or a catch block but not a finally block. So what does this have to do with API specifications? A whole lot really, especially if you're dealing…

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