Linq Orderby a Better IComparer in C#

Posted by OmegaMan at February 5, 2009

Category: Linq, Regular Expressions

Tags: , , , ,

Sometimes IComparer falls short when on has a need to sort on different, for lack of a better term, data columns. Before writing an IComparer interface for sort, try using Linq’s Orderby.

In the forums the user had data, in string lines, which looked like this

3 months ending 9/30/2007
9 months ending 9/30/2007
3 months ending 9/30/2008
9 months ending 9/30/2008

The user needed the white items sorted first in ascending fashion and the red year items sorted descending. Because the data was all in a string and needed differing sorts, je was having problems with sort with a custom IComparer class.

I recommend that he use regex to parse out the items then use linq to sort. Here is the result.  Note I merged all data into one string where each line is a true line.

string input =
@"3 months ending 9/30/2007
9 months ending 9/30/2007
3 months ending 9/30/2008
9 months ending 9/30/2008";

string pattern = @"(?<Total>\d\d?)(?:[^\d]+)(?<Date>[\d/]+)";

var items =
    from Match m in Regex.Matches( input, pattern )
    select new
        Total = m.Groups["Total"].Value,
        Date = DateTime.Parse( m.Groups["Date"].Value ),
        Full = m.Groups[0].Value

var values = from p in items
             orderby p.Total, p.Date.Year descending
             select p;

foreach ( var itm in values )
    Console.WriteLine( itm.Full );

/* Outputs
3 months ending 9/30/2008
3 months ending 9/30/2007
9 months ending 9/30/2008
9 months ending 9/30/2007


  1. Eric Duncan says

    Can’t see any code in IE8 or FF35. JS error in IE8.

    • OmegaMan says

      Let me test the blog…..done try it now! Thanks for telling me! :-)


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