#1,142 – Using EqualityComparer to Compare Objects in Generic Types

By default, you can’t use equality operators on objects whose type is a type argument within a generic class.  If you constrain an argument to be a reference type, you can use equality operators to do reference equality checks.  But you can‘t make use of overloaded equality functionality.

You can do a true equality check between objects using the EqualityComparer<T> class.  Below is an example.  EqualityComparer<T> makes use of overloaded equality logic in the Dog class, even though we haven’t constrained the T argument.

    public class Pile<T>
        List<T> pile = new List<T>();
        EqualityComparer<T> comparer = EqualityComparer<T>.Default;

        public void Add(T item)
            if (!pile.Contains(item))

        public bool IsFirst(T item)
            // Reference equality only, if we do
            //   where T : class
            //bool equalStd = (pile[0] == item);

            // Makes use of overloaded Equality
            // functionality in T
            bool equalBetter = comparer.Equals(pile[0], item);

            return equalBetter;