#421 – Value Equality and IComparable Example

Here’s a full example of a reference type that supports value equality semantics and implements both IEquatable and IComparable.

    public class Rectangle : IEquatable<Rectangle>, IComparable<Rectangle>
    {
        public int Height { get; set; }
        public int Width { get; set; }

        public Rectangle(int height, int width)
        {
            Height = height;
            Width = width;
        }

        public override bool Equals(object obj)
        {
            return this.Equals(obj as Rectangle);
        }

        public override int GetHashCode()
        {
            return Height.GetHashCode() ^ Width.GetHashCode();
        }

        public bool Equals(Rectangle r)
        {
            if (ReferenceEquals(r,null))
                return false;

            return ((Height == r.Height) && (Width == r.Width) ||
                    (Height == r.Width) && (Width == r.Height));
        }

        public static bool operator ==(Rectangle r1, Rectangle r2)
        {
            if (ReferenceEquals(r1, null))
            {
                return ReferenceEquals(r2, null) ? true : false;
            }

            return r1.Equals(r2);
        }

        public static bool operator !=(Rectangle r1, Rectangle r2)
        {
            return !(r1 == r2);
        }

        // Result:
        //  < 0 : this instance less than r
        //  = 0 : this instance equivalent to r
        //  > 0 : this instance greater than r
        public int CompareTo(Rectangle r)
        {
            if (ReferenceEquals(r, null))
                return 1;

            if (this.Equals(r))
                return 0;

            else if (this.Area() == r.Area())
                return this.Width - r.Width;

            else
                return this.Area() - r.Area();
        }

        public static bool operator <(Rectangle r1, Rectangle r2)
        {
            if (ReferenceEquals(r1, null))
                return false;

            else
                return (r1.CompareTo(r2) < 0) ? true : false;
        }

        public static bool operator >(Rectangle r1, Rectangle r2)
        {
            if (ReferenceEquals(r1, null))
                return false;

            else
                return (r1.CompareTo(r2) > 0) ? true : false;
        }

        public static bool operator <=(Rectangle r1, Rectangle r2)
        {
            return (r1 < r2) || (r1 == r2);
        }

        public static bool operator >=(Rectangle r1, Rectangle r2)
        {
            return (r1 > r2) || (r1 == r2);
        }

        public int Area()
        {
            return Height * Width;
        }
    }
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#420 – Laundry List for Implementing Value Equality and IComparable

To implement value equality (equivalence) in a reference type, you should do the following:

  • Override Object.Equals
    • In Object.Equals, call the type-specific Equals method using the as operator
  • Implement IEquatable<T> by adding a type-specific Equals method
    • Check for null using ReferenceEquals method
    • Call base class’ Equals method to compare fields that exist in the base class if it also checks for value equality
    • Check for equivalence by comparing individual fields
  • Override GetHashCode, generating a hash code based on fields used for equivalence
  • Overload == operator
    • Check for 1st parameter being null, compare to 2nd parameter
    • Call 1st parameter’s type-specific Equals method
  • Overload != operator, invoking the == operator
  • Implement IComparable<T>, adding a CompareTo method
    • Check for equivalence using Equals method, then compare individual fields
  • Overload < and > operators
    • Check for 1st parameter being null
    • Call 1st parameter’s CompareTo method
  • Overload <= and >= operators
    • Calculate a result using the <, > and == operators

#417 – Provide a Type-Specific Equals Method for Value Equality

When you are implementing value equality in a type, you typically override the Equals method that is defined in System.Object.  It has the following signature:

        public override bool Equals(object obj)

You should also add a type-specific Equals method.  For completeness, you can indicate that your class implements IEquatable<T>, which includes the type-specific Equals method.

    public class Dog : IEquatable<Dog>

Below is a complete example, showing us the override of System.Object.Equals, as well as the type-specific Equals method.  Note that the generic Equals method calls the type-specific version.

        // System.Object.Equals
        public override bool Equals(object obj)
        {
            return this.Equals(obj as Dog);
        }

        // IEquatable<Dog>.Equals
        public bool Equals(Dog d)
        {
            if (d == null)
                return false;

            return (Name == d.Name) && (Age == d.Age);
        }