Looping 101

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Here is a pop quiz for language aficionados.

Examine the following class:

public class Foo
public int GetUpperLimit()
"GetUpperLimit invoked");
return 5;

public IEnumerable<int> GetCollection()
"GetCollection invoked");
return new int[] { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 };

Now examine the following console mode program:

class Program
static void Main(string[] args)
Foo foo = new Foo();

for (int i = 1; i <= foo.GetUpperLimit(); i++)

foreach (int i in foo.GetCollection())

 Without using a compiler, do you know:  

  • How many times "GetUpperLimit invoked" will appear in the output?
  • How many times "GetCollection invoked" will appear in the output?

Now, examine the same console program in VB:

Sub Main()
Dim foo As New Foo()

For i As Integer = 1 To foo.GetUpperLimit()

    For Each i As Integer In foo.GetCollection()

 Bonus third question:  

  • Will the output of the VB program be the same as the C# program?

I was suprised by the answer to the last question ...

Aaron Sunday, April 29, 2007
you've missed some code out of the c# example program...

Ok, quick guess, I'd say 5 GetUpperLimits, and 1 GetCollection.
For the VB, 1 GetUpperLimit and 1 GetCollection.

I'm sure I read an article about when the foreach loop would take the initialization outside the loop, but I can't remember what the rules were!
The most obvious answer would be 5 for everything, but I'm sure you wouldn't ask if that were true... would you :)

I've also got thoughts like debug vs optimized running round my head, but I suppose changing the behaviour would be a bit severe!
scott Monday, April 30, 2007
Aaron: The VB answer is correct (1 and 1).

Oops, the C# code was bungled, sorry about that.

The answer of 5 for the GetUpperLimit is close...
SimoneB Monday, April 30, 2007
The condition of the for loop is evaluated one additional time before exiting the loop, when the condition returns false, thus 6.
Wayne Howarth Monday, April 30, 2007
Could the c# GetUpperLimit() be called 6 times maybe?

It is called at the very start after 'i' is initialised to 1, then again after 'i' has been incremented to 2, 3, 4, 5 respectively then finally after it is incremented to 6?
Aaron Monday, April 30, 2007
6 for the getUpperLimit - the last one being from the failing condition test!

I'm smiling now, with a warm fuzzy feeling... I REALLY should get out more :)))

Marco Turrini Monday, April 30, 2007
Well, I must admit I made a guess which was wrong (I'd have said 5 and 5, both for C# and VB codes, totalling a 0 out of 4 of which I'm proud of), then I tried out and... well, I will not ruin the pleasure for the others, but... what's the reason for it? I've always told my buddies there were no difference in programming in C# or VB.NET and now you shake all my believings... )-; Luckily, today is an almost plenty monday here in my office...
Eric D. Burdo Monday, April 30, 2007
I figured 6 for the C# code, and 1 for the VB.

C# - 5 for the loop and 1 for the failing test.

VB - The function is evaluated outside the loop and cached. So the routine is only called once.

In the VB world, that's why you can get better performance in a "For x = 1 to recordset.count" vs. "do until recordset.EOF"
scott Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Both languages are holding on to thier heritage (C++ for C#, VB for VB.NET). Overall, it's still about the runtime and the class library, so there generally isn't a huge difference in selecting one of these programming languages.
Marco Turrini Wednesday, May 2, 2007
First of all, I want to apologize for being so late: due to timezone differencies (I live in Italy) and the fact the yesterday was a civil holyday here, I read your kind reply only a few minutes ago.
Last, but not least, I want to thank you for keeping this blog: I may not be the most qualified guy to tell this, but I think your blog is one the the five most interesting to read.
Comments are closed.
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