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README.md

LinqArray

LinqArray is a pure functional .NET library from Ara 3D that provides LINQ functionality for immutable (read only) arrays, rather than streams, while preserving O(1) complexity when retrieving the count or items by index. It is performant, memory efficient, cross-platform, safe, and easy to use.

Overview

LinqArray is a set of extension methods build on the System.IReadonlyList<T> interface which effectively is:

interface IReadonlyList<T> {
    int Count { get; }
    T this[int n] { get; }
}

Because the interface does not mutate objects it is safe to use in a multithreaded context. Furthermore, as with regular LINQ for IEnumerable, evaluation of many of the operations can be performed on demand (aka lazily).

Motivation

There are two key characteristics of an array data type which are important to maintain in some problem domains:

  1. Retrieving size of collection in O(1)
  2. Retrieving any item in collection by index in O(1)

LINQ provides a large library of extremely useful and powerful algorithms that work on any data type that can be enumerated. However most LINQ methods return an IEnumerable interface which has O(N) time for retrieving the size of a collection, or O(N) time for retrieving an element in the collection at a given index.

Note about Big O Complexity

The notation O(1) is called Big-O notation and describes the average running time of an operation in terms of the size of the input set. The O(1) means that the running time of the operation is a fixed constant independent of the size of the collection.

Why use Interfaces versus Types

Using concrete types like List or Array versus an interface leadas to code that is more verbose and harder to maintain because it commit library authors and consumers to uses a specific implementation of an abstract data type. Library functions then have to be written for each type. This is why interfaces like IEnumerable are so prevalent: using extension methods we can easily write libraries that work on any conforming type. The closest thing to an array

Extension Methods

LinqArray provides many of the same extension methods for IReadOnlyList as LINQ does for objects implementing the IEnumerable interface. Some examples include:

  • Aggregate
  • Select
  • Zip
  • Take
  • Skip
  • Reverse
  • All
  • Any
  • Count

Status

The project is under heavy development but the core functionality is fixed.

Similar Work

This library is based on an article on CodeProject.com called LINQ for Immutable Arrays. While I worked at Autodesk we used a library based on this article in Autodesk 3ds Max 2016 and later, which shows that

Unlike LinqFaster by Jack Mott evaluations of functions happen lazily, and have no side effects. This means that this library can be easily used in a multi-threaded context without inccurring the overhead and complexity of synchronization.

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A .NET library for LINQ functionality on immutable arrays.

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