Day at the Office: Naming Anonymous Types

I ran into a problem yesterday.  I’m in the middle of a large routine.  It looks at a set of projected changes and determines, if the changes were applied, what would the errors be.  Most of these errors have to do with balances going out of bounds, so there are several balances rolled up at various levels.

Where It Started

At first, I created several Dictionary<??,decimal> of balances like this:

var balance1 = .... 
 .GroupBy(t=>new { T.ClientId, T.CommmodityId, T.BucketId })  

The Problem

The code grew, exceeding 300 lines of code in one routine.  Time to refactor.  However, when I refactored, it did not know what to name my anonymous type, and I got this:

void PerformFancyMath(Trade t, Dictionary<??,decimal> balances)

More detail and other options here:

Not A Problem!  I’ll stop using the anonymous type, and create a helper class for it.

My first attempt was something like this:

public class DooHickey { 
    public int ClientId { get; set; }
    public int CommodityId { get; set; }
    public int BucketId { get; set; }

However, this does not work, because DooHickey does not define Equals() or GetHashCode(), so the dictionary doesn’t know how to match keys together.    

I hate writing those boilerplate bits of code – I like F#’s idea where it defines these for you, same as C# anonymous types.

My Solution

Rather than writing out that code, this is what I did instead:

public class DooHickey : Tuple<int,int,int> { public DooHickey(int a, int b, int c):base(a,b,c) { } /* This bit is not really necessary, but could be done

public int ClientId { get { return base.Item1; } } public int CommodityId { get { return base.Item2; } } public int BucketId { get { return base.Item3; } }

*/  }

  • I didn’t realize I could have a Tuple with 3,4,5 or more constituents.
  • The Tuple handles GetHashCode() and Equal().

Now armed with my helper class, I was able to refactor my code and bring my methods down to under a screenful each.