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Language Integrated Query (LINQ): Part 6

Posted by Abhimanyu K Vatsa Articles | LINQ September 03, 2012
In this article we will be looking at filtering, ordering, grouping and joining using LINQ.
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This is sixth part of the "LINQ" series of articles that I have started from here. In the previous article we explored selecting records using LINQ and its internals. Now in this article we will be looking at filtering, ordering, grouping and joining using LINQ.


Filter


Filter is the most common query operation. A filter is applied in the form of a Boolean expression. The filter causes the query to return only those elements for which the expression is true. The result is produced by using the where clause. The filter in effect specifies which elements to exclude from the source sequence. Let's look at a sample query:
 

DataNorthwindDataContext NDC = new DataNorthwindDataContext();


var
 custQuery = from cust in NDC.Customers

                where cust.Country == "France"

                select cust;
 

foreach (var e in custQuery)

{

    Console.WriteLine("Country: " + e.Country + " || Address: " + e.Address + " || Phone: " + e.Phone);

}


Console
.ReadKey();


In the above query, I'm asking for only those records who's "Country" is "France". And in the foreach loop, "Country", "Address" and "Phone" are separated by "||" and the same in output.

 
filter-Linq.png


In the same way, if you want to select records where "Country" is "France" and "ContactName" starts with "A", then use:
 

var custQuery = from cust in NDC.Customers

                where cust.Country == "France" && cust.ContactName.StartsWith("a")

                select cust;


And, if you want to select records where "Country" is "France" or "ContactName" starts with "A", then use:

 

var custQuery = from cust in NDC.Customers

                where cust.Country == "France" || cust.ContactName.StartsWith("a")

                select cust;


So, in both queries, "&&" is being used for "And" and "||" is being used for "Or".

 

Now, "StartsWith" is a LINQ level key that is equivalent to the LIKE operator in SQL. You can see it in a generated query here:
 

StartsWith-linq.png

 

We will look more only such available "keys" in a subsequent article.
 

Order
 

The orderby clause will cause the elements in the returned sequence to be sorted according to the default comparer for the type being sorted. For example the following query can be extended to sort the results based on the ContactName property. Because ContactName is a string, the default comparer performs an alphabetical sort from A to Z.
 

var custQuery = from cust in NDC.Customers

                orderby cust.ContactName descending //orderby cust.ContactName ascending

                select cust;

Group
 

The group clause enables you to group your results based on a key that you specify. For example you could specify that the results should be grouped by the City.
 

var custQuery = from cust in NDC.Customers

                where cust.ContactName.StartsWith("a")

                group cust by cust.City;


When you end a query with a group clause, your results take the form of a list of lists. Each element in the list is an object that has a Key member and a list of elements that are grouped under that key. When you iterate over a query that produces a sequence of groups, you must use a nested foreach loop. The outer loop iterates over each group, and the inner loop iterates over each group's members.
 

foreach (var e in custQuery)

{

    int x = e.Key.Length;

    Console.WriteLine('\n');

    Console.WriteLine(e.Key);

    Console.WriteLine(Repeat('-', x));

               

    foreach (Customer c in e)

    {

        Console.WriteLine("Contact Name : " + c.ContactName);

    }

}


And the output will be organized as:
 


group-linq.png


If you must refer to the results of a group operation, you can use the "into" keyword to create an identifier that can be queried further. The following query returns only those groups that contain more than two customers:

 

var custQuery = from cust in NDC.Customers

                group cust by cust.City into custGroup

                where custGroup.Count() > 2

                select custGroup;


 

And the foreach loop will be the same; see:
 

foreach (var e in custQuery)

{

    int x = e.Key.Length;

    Console.WriteLine('\n');

    Console.WriteLine(e.Key);

    Console.WriteLine(Repeat('-', x));

               

    foreach (Customer c in e)

    {

        Console.WriteLine("Contact Name : " + c.ContactName);

    }

}

 

You will get the following output:
 

output-group-linq.png


Join
 

Join operations create associations among sequences that are not explicitly modeled in the data sources. For example you can perform a join to find all the customers and distributors who have the same location. In LINQ the join clause always works against object collections instead of database tables directly.
 

Question: What query should we write to select names from the two tables "Customer" and "Employee" depending upon matching city?
 

Answer: The query will be:
 

var custQuery = from cust in NDC.Customers

                join emp in NDC.Employees on cust.City equals emp.City

                select new { CityName = cust.City, CustomerName = cust.ContactName, EmployeeName = emp.FirstName };


And in the foreach loop, we will write:

 

foreach (var e in custQuery)

{

    Console.WriteLine(e.CityName" : " + e.CustomerName + ", " + e.EmployeeName);

}


Output:
 

join-linq.png


We can use "Group by" here to group the output.
 

I hope you will find it useful. Thanks for reading.

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