Mathias Brandewinder on .NET, F#, VSTO and Excel development, and quantitative analysis / machine learning.
23. January 2010 00:21

One of the immediate benefits I saw in digging into F# is that it gave me a much better understanding of LINQ and lambdas in C#. Until recently, my usage of LINQ was largely limited to returning IEnumerable instead of List<T> and writing simpler queries, but I have avoided the more “esoteric” features. I realize that now that F# is becoming familiar to my brain, whenever I see a statement in C# which contains a foreach:

foreach (var item in items)
{
// do something with item.
}

… I ask myself if this could be re-written in a more functional way. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Just like classic OO Design Patterns, functional programming has its own patterns, and I find that having a larger toolkit of patterns in the back of my mind helps criticizing my own code and think about alternatives and possible improvements.

I encountered one such case a few days ago, with the following snippet:

public bool IsValid()
{
foreach (var rule in this.rules)
{
if (!rule.IsSatisfied())
{
return false;
}
}

return true;
}

There is nothing really wrong with this code. However, seeing the foreach statement, and an if statement with a return and no else branch made me wonder how I would have done this in F# – and my immediate thought was “I’d use a Fold”.

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