transformer blackboxes in linq

A lambda used in Linq is often a transformer function, or a converter or lookup or mapper or translator function.  All of these words describe the same generic blackbox having exactly 1 input object and 1 output object.

The 1 input object is carried by the range variable in Linq. Output can be a field of the input. Output can be another object (perhaps of anonymous class). Output can be a true/false flag…

Many Linq sequence operations “Apply a Transformer On” the input sequence.
eg: Where() applies a filtering transformer on the input sequence
eg: OrderBy() applies a sorter transformer on the input sequence
eg: Select() applies a one-to-one mapping transformer from input sequence to an output sequence

— OrderBy() — takes *2* arguments and returns a comparison result. Ditto for comparitor in STL sort(). Linq OrderBy() is a bold departure.

OrderBy() looks more like SQL order-by, specifying a sorting “key-field”.

This is the Hollywood principal like spring RowMapper. Inernally, the sorter (“the Hollywood”) will pick 2 elements from the sequence and compare that key-field to decide who wins….(imprecise language, admittedly). The only info needed by Hollywood is “which (pseudo) field to use for Ranking items”. A crude example — You can rank companies by reputation, by popularity, by profit … OrderBy() answers that question.

Therefore OrderBy accepts a transformer blackbox with 1 input i.e. the range var , and 1 output i.e. a “key” pseudo-field. Actually the field can be any value computed from fields of the input object.

c# delegate – a few points

See also

Usage inside c# foundation
– thread creation
– event fields in classes
– GUI event handler
– onMsg() type of thing
– anon methods, lambda expressions

Physical implementation of a delegate instance? unchanged for 20 years —  a wrapper object over a function pointer. There’s only one address for the referenced function, but possibly many wrapper instances.