Func, Action and Predicate Examples
This page was last reviewed on Jun 14, 2023.
Dot Net Perls
Func, Action, Predicate. In VB.NET, we sometimes need to create function objects to pass to other methods (like List methods). We can create Func, Action and Predicate objects with lambdas.
Some syntax examples. We use the Function or Sub keywords to create these function objects. Funcs and Predicates return a value, so use the Function keyword.
And Actions are like Subs in that they return no values, so we use the Sub keyword to specify an Action type.
Func example. Let us begin with the Func type. When we create a Func, we specify its argument types (if any) and then its return type. Only one return type can be used.
Here We create 2 Funcs and store them in local variables. We could pass these as arguments, or use the lambda directly as arguments.
Module Module1 Sub Main() ' Return an Integer with no arguments. Dim test As Func(Of Integer) = Function() 10 Dim result = test.Invoke() Console.WriteLine($"TEST RESULT: {result}") ' Return an Integer with a String argument. ' ... Returns the string length multiplied by 2. Dim test2 As Func(Of String, Integer) = Function(x) x.Length * 2 Dim result2 = test2.Invoke("bird") Console.WriteLine($"TEST2 RESULT: {result2}") End Sub End Module
Action example. Action is the same as a Func, but it returns no value—it is like a Subroutine instead of a Function (in VB.NET terms). Here we create an action that receives 2 integers.
And The Action is specified with a 1-line Sub. It returns no value. Instead it just calls Console.WriteLine.
Module Module1 Sub Main() ' Use Sub to create an action. Dim test As Action(Of Integer, Integer) = Sub(x, y) Console.WriteLine("X is {0}, Y is {1}", x, y) ' Call the Action 3 times. test.Invoke(10, 20) test.Invoke(20, 30) test.Invoke(30, -1) End Sub End Module
X is 10, Y is 20 X is 20, Y is 30 X is 30, Y is -1
Predicate example. A Predicate is a function object that receives arguments, and always returns a Boolean. It tells us whether something is true or false.
Here We see 2 Predicates. The first tells us whether an integer is positive—it returns True if the value is greater than or equal to 0.
Module Module1 Sub Main() ' This Predicate receives an Integer, and returns a Boolean. ' ... It tells us if an Integer is positive. Dim isPositive As Predicate(Of Integer) = Function(x) x >= 0 If isPositive.Invoke(10) Then Console.WriteLine("NUMBER IS POSITIVE") End If ' This Predicate receives a String. ' ... It returns true if the string is short (less than 10 chars). Dim isShortString As Predicate(Of String) = Function(value) value.Length <= 9 If isShortString.Invoke("this is a long string") Then ' This is not reached. Console.WriteLine("NOT REACHED") End If End Sub End Module
Argument example. We usually want to pass things like a Predicate to another Function. Consider the FirstOrDefault Function from LINQ. It can accept a Predicate argument.
Here We use a Lambda expression to create a Predicate that returns True when a String begins with the letter F.
Result The first string that begins with the letter F, "frog," is returned by the FirstOrDefault Function. The Predicate worked.
Module Module1 Sub Main() Dim values() As String = {"bird", "frog", "dog", "cat"} ' Use Predicate to find first item starting with lowercase F. Dim firstLetterF = values.FirstOrDefault(Function(x) x.StartsWith("f")) ' Result. Console.WriteLine("FIRST ITEM STARTING WITH F: {0}", firstLetterF) End Sub End Module
Notes. Usually when we need a Func, Action or Predicate, it is as an argument to another method. Many methods in LINQ (like FirstOrDefault) can optionally accept a function object.
A summary. Often we encounter a Function that requires a Func, Action or Predicate argument. We can create these with Lambda syntax—the arguments and return value must be specified.
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Sam Allen is passionate about computer languages. In the past, his work has been recommended by Apple and Microsoft and he has studied computers at a selective university in the United States.
This page was last updated on Jun 14, 2023 (simplify).
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