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 Thursday, 26 April 2007
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Aaron Erickson, a Magenic consultant, has been working on an interesting project: providing an indexing service for LINQ. You can get full information about i4o from this blog post, and from the official codeplex site.

You might wonder why this matters, given that LINQ uses database indexes to get its data. But that's actually Dlinq, which runs against SQL Server.

LINQ itself runs against objects, arrays, collections, lists and so forth. All of which are just in-memory objects, and obviously aren't indexed at all. LINQ does "table scans" against arrays and lists at all times. Basically LINQ just runs a lot of for-each loops for you. And in the vast majority of cases that is the right answer, because most lists are only a few score or maybe a few hundred items in length, and using for-each is faster than building an index.

However, you might have lists that are big enough, or where you are doing many repeated queries against the same set of properties, where the cost of building an index is lower than the cost of using simple for-each loops. And this is where the ability to index properties of the objects in a list such that LINQ uses the index becomes very useful.

In any case, check out i4o, because it is interesting and very cool stuff!

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