Aheho Aheho - 20 days ago 5
C# Question

Editing dictionary values in a foreach loop

I am trying to build a pie chart from a dictionary. Before I display the pie chart, I want to tidy up the data. I'm removing any pie slices that would be less than 5% of the pie and putting them in a "Other" pie slice. However I'm getting a

Collection was modified; enumeration operation may not execute
exception at runtime.

I understand why you can not add or remove items from a dictionary while iterating over them. However I don't understand why you can't simply change a value for an existing key within the foreach loop.

Any suggestions re: fixing my code, would be appreciated.

Dictionary<string, int> colStates = new Dictionary<string,int>();
// ...
// Some code to populate colStates dictionary
// ...

int OtherCount = 0;

foreach(string key in colStates.Keys)
{

double Percent = colStates[key] / TotalCount;

if (Percent < 0.05)
{
OtherCount += colStates[key];
colStates[key] = 0;
}
}

colStates.Add("Other", OtherCount);

Answer

Setting a value in a dictionary updates its internal "version number" - which invalidates the iterator, and any iterator associated with the keys or values collection.

I do see your point, but at the same time it would be odd if the values collection could change mid-iteration - and for simplicity there's only one version number.

The normal way of fixing this sort of thing is to either copy the collection of keys beforehand and iterate over the copy, or iterate over the original collection but maintain a collection of changes which you'll apply after you've finished iterating.

For example:

Copying keys first

List<string> keys = new List<string>(colStates.Keys);
foreach(string key in keys)
{
    double percent = colStates[key] / TotalCount;    
    if (percent < 0.05)
    {
        OtherCount += colStates[key];
        colStates[key] = 0;
    }
}

Or...

Creating a list of modifications

List<string> keysToNuke = new List<string>();
foreach(string key in colStates.Keys)
{
    double percent = colStates[key] / TotalCount;    
    if (percent < 0.05)
    {
        OtherCount += colStates[key];
        keysToNuke.Add(key);
    }
}
foreach (string key in keysToNuke)
{
    colStates[key] = 0;
}
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