Metro Smurf Metro Smurf - 3 months ago 15
C# Question

When to use .First and when to use .FirstOrDefault with LINQ?

I've searched around and haven't really found a clear answer as to when you'd want to use

.First
and when you'd want to use
.FirstOrDefault
with LINQ.


  • When would you want to use
    .First
    ? Only when you'd want to catch the exception if no results where returned?

    var result = List.Where(x => x == "foo").First();

  • And when would you want to use
    .FirstOrDefault
    ? When you'd always want the default type if no result?

    var result = List.Where(x => x == "foo").FirstOrDefault();

  • And for that matter, what about Take?

    var result = List.Where(x => x == "foo").Take(1);


Answer

I would use First() when I know or expect the sequence to have at least one element. In other words, when it is an exceptional occurrence when the sequence is empty.

Use FirstOrDefault() when you know that you will need to check whether there was an element or not. In other words, when it is legal for the sequence to be empty. You should not rely on exception handling for the check. (It is bad practice and might hurt performance).

Finally, the difference between First() and Take() is that First() returns the element itself, while Take() returns a sequence of elements that contains exactly one element. (If you pass 1 as the parameter).

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