Francois C Francois C - 4 months ago 16
C# Question

How to retrieve actual item from HashSet<T>?

I've read this question about why it is not possible, but haven't found a solution to the problem.

I would like to retrieve an item from a .NET

. I'm looking for a method that would have this signature:

/// <summary>
/// Determines if this set contains an item equal to <paramref name="item"/>,
/// according to the comparison mechanism that was used when the set was created.
/// The set is not changed. If the set does contain an item equal to
/// <paramref name="item"/>, then the item from the set is returned.
/// </summary>
bool TryGetItem<T>(T item, out T foundItem);

Searching the set for an item with such a method would be O(1). The only way to retrieve an item from a
is to enumerate all items which is O(n).

I haven't find any workaround to this problem other then making my own
or use a
Dictionary<K, V>
. Any other idea?


I don't want to check if the
contains the item. I want to get the reference to the item that is stored in the
because I need to update it (without replacing it by another instance). The item I would pass to the
would be equal (according to the comparison mechanism that I've passed to the constructor) but it would not be the same reference.


This is actually a huge omission in the set of collections. You would need either a Dictionary of keys only or a HashSet that allows for the retrieval of object references. So many people have asked for it, why it doesn't get fixed is beyond me.

Without third-party libraries the best workaround is to use Dictionary<T, T> with keys identical to values, since Dictionary stores its entries as a hash table. Performance-wise it is the same as the HashSet, but it wastes memory of course (size of a pointer per entry).

Dictionary<T, T> myHashedCollection;
    item = myHashedCollection[item]; //replace duplicate
    myHashedCollection.Add(item, item); //add previously unknown item
//work with unique item