DenaliHardtail DenaliHardtail - 2 months ago 18
C# Question

Converting a generic list to a CSV string

I have a list of integer values (List) and would like to generate a string of comma delimited values. That is all items in the list output to a single comma delimted list.

My thoughts...
1. pass the list to a method.
2. Use stringbuilder to iterate the list and append commas
3. Test the last character and if it's a comma, delete it.

What are your thoughts? Is this the best way?

How would my code change if I wanted to handle not only integers (my current plan) but strings, longs, doubles, bools, etc, etc. in the future? I guess make it accept a list of any type.

Answer

It's amazing what the Framework already does for us.

List<int> myValues;
string csv = String.Join(",", myValues.Select(x => x.ToString()).ToArray());

For the general case:

IEnumerable<T> myList;
string csv = String.Join(",", myList.Select(x => x.ToString()).ToArray());

As you can see, it's effectively no different. Beware that you might need to actually wrap x.ToString() in quotes (i.e., "\"" + x.ToString() + "\"") in case x.ToString() contains commas.

For an interesting read on a slight variant of this: see Comma Quibbling on Eric Lippert's blog.

Note: This was written before .NET 4.0 was officially released. Now we can just say

IEnumerable<T> sequence;
string csv = String.Join(",", sequence);

using the overload String.Join<T>(string, IEnumerable<T>). This method will automatically project each element x to x.ToString().