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C# Design Patterns: the Iterator pattern

January 23, 2009


Iterate through a list of items, with an enumerator class ordering the set/list before it is iterated through.


Iterators are built into C# via foreach statements and IEnumerator. The iterator is the foreach statement, which requires the object it is iterating through to implement IEnumerator. The foreach statement calls GetEnumerator on the collection or class you specify. With the introduction of the yield keyword into C# this has been made even simpler.

namespace DesignPatterns
private static void IteratorTest()
IteratorExample example = new IteratorExample();
foreach (string item in example)
public class IteratorExample : IEnumerable
Dictionary<string, string> _dictionary;
public IteratorExample()
// Add 5 names to a key/value pair list.
_dictionary = new Dictionary<string, string>();
_dictionary.Add("Hans", "Pisces");
_dictionary.Add("Fred", "Aquarius");
_dictionary.Add("Andrew", "Gemini");
_dictionary.Add("Zach", "Scorpio");
_dictionary.Add("Berfa", "Cancer");
/// <summary>
/// Demonstrates yield with IEnumerable.
/// </summary>
public IEnumerator GetEnumerator()
// Sort by name
var sorted = from d in _dictionary orderby d.Key select d;
// Iterate through the sorted collection
foreach (KeyValuePair<string, string> item in sorted)
yield return item.Key;
yield return string.Format("({0})",item.Value);
view raw gistfile1.cs hosted with ❤ by GitHub

The output is:


I'm Chris Small, a software engineer working in London. This is my tech blog. Find out more about me via GithubStackoverflowResume