Up-to-date version: Countable and uncountable sets in .NET (IEnumerable and Predicate).

Here is my own predicate class; it is equipped with some operators. Demo:

using static BusinessObjects;
using static Console;

class Program
    static void Main(string[] args)
        WriteLine(Sell("John Doe", "test@example.com", 10000));
        WriteLine(Sell("John Doe", "test@example.com", 100000));
        WriteLine(Sell("John Doe", "test@example.com", 150000));

    static string Sell(string name, string email, int income)
        if (name == NullOrWhiteSpace || email != ValidEmail)
            throw new Exception("Bad, bad customer.");

        if (income == LowIncome)
            return "Sell car.";

        var middleIncome = !LowIncome && !HighIncome; // magic!!!
        if (income == middleIncome)
            return "Sell home.";

        return "Sell big.";

Where business definitions are (verbose, verbose C#):

static class BusinessObjects
    public static readonly Condition<string> NullOrEmpty = 
        new Condition<string>(string.IsNullOrEmpty);
    public static readonly Condition<string> NullOrWhiteSpace = 
        new Condition<string>(string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace);

    public static readonly Condition<string> ValidEmail = 
        new Condition<string>(new EmailAddressAttribute().IsValid);

    public static readonly Condition<int> LowIncome = 
        new Condition<int>(i => i < 30000);
    public static readonly Condition<int> HighIncome = 
        new Condition<int>(i => i > 140000);

Library class:

public class Condition<T>
    public Condition(Predicate<T> predicate)
        Predicate = predicate;

    Predicate<T> Predicate { get; }

    public static bool operator ==(Condition<T> left, T right) =>

    public static bool operator ==(T left, Condition<T> right) =>

    public static bool operator !=(Condition<T> left, T right) =>

    public static bool operator !=(T left, Condition<T> right) =>

    public static bool operator true(Condition<T> x) => false;            

    public static bool operator false(Condition<T> x) => false;

    public static Condition<T> operator |(Condition<T> left, Condition<T> right) =>
        new Condition<T>(v => left.Equals(v) || right.Equals(v));

    public static Condition<T> operator &(Condition<T> left, Condition<T> right) =>
        new Condition<T>(v => left.Equals(v) && right.Equals(v));

    public static Condition<T> operator !(Condition<T> eq) =>
        new Condition<T>(v => !eq.Equals(v));

    public override bool Equals(object obj) =>
        obj is T && Predicate((T)obj);

    public override int GetHashCode()
        throw new NotSupportedException();

What do you think? Does this business definitions looks readable and easily reusable?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Abusing the equality operator in this way is quite objectionable. I'd go with extension methods. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2016 at 5:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ A little bit of "predicate calculus" - it so easy to combine them now, like that mediumIncome. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2016 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


Honestly I don't see the advantage of Condition<T> class over a simpler Predicate<T> delegate (eventually with few extension methods to make combinations easier).

Few issues that makes me perplex (at best):

  • You're abusing Equals() to check something that is not equality. This is especially bad because it's absolutely unclear unless users read your Condition<T> implementation.
  • Equality must be commutative and transitive and your actual implementation is not (if "adriano@example.com" == ValidEmail && "dmitry@example.com" == ValidEmail however "adriano@example.com" != "dmitry@example.com").
  • You're throwing NotSupportedException for GetHashCode() however it's used by many .NET Framework classes, what if your users will keep your conditions inside an HashSet?

In short you're adding a class Condition<T> to introduce few handy methods (which will be probably never called in real-world) but with a semantic that will confuse everyone will read your code. Think if button to flush toilet was labeled "mirror light". Confusing, right?

Let's go to your test code, is this:

if (name == NullOrWhiteSpace || email != ValidEmail)
    throw new Exception("Bad, bad customer.");

More clear or shorter than this (using C# 6 using static syntax):

if (IsNullOrWhiteSpace(name) || !IsValidEMail(email))
    throw new ArgumentException("...");

I don't think so and it integrates smoothly into existing code. First principle: don't make your users astonished! You still need some syntactic sugar for combinations:

public static class PredicateExtensions {
    public static Predicate<T> Not(this Predicate<T> rhs) {
        return x => !rhs(x);

    public static Predicate<T> And(this Predicate<T> lhs, Predicate<T> rhs) {
        return x => lhs(x) && rhs(x);

    public static Predicate<T> Nand(this Predicate<T> lhs, Predicate<T> rhs) {
        return x => !lhs(x) && !rhs(x);

Used like this:

var middleIncome = HighIncome.Nand(LowIncome); // No magic!

Of course you can drop extension methods if you prefer a plainer syntax:

var middleIncome = Nand(HighIncomem, LowIncome); // Even less magic!

In general what I feel to suggest is to don't try to abuse C# syntax to make your business logic shorter. First of all because shorter code isn't necessarily better (whichever meaning you give to better), if you need a simple (or closer to domain) syntax then create a Domain Specific Language to describe your business logic at high level.

I do not mean that you may not need a Condition<T> class at all. If you're modeling your domain specific constraints in C# it can be pretty handy to have a specific class instead of a generic delegate Predicate<T> but I wouldn't override the comparison operators, in no way a == b can be a ⊢ b.

A possible implementation should also introduce a base non-generic Condition class to allow combinations - if providing required parameters - for conditions with different Ts (this is helpful only if your Condition class also holds its own data.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – janos
    Jun 14, 2016 at 9:27

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