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Martin Mazza Dawson February 2016

C# Using Null coalescing operator in foreach with select expression

foreach (var item in Model.PublishedSong.RelatedSongs.Select((value, i) => new { value, i }) ?? Enumerable.Empty <dynamic>())


Related Songs may or may not be null, is there any way to use null coalescing operator here? I still get the error message:

value cannot be null


Meirion Hughes February 2016

Like this?

[Edit: Removed simplification]

         .Select((x,i) => new {Value = x, Index = i));

It evaluates to a single Enumerable rather than two.

Avner Shahar-Kashtan February 2016

If RelatedSongs is null, calling Select on it will throw a NullReferenceException, because the null coalescing operator is evaluated only after the left-hand side is resolved. And since resolving the left hand side results in an exception, it won't do you any good.

If you're using C# 6.0, you can use the Null Propagation operator - ?. - to call Select only if RelatedSongs isn't null, and use the Null Coalescing operator otherwise:

// This will return null if Relatedsongs is null, or call Select otherwise.
foreach (var item in Model.PublishedSong.RelatedSongs?.Select((value, i) => new { value, i })  
                             ?? Enumerable.Empty <dynamic>())

If you're using C# 5 or earlier, you'll have to check for null manually:

foreach (var item in Model.PublishedSong.RelatedSongs != null 
                             ? Model.PublishedSong.RelatedSongs.Select((value, i) => new { value, i }) 
                             : Enumerable.Empty <dynamic>())

Jason Boyd February 2016

I think @juharr's comment is good - it may be more readable if you perform the null check before the loop. However, if you really want to use the null coalescing operator this will do the trick:

foreach (var item in (Model.PublishedSong.RelatedSongs ?? Enumerable.Empty<TypeOfRelatedSong>()).Select((value, i) => new { value, i }))


You have to perform the null check before attempting to iterate over RelatedSongs. In the example in your question you are doing it after attempting to iterate, hence the exception.

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Asked in February 2016
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