F# Sort List Examples: sortBy, LambdasSort a list with the List.sort function. Use sortBy with a fun to customize the sort order.
Sort. A list has numbers: 10, 5, 7. They are not sorted. With a function call we can reorder them in ascending or descending order.
For more advanced sorts, we can provide a function to sortBy. This selects a key that is then sorted. Collections like arrays can be sorted with Seq.
Here we introduce a string list containing the names of geometric shapes. We call List.sort with this list as the argument.
Result: The shapes are sorted in ascending order (as strings). A copy is sorted, so the original is untouched.String
F# program that uses List.sort
let shapes = ["triangle"; "square"; "ellipse"; "rectangle"]
// Use List.sort to sort the string list.
// ... A sorted copy is returned.
let result = List.sort shapes
// Print both lists.
printfn "Unsorted: %A" shapes
printfn " Sorted: %A" result
Unsorted: ["triangle"; "square"; "ellipse"; "rectangle"]
Sorted: ["ellipse"; "rectangle"; "square"; "triangle"]
This function is more advanced. It lets us select a key to sort for each element. The lambda we pass to sortBy must return a value—this is sorted.
Result: SortBy returns a copy of the List that is sorted. As with sort, the original is not changed.
F# program that uses List.sortBy, sorts strings by length
let values = ["aa"; "x"; "zzz"; "yy"; "eeee"]
// Sort the string list by length in ascending (low to high) order.
let result = List.sortBy (fun (x : string) -> x.Length) values
// Print our results.
List.iter(fun x -> printfn "%A" x) result
An array in F# is not the same as a list—an array is a low-level region of memory with elements. We must use special Array functions to sort.Array
Array.sort: This returns a copied array that is sorted. It does not modify (mutate) the original array's data.
Array.sortInPlace: This rearranges the elements in an existing array. No new memory region is allocated.
F# program that uses Array.sort, sortInPlace
let offsets = [|10; 2; -2; 4; 40|]
let copy = Array.sort offsets
printfn "Array = %A" offsets
printfn "Copy = %A" copy
printfn "After sortInPlace = %A" offsets
Array = [|10; 2; -2; 4; 40|]
Copy = [|-2; 2; 4; 10; 40|]
After sortInPlace = [|-2; 2; 4; 10; 40|]
We can sort collections with Seq.sort. With Seq.ofList, we treat a list as a sequence. Then we can use functions like where and sort in a pipeline.
Here: We use "where" to only keep elements containing a lowercase "A." Then we sort them alphabetically, and convert back to a list.
F# program that uses Seq.sort
let animals = ["cat"; "bird"; "zebra"; "leopard"; "shark"]
// Act on list as a sequence.
// ... Use where to filter our list.
// Use Seq.sort to sort the sequence.
// Use Seq.toList to convert back to a list.
let sortResult =
|> Seq.where (fun x-> x.Contains "a")
// Print all our results.
List.iter (fun (x : string) -> printfn "%A" x) sortResult
With this language, we have features that are well-suited to advanced sorting. We have lambdas and immutable collections (like lists). We invoke built-in sort methods.
© 2007-2020 Sam Allen. Every person is special and unique. Send bug reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.