I’m working with a third party component (I will not name the guilty party) that has a method with the following signature and implementation (with no overrides):

public void doSomething(DataTable table)
   for(int i = 0; i < table.Rows.Count; i++)
      DataRow row = table.Rows[i];
      //Do Something with row...

What is the problem with this method?

In my opinion, it is an example of poor class design. Suppose the user of this class wanted to have the component process the rows of the DataTable in a particular order. How would one accomplish that?

If you take a look at the DataTable class members, you won’t find a Sort() method. The reason is that a DataTable cannot be sorted. The correct way to sort a table is through a DataView. The DataView is simply a view (appropriately enough) of the underlying data within a DataTable. You can have multiple views on a single DataTable and sort and filter all you want on the views, but the underlying data does not change. For example, a naive approach (and one that I took) was to apply a sort on the DefaultView of the DataTable. I tried this before I knew the method’s internal implementation. This approach failed due to the fact that the method completely ignores the view of the DataTable.

I would suggest that the method be changed to iterate over the DataTable’s default view. That’s what it is there for. However, the author may have decided to iterate over the DataTable for performance reasons. If so, a better design would have allowed for an override method that takes in a DataView and uses the view to iterate. Like so:

public void doSomething(DataView tableView) {    for(int i = 0; i < tableView.Count; i++)    {       DataRowView row = tableView[i];       //Now Do Something with row…    } } ```

This results in improved flexibilty for the user of the class. Thankfully, the author promised to include this in the next version of his component and send me a preview copy.