The innocuous code that tripped me

time to read 1 min | 155 words

When building a cache, I need a way to generate a hash code from a query. A query is a complex object that has many properties. My first attempt to do so looked like this:

And it failed, disastrously. All queries always had the same hash code, and I couldn’t figure out why until I actually debugged through the code.

Here is a hint, this only happened if WaitForNonStaleResultsTimeout is null. It might be better to also look at the way the compiler looks at this:

Basically, if WaitForNonStaleResultsTimeout is null, the entire expression evaluated to null, so we return zero, losing all the previous hash values that we put in.

The solution was to parenthesis the expression, but this is something that passed a couple rounds of scrutiny and didn’t show up at all, because it looked fine, and I don’t keep the precedence rules for operators in C# in my head.