Json : Fetch all keys using Linq

Given a Json, how do we get all the keys in it ? Just the keys. For example, Consider the Json below.

Person:['Jia Anu', 'Anu Viswan','Sreena Anu'],
Name: 'Jia Anu',
Name: 'Anu Viswan',
Name: 'Sreena Anu',
Address : 'Address here',
State : 'Kerala',
Country : 'India'

Given the above Json, you would like to get all the keys. You might be later interested to show this as a Menu or Dropdown, that’s down to the requirements. But, how do we get the keys in first place ? May be a Linq One liner would be great ?


Of course, you do have the option to loop through the JTokens, but the easiest way out would be using Linq.

var data = JObject.Parse(jsonString);
var result = data.Descendants()

The Regex involed is to ensure the arrays indices are removed and keys in arrays aren’t duplicated. The output of above Linq would give you collection of all keys in the Json as expected.

Enumerable.Empty vs new T[0]

The need for creating an Empty array/collection rises quite often in most applications. This, normally presents us with two options.

  • Using the Constructor, new T[0];
  • Using the extension method, Enumerable.Empty

Let’s dive a bit deeper into both and examine how both these options work and differ.

Using new T[0]

Creating an empty array with Array Construction syntax is as follows.

var collection = new T[0];

What exactly happens behind the scenes. Let’s examine the following code.

var collection1 = new string[0];
var collection2 = new string[0];

Output of above code would be


The reason for this is self-explanatory. Each call to ‘new T[0]’ create a new Empty array in the memory. Both these, are as noticable, separate instances. What happens with Enumerable.Empty then ? Let’s examine that next.

Using Enumerable.Empty

Consider the complimentary code using Enumerable.Empty approach.

var collection1 = Enumerable.Empty<string>();
var collection2 = Enumerable.Empty<string>();
var result = object.ReferenceEquals(collection1,collection2);

What would be output of code in above scenario ? As you might have guessed, the output would be true.



Enumerable.Empty caches the result for calls and reuses it later on. As MSDN states it

The Empty<TResult>() method caches an empty sequence of type TResult. When the object it returns is enumerated, it yields no elements.

This can be further verified by checking out the source code of Enumerable.Empty.

public static IEnumerable<TResult> Empty<TResult>()
return EmptyEnumerable<TResult>.Instance;
internal class EmptyEnumerable<TElement>
public static readonly TElement[] Instance = new TElement[0];

This difference might be of less significance in applications where memory constraints aren’t too critical, but when your applications requires to ensure memory allocations are used well, then Enumerable.Empty is your friend. Personally, I felt Enumerable.Empty should be the “go to” under all circumstances for not only for the reasons described above, but it also is more verbose in declaration and increases code readability manifold.

Evil Code #008: Property Instance

It has been long since I blogged on Evil Code series. Time to check one again now. Consider two samples of code.

Sample 1

public class AnotherClass
public MyClass ClassInstance{get;set;}

public class TestClass1
public AnotherClass AnotherClass{get;set;}
public int Id
get=> AnotherClass.ClassInstance.Id;
set=> AnotherClass.ClassInstance.Id=value;

public class MyClass
public int Id{get;set;}

Sample 2

public class AnotherClass
public MyStruct StructInstance{get;set;}

public class TestClass2
public AnotherClass AnotherClass{get;set;}
public int Id
get=> AnotherClass.StructInstance.Id;
set=> AnotherClass.StructInstance.Id=value;
public struct MyStruct
public int Id{get;set;}

How differently would two of the code samples given below behave ?

Well, Sample 1 compiles and Sample 2 doesn’t. Why ?? Sample 2, in fact raises following error.

Cannot modify the return value of 'AnotherClass.StructInstance' because it is not a variable

Could you reason why ?

If you look into the two Sample codes, there is a significant difference. MyStruct, used by Sample 2 is a value type. This means that when you are are in fact accessing a copy of StructInstance and not the valeu itself ( as you would have had it been a class – reference type).
Any change made in the property is made on the Copy instance, and then disregarded, leaving the original value unchanged.

This is the reason compiler warns you against.

Exploring Randomize.Net

Randomize.Net provides an easy and lightweight extensions for System.Random for creating random instances of any given Type T, with generated random value. This can be highly useful for generating POCO’s to test your sample code, including LINQ queries against. The API has been designed to make it extremely simple and devoid of any complex syntax.

Generating Random Instances

For Example,

// Primitive Types
var _random = new Random();_
var randomString = _random.GenerateInstance<string>();
var randomInt32 = _random.GenerateInstance<Int32>();

// Output
// randomString = OfuQ42CoIe
// randomInt32 = 239016499

Randomize.Net works with User Defined Types as well, including nested User Defined Types.

public class SampleClass
public string StringProperty{get;set;}
public int Int32Property {get;set;}
public char CharProperty {get;set;}

public class AnotherSampleClass
public SampleClass SampleClassProperty{get;set;}
public string StringProperty{get;set;}

var sampleClass = _random.GenerateInstance<SampleClass>();
var anotherSampleClass = _random.GenerateInstance<AnotherSampleClass>();

/* Output
* sampleClass.StringProperty = ORCPiyNoy5
* sampleClass.Int32Property = -1461704929
* sampleClass.CharProperty = q
* anotherSampleClass.StringProperty = D5wfOfQhAK
* anotherSampleClass.SampleClassProperty.StringProperty = DC7ArGwDj5
* anotherSampleClass.SampleClassProperty.Int32Property = -1311605510
* anotherSampleClass.SampleClassProperty.CharProperty = y

Randomize.Net also supports generation of Collections.

// Method Signature
public static IEnumerable<T> GenerateCollection<T>(this Random source,int count = 1)

var sampleClassCollection = _random.GenerateCollection<SampleClass>(5);

// sampleClassCollection.Count = 5

Further examples on Randomize.Net would follow soon. If you are interested in looking at the code you can access it my Github.

Mock RestClient.ExecuteAsync

RestSharp is not a stranger to developers, so is the usage. What this posts aims to explore is how to do Unit Test a method, involving a RestClient.ExecuteAsync call. To be more precise, the post explores how to mock the RestClient for the method.

Let’s consider the following code, taken from VSPostman, one of the side projects I am working on.

public async Task Get(string url)
if (string.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(url) || _parameterDictionary.Values.Contains(null)) throw new ArgumentNullException();

_restClient.BaseUrl = new Uri(url); // _restClient is an instance of RestClient
_restRequest.Method = Method.GET;
var _returnValue = new ResponseObject();
_restRequest.Parameters.AddRange(_parameterDictionary?.Select(x => new Parameter() {Name = x.Key, Value = x.Value }));
var tcs = new TaskCompletionSource();
var watch = Stopwatch.StartNew();
_restClient.ExecuteAsync(_restRequest, response =>
_returnValue.ContendType = response.ContentType;
_returnValue.ResponseString = response.Content;
_returnValue.StatusCode = response.StatusCode;
_returnValue.StatusDescription = response.StatusDescription;
_returnValue.ResponseTime = watch.Elapsed;
_returnValue.Length = response.ContentLength;
if (response.Headers != null)
_returnValue.Headers = response.Headers.ToDictionary(x => x.Name, y => y.Value as string);

return await tcs.Task;

As observed, the code raises a GET Request using the ReshSharp library. If I was using TDD and writing a Unit Test case for this method, how would I approach it ? How would I mock the RestSharp library calls ?

Of course, it is easy to understand that we need to create the mock object of IRestClient. But how do we create a response ? For this we attach a call back.

var expected = "response content";
var expectedBytes = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(expected);
Mock restClient = new Mock();
restClient.Setup(x => x.ExecuteAsync(
It.IsAny<Action<IRestResponse, RestRequestAsyncHandle>>()))
.Callback<IRestRequest, Action<IRestResponse, RestRequestAsyncHandle>>((request, callback) =>
callback(new RestResponse { Content= expected }, null);
// act
var clientService = new ClientServiceUsingRestSharp(restClient.Object);
var actualResponse = await clientService.Get($"http://www.google.com");

That would be all you need. The callback would ensure you get the response from the mock object.

Linq Join on Like%

One of the recent requirements I came across recently needed what looks like a Join on a ‘Like%’. Let me cite an example to demonstrate the requirement.
Consider the Collections below.

Master Collection

ID Name
1 Jia Anu
2 Sreena Anu
3 Anu Viswan

Child Collection

ID First Name Age
1 Jia 2
3 Sreena 34
5 Anu 35

I would like to Join on Master.Name and Child.FirstName where Child.FirstName StartsWith Master.Name. The expected output is as follows.

Name FirstName Age
Jia Anu Jia 2
Sreena Anu Sreena 34
Anu Viswan Anu 35

Let’s begin by defining the input collections.

var master = new List<Master>
new Master{Id=1,Name="Jia Anu"},
new Master{Id=2,Name="Sreena Anu"},
new Master{Id=3,Name="Anu Viswan"}

var child = new List<Child>
new Child{Id=1,FirstName="Jia",Age=2},
new Child{Id=2,FirstName="Sreena",Age=34},
new Child{Id=3,FirstName="Anu",Age=35}

Where Master and Child is defined as

public class Master
public int Id {get;set;}
public string Name {get;set;}

public class Child
public int Id{get;set;}
public string FirstName {get;set;}
public int Age {get;set;}

The default Join uses Equality as Comparer, and is not useful for us in this scenario. The solution lies in a little known overload of Group, which allows to provide our own customer Comparer. Let’s define our Custom Comparer.

class StartsWithEqualityComparer: IEqualityComparer<string>
public bool Equals(string right, string left)
return left.StartsWith(right);
public int GetHashCode(string obj) { return 0; }

Now, we can use our StartsWithEqualityComparer.

var result = master.Join(child,
(m,c)=> new
Name = m.Name,FirstName = c.FirstName,Age = c.Age
},new StartsWithEqualityComparer());

That’s it, we have our GroupBy with Like%.

Caliburn.Micro #008: Gesture Recognition using Short-Hand Syntax

In this part of Caliburn.Micro tutorials we would explore how to configure and use Gesture Recognition with Caliburn.Micro, particularly exploiting the Short-Hand syntax for Actions. Caliburn.Micro doesn’t support this out of the box, so obviously we need to work around the Actions to provide support for Gestures. Let’s first formulate the syntax of how we would like to add a Gesture and its binding in XAML and then find our way to it.

We would ideally like to use a syntax, that is close to Action Syntax for triggering events.

[Event Click]=[Action Method1] // Normal Events
[Key F12]=[Action Method1] // Ideal Gesture Syntax.

The first step required would be to write a Trigger that would catch the KeyPress event. The trigger should provide ability to pass the expected “Key” and invoke the binded action when the expected “Key” is pressed. Let’s go ahead and write the required Custom Trigger.

public class KeyTrigger : TriggerBase<UIElement>
public static readonly DependencyProperty KeyProperty =
DependencyProperty.Register("Key", typeof(Key), typeof(KeyTrigger), null);

public Key Key
get => (Key)GetValue(KeyProperty);
set => SetValue(KeyProperty, value);

protected override void OnAttached()
AssociatedObject.KeyDown += OnAssociatedObjectKeyDown;

protected override void OnDetaching()
AssociatedObject.KeyDown -= OnAssociatedObjectKeyDown;

private void OnAssociatedObjectKeyDown(object sender, KeyEventArgs e)
if (e.Key == Key)

The KeyTrigger is quite self-explainatory. It declares Dependency Property called “Key” of System.Windows.Input.Key, and verifies if the Key Pressed is actually the one registered in KeyDown Event of AssociatedObject. If the Key matches the registered Key, it invokes the associated Action.

The Step is to Write our Custom Action Format, that would be recognized by the Caliburn.Micro Parser, and calls from Trigger(and there by Action). In order to achieve this, we re-define Parser.CreateTrigger method, which is responsible to generate the trigger. We do this in our Bootstrapper, overriding Configure Method.

// In Bootstrapper

protected override void Configure()
var defaultCreateTrigger = Parser.CreateTrigger;

Parser.CreateTrigger = (target, triggerText) =>
if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(triggerText)) return defaultCreateTrigger(target, null);

var regex = new Regex($@"^\[(?<{X_ACTION}>[a-zA-Z]+)\s(?<{X_SHORTCUT}>[a-zA-Z0-9]+)\]$");
var matches = regex.Match(triggerText.Trim());

switch (matches.Groups[X_ACTION].Value.ToUpper())
case X_KEY:
return new KeyTrigger
Key = (Key)Enum.Parse(typeof(Key), matches.Groups[X_SHORTCUT].Value, true),
return defaultCreateTrigger(target, triggerText); ;

As observed, we check if the triggerText contains our special keywords, and if so, create our Custom trigger, namely KeyTrigger. In all other case, it returns the default trigger.

That’s all we require to configure our Gesture Recognition. We can now move on to our View and define the Gesture using our custom Action syntax.

cal:Message.Attach="[Key Enter] = [Action Increment]"

You can access the complete code sample, demonstrated in this post in my Github.

Btw, Merry Christmas !!!