Paging with LINQ – performance
Facing a scenario where I needed to select EPiServerProfile objects based on different criteria and displaying a paged view based on these objects I thought I should use LINQ. Neat syntax and readable code, but what about the performance? There are probably thousands of posts like this out there already, but here is mine :)
I designed a test to compare the performance of LINQ to a simple looping scenario. Based on a simple collection more advanced objects should be created, their properties inspected for matching criteria, and then a certain page of a certain size of the results should be selected. This should correspond to my scenario having the list of all usernames, load their corresponding EPiServerProfile and selecting objects based on properties of the profile.
This is the LINQ I use to select my objects:
The items object is a List<bool> whose objects are used to construct the more complex Dummy instances I want. The boolean values are stored in the Dummy objects Good property and used to determine if the object should be selected. The delay variable is used to control how “heavy” the object should be to construct in the test (simulating operations performed by the object, including database requests etc.).
The for loop
To manually gather the same results I use the following method:
Trying to get as good results as possible the two methods are compared with different collection sizes, object construction times (the delay variable above), scarcity of the objects to be selected (randomly distributed in the collection) and page sizes. Each set of variables is run a number of loops where random pages in the probable span (1000 “valid” objects with page size 100 should give pages 1 to 10) were requested. The number of loops was set to match the number of pages, with some exceptions (I didn’t have the patience to wait for too many loops).
The table below contains the test results
|Collection size||Loops||Delay (ticks)||Scarcity||Page size||Total pages||LINQ (ms)||For loop (ms)||Ratio|
It seems that the for loop is always faster (not surprisingly), but how much faster differs widely. The for loop’s greatest advantage is when the parameters are set so that the whole collection has to be looped, which seems fair. When the objects requested are less scarce compared to the collection and page size however, the LINQ closes in. And added heavy construction time for the objects they’re practically equal (because less time is spent looping, more constructing objects).
In my scenario I’m looking to select from user profiles (probably more like ten thousand than a million) which are relatively heavy to construct (will probably include database calls at least the first time). Matches will be relatively common and page sizes will be between ten and a hundred. In this scenario I can afford the performance overhead of LINQ.