Func to bool for use in expression trees

c# c#-4.0 expression-trees

Question

I've got an overly complicated binary expression tree building system It takes in a string and a pair of objects (Player and World)

Each node on the tree represents an external function that takes a string, player and world, and either returns a bool (for tests) a string (for output) or void (for actions)

My problem is threefold: Firstly I need to use something like Expression.Condition or Expression.IfThenElse where the test Expression is of the form Expression<func<string, Player, World, bool>> rather than Expresson<bool> (as Expression.And would output)

Secondly I need to be sure that the memory reference for Player and World stay the same throughout - so that if one of the nodes in the tree updates something within Player, then it'll still be updated at the next node.

Finally I need to append all the strings, one to another.

If I could hard code the tree, it might end up looking something like this:

    class Main
    {
        string Foo(string text, World world, Player player)
        {
            string output;
            output += SomeClass.PrintStarting();
            if (SomeClass.Exists(text, world, player))
            {
                output += SomeClass.PrintName(text, world, player);
                SomeClass.KillPlayer(text, world, player);
                if (SomeClass.Exists(text, world, player))
                    output += SomeClass.PrintSurvived(text, world, player);
            }
            else
                output += SomeClass.PrintNotExists(text, world, player);
            return output;
        }
    }
    public class SomeClass
    {
        string PrintStart(string text, World world, Player player)
        {
            return "Starting.\n";
        }

        bool Exists(string text, World world, Player player)
        {
            player.Lives;
        }

        string PrintName(string text, World world, Player player)
        {
            return player.Name + ".\n";
        }

        string PrintSurvived(string text, World world, Player player)
        {
            return player.Name + "died.\n";
        }

        string PrintNotExists(string text, World world, Player player)
        {
            return "This person does not exist.\n";
        }

        void KillPlayer(string text, World world, Player player)
        {
            if (text != "kidding")
                player.Lives = false;
        }
    }

To further elaborate: I have an instance of SomeClass with all of its test/assign/string methods. I then go and create a list of Expression<func<string[], World, Player, bool>>, Expression<Action<string[], World, Player>> and Expression<func<string[], World, Player, string>> and start throwing them together into an expression tree. The actual ordering of what goes where I've dealt with leaving me with (for example):

    public string Foo2(string text, World world, Player player)
    {
        ParameterExpression result = Expression.Parameter(typeof(string), "result");
        ParameterExpression inputString = Expression.Parameter(typeof(string[]), "inputString");
        ParameterExpression inputWorld = Expression.Parameter(typeof(World), "inputWorld");
        ParameterExpression inputPlayer = Expression.Parameter(typeof(Player), "inputPlayer");
        System.Reflection.MethodInfo methodInfo = typeof(string).GetMethod("Concat", new Type[] { typeof(string), typeof(string) });

        Expression textPrintStarting = (Expression<Func<string, World, Player, string>>)((Text, World, Player) => SomeClass.PrintStarting(Text, World, Player));
        Expression testExists = (Expression<Func<string, World, Player, bool>>)((Text, World, Player) => SomeClass.Exists(Text, World, Player));
        Expression textPrintName = (Expression<Func<string, World, Player, string>>)((Text, World, Player) => SomeClass.PrintName(Text, World, Player));
        Expression killPlayer = (Expression<Action<string, World, Player>>)((Text, World, Player) => SomeClass.KillPlayer(Text, World, Player));
        Expression textPrintSurvived = (Expression<Func<string, World, Player, string>>)((Text, World, Player) => SomeClass.PrintSurvived(Text, World, Player));
        Expression textPrintNotExist = (Expression<Func<string, World, Player, string>>)((Text, World, Player) => SomeClass.PrintNotExists(Text, World, Player));


        Expression innerTest =
            Expression.Condition(
                Expression.Invoke(Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, bool>>(testExists, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer)),
                Expression.Assign(result, Expression.Call(methodInfo, result, Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(textPrintSurvived, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer))),
                Expression.Empty());

        Expression success = 
            Expression.Block(
                Expression.Assign(result, Expression.Call(methodInfo, result, Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(textPrintName, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer))),
                Expression.Lambda<Action<string, World, Player>>(killPlayer, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer),
                innerTest);

        Expression failure =
            Expression.Assign(result, Expression.Call(methodInfo, result, Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(textPrintNotExist, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer)));

        Expression outerTest = 
            Expression.Condition(
                Expression.Invoke(Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, bool>>(testExists, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer)),
                success,
                failure);

        Expression finalExpression =
            Expression.Block(
                Expression.Assign(result, Expression.Call(methodInfo, result, Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(textPrintStarting, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer))),
                outerTest);

        return Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(
                Expression.Block(new[] { result }, 
                finalExpression)).Compile()(text, world, player);
    }

The issue is with the Condition statements which throw a error because it cannot convert from Func to bool. I'm also unsure whether or not the parameters are getting passed in (as I've not been able to debug through)

Accepted Answer

After much dabbling with MethodInfo, I discovered that when I was writing:

Expression innerTest =
    Expression.Condition(
        Expression.Invoke(Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, bool>>(testExists, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer)),
        Expression.Assign(result, Expression.Call(methodInfo, result, Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(textPrintSurvived, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer))),
        Expression.Empty());

the Expression.Lambda was adding a layer of complexity to my code by turning Func<string, World, Player, string> into Func<string, World, Player, Func<string, World, Player, string>>

The Expression.Invoke stripped away this added layer which at first confused me. With this startling revelation I updated this to:

 Expression innerTest =
        Expression.IfThen(
            Expression.Invoke(testExists, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer),
            Expression.Assign(result, Expression.Call(methodInfo, result, Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(textPrintSurvived, inputString, inputWorld, inputPlayer))));

Popular Answer

I took a shot at expressing that code as an expression. This is what I came up with. I don't know if it works as intended for all cases but it compiles and seems to work in my tests.

// reference method
static string Foo(string text, World world, Player player)
{
    string output = SomeClass.PrintStarting();
    if (SomeClass.Exists(text, world, player))
    {
        output += SomeClass.PrintName(text, world, player);
        SomeClass.KillPlayer(text, world, player);
        if (SomeClass.Exists(text, world, player))
            output += SomeClass.PrintSurvived(text, world, player);
    }
    else
        output += SomeClass.PrintNotExists(text, world, player);
    return output;
}
// helper method
static Expression AddAssignStrings(ParameterExpression left, Expression right)
{
    var stringType = typeof(string);
    var concatMethod = stringType.GetMethod("Concat", new[] { stringType, stringType });
    return Expression.Assign(
        left,
        Expression.Call(concatMethod, left, right)
    );
}

var text = Expression.Parameter(typeof(string), "text");
var world = Expression.Parameter(typeof(World), "world");
var player = Expression.Parameter(typeof(Player), "player");
var output = Expression.Variable(typeof(string), "output");

// looks safe to reuse this array for the expressions
var arguments = new ParameterExpression[] { text, world, player };

var someClassType = typeof(SomeClass);
// assuming the methods are all publicly accessible
var printStartingMethod = someClassType.GetMethod("PrintStarting");
var existsMethod = someClassType.GetMethod("Exists");
var printNameMethod = someClassType.GetMethod("PrintName");
var killPlayerMethod = someClassType.GetMethod("KillPlayer");
var printSurvivedMethod = someClassType.GetMethod("PrintSurvived");
var printNotExistsMethod = someClassType.GetMethod("PrintNotExists");

var ifTrueBlockContents = new Expression[]
{
    AddAssignStrings(output, Expression.Call(printNameMethod, arguments)),

    Expression.Call(killPlayerMethod, arguments),

    Expression.IfThen(
        Expression.Call(existsMethod, arguments),
        AddAssignStrings(output, Expression.Call(printSurvivedMethod, arguments))
    ),
};

var blockContents = new Expression[]
{
    Expression.Assign(output, Expression.Call(printStartingMethod)),

    Expression.IfThenElse(
        Expression.Call(existsMethod, arguments),
        Expression.Block(ifTrueBlockContents),
        AddAssignStrings(output, Expression.Call(printNotExistsMethod, arguments))
    ),

    output,
};

var body = Expression.Block(typeof(string), new ParameterExpression[] { output }, blockContents);

var lambda = Expression.Lambda<Func<string, World, Player, string>>(body, arguments);

Here's the debug view of the expression:

.Lambda #Lambda1<System.Func`4[System.String,Test.World,Test.Player,System.String]>(
    System.String $text,
    Test.World $world,
    Test.Player $player) {
    .Block(System.String $output) {
        $output = .Call Test.SomeClass.PrintStarting();
        .If (
            .Call Test.SomeClass.Exists(
                $text,
                $world,
                $player)
        ) {
            .Block() {
                $output = .Call System.String.Concat(
                    $output,
                    .Call Test.SomeClass.PrintName(
                        $text,
                        $world,
                        $player));
                .Call Test.SomeClass.KillPlayer(
                    $text,
                    $world,
                    $player);
                .If (
                    .Call Test.SomeClass.Exists(
                        $text,
                        $world,
                        $player)
                ) {
                    $output = .Call System.String.Concat(
                        $output,
                        .Call Test.SomeClass.PrintSurvived(
                            $text,
                            $world,
                            $player))
                } .Else {
                    .Default(System.Void)
                }
            }
        } .Else {
            $output = .Call System.String.Concat(
                $output,
                .Call Test.SomeClass.PrintNotExists(
                    $text,
                    $world,
                    $player))
        };
        $output
    }
}


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Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with Stack Overflow
Is this KB legal? Yes, learn why