Overriding GetHashCode in a mutable struct - What NOT to do?

Posted by Kyle Baran on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by Kyle Baran
Published on 2014-05-13T03:06:43Z Indexed on 2014/06/03 21:39 UTC
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I am using the XNA Framework to make a learning project. It has a Point struct which exposes an X and Y value; for the purpose of optimization, it breaks the rules for proper struct design, since its a mutable struct.

As Marc Gravell, John Skeet, and Eric Lippert point out in their respective posts about GetHashCode() (which Point overrides), this is a rather bad thing, since if an object's values change while its contained in a hashmap (ie, LINQ queries), it can become "lost".

However, I am making my own Point3D struct, following the design of Point as a guideline. Thus, it too is a mutable struct which overrides GetHashCode(). The only difference is that mine exposes and int for X, Y, and Z values, but is fundamentally the same. The signatures are below:

public struct Point3D : IEquatable<Point3D>
{
    public int X;
    public int Y;
    public int Z;

    public static bool operator !=(Point3D a, Point3D b) { }
    public static bool operator ==(Point3D a, Point3D b) { }

    public Point3D Zero { get; }

    public override int GetHashCode() { }
    public override bool Equals(object obj) { }
    public bool Equals(Point3D other) { }
    public override string ToString() { }
}

I have tried to break my struct in the way they describe, namely by storing it in a List<Point3D>, as well as changing the value via a method using ref, but I did not encounter they behavior they warn about (maybe a pointer might allow me to break it?).

Am I being too cautious in my approach, or should I be okay to use it as is?

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