.Net Tips – Use LINQ to avoid nested loops

Admit it, we’ve all done it before, writing those nasty nested loops just so we can iterate through multiple lists to get some combination/permutation of the lists, e.g.:

   1: for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++)

   2: {

   3:     for (int j = 0; j < 10; j++)

   4:     {

   5:         for (int k = 0; k < 10; k++)

   6:         {

   7:             // do something

   8:         }

   9:     }

  10: }

This code obviously works and well understood amongst developers, but it’s not very readable and trying to terminate the outer loops from the inner loops is a pain and requires you to use one or more boolean flags which you need to track on every iteration at potentially every level of your loop…

A better way to solve this common problem is to use LINQ to ‘flatten’ the nested loops into a single loop:

   1: var triplets = from I in Enumerable.Range(0, 10)

   2:                from J in Enumerable.Range(0, 10)

   3:                from K in Enumerable.Range(0, 10)

   4:                select new { I, J, K };

   5:

   6: foreach (var triplet in triplets)

   7: {

   8:     // do something

   9: }

Sweet, right? :-)

Enjoy what you’re reading? Subscribe to my newsletter and get more content on AWS and serverless technologies delivered straight to your inbox.


Yan Cui

I’m an AWS Serverless Hero and the author of Production-Ready Serverless. I have run production workload at scale in AWS for nearly 10 years and I have been an architect or principal engineer with a variety of industries ranging from banking, e-commerce, sports streaming to mobile gaming. I currently work as an independent consultant focused on AWS and serverless.

You can contact me via Email, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hire me.


Check out my new course, Complete Guide to AWS Step Functions.

In this course, we’ll cover everything you need to know to use AWS Step Functions service effectively. Including basic concepts, HTTP and event triggers, activities, design patterns and best practices.

Get Your Copy