Sorting a vector of custom objects


Question

How does one go about sorting a vector containing custom (i.e. user defined) objects.
Probably, standard STL algorithm sort along with a predicate (a function or a function object) which would operate on one of the fields (as a key for sorting) in the custom object should be used.
Am I on the right track?

1
228
9/4/2009 5:05:37 PM

Accepted Answer

A simple example using std::sort

struct MyStruct
{
    int key;
    std::string stringValue;

    MyStruct(int k, const std::string& s) : key(k), stringValue(s) {}
};

struct less_than_key
{
    inline bool operator() (const MyStruct& struct1, const MyStruct& struct2)
    {
        return (struct1.key < struct2.key);
    }
};

std::vector < MyStruct > vec;

vec.push_back(MyStruct(4, "test"));
vec.push_back(MyStruct(3, "a"));
vec.push_back(MyStruct(2, "is"));
vec.push_back(MyStruct(1, "this"));

std::sort(vec.begin(), vec.end(), less_than_key());

Edit: As Kirill V. Lyadvinsky pointed out, instead of supplying a sort predicate, you can implement the operator< for MyStruct:

struct MyStruct
{
    int key;
    std::string stringValue;

    MyStruct(int k, const std::string& s) : key(k), stringValue(s) {}

    bool operator < (const MyStruct& str) const
    {
        return (key < str.key);
    }
};

Using this method means you can simply sort the vector as follows:

std::sort(vec.begin(), vec.end());

Edit2: As Kappa suggests you can also sort the vector in the descending order by overloading a > operator and changing call of sort a bit:

struct MyStruct
{
    int key;
    std::string stringValue;

    MyStruct(int k, const std::string& s) : key(k), stringValue(s) {}

    bool operator > (const MyStruct& str) const
    {
        return (key > str.key);
    }
};

And you should call sort as:

std::sort(vec.begin(), vec.end(),greater<MyStruct>());
335
3/26/2018 3:30:55 PM

In the interest of coverage. I put forward an implementation using lambda expressions.

C++11

#include <vector>
#include <algorithm>

using namespace std;

vector< MyStruct > values;

sort( values.begin( ), values.end( ), [ ]( const MyStruct& lhs, const MyStruct& rhs )
{
   return lhs.key < rhs.key;
});

C++14

#include <vector>
#include <algorithm>

using namespace std;

vector< MyStruct > values;

sort( values.begin( ), values.end( ), [ ]( const auto& lhs, const auto& rhs )
{
   return lhs.key < rhs.key;
});

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