LINQ interview questions

LINQ interview questions

LINQ is the acronym for Language Integrated Query. It is a collection of standard query operators that adds native data querying facilities to .NET framework Languages like C#, VB.NET. LINQ is used as a medium to fulfill the gap between the world of objects and the world of data. In other words, LINQ is a programming model which is composed of general purpose standard query operators. This allows you to work with data irrespective of the data source.

LINQ was designed by Anders Hejlsberg and was introduces in Visual Studio in 2008. LINQ queries can be written for numerous data types, and you can write queries without having the knowledge of query languages like SQL, XML, etc. There has been a huge scope in the field of LINQ, and more and more people are applying for LINQ related jobs. If you’re too planning to sit for a LINQ interview, then jump straight into the questions given below and crack the LINQ interview nuts like an expert.

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LINQ interview questions

Expression lambdas are generally used for constructing expression trees. Statement lambdas cannot be used to create expression trees.
The main motive to use LINQ in a dataset is to retrieve strongly typed queries in a dataset. LINQ is used when we want to combine values from two different datasets, or we want a unique value from the dataset. You can use SQL queries to populate the dataset, but you cannot use SQL queries to retrieve values. If you want to retrieve particular values, you have to use ADO.NET functionalities. In the case of LINQ, it gives a clearer way of querying the dataset. LINQ also provides additional features as compared with ADO.NET.
“IEnumerable” and “ToDictionary” conversion operators are used to solve the conversion type problems. “ToDictionary” conversion operator is a part of Dictionary (k, T). The “keySelector” is used to recognize the key of each item, and “elementSelector” is used to extract each item. “IEnumerable” simply returns the source sequence as an object of IEnumerable <T>.
The LINQ query can be executed in following way:
  • First, you have to obtain the data source. This can be an XML file or an SQL database.
  • Then, you need to create a query
  • Once you’ve created the query, it’s time to execute the query.
If you want to use LINQ in an ASP.NET webpage, then LinqDataSource control is a thing for you. It sets the properties in the markup text, and you can use the control retrieve and modify data. LinqDataSource control can be used to declaratively bind other ASP.NET controls on a page to a data source, and as such it is similar to SQL Datasource and ObjectDataSource controls. However, there lies a difference in the sense that instead of binding directly to a database, LinqDataSource control binds LINQ enabled data model.
Lambda expressions are widely used in Expression tree which gives away code in a data structure which resembles a tree. Every node in the tree is itself an expression like a method call or binary operation. Statement lambdas which are two or three statements don’t help in the construction of expression trees.
The main benefits of tier architecture style are:
  • Maintenance- any alteration or modification can be done without affecting the application as a whole because each tier is independent of other tiers.
  • Flexibility- there is a huge scope of flexibility as each tier is managed and maintained independently.
  • Scalability- tiers are based on the deployment of layers. So, scalability is easier.
Language Integrated Query is the collection of standard query operators which adds query facilities into .NET framework languages like C#, VB.NET, etc. LINQ also represents the set of method names with the translation rules that can be used by the compiler for converting fluent-style query expressions into expressions that uses these method names, anonymous types and lambda expressions. LINQ can be used to extract data from arrays, XML documents, relational databases and other third-party data sources.
The LINQ is of the following types:
  • LINQ to objects refers to the use of LINQ queries without the use of an intermediate LINQ provider such as LINQ to SQL. 
  • LINQ to XML which was formerly known as XLINQ
  • LINQ to SQL which was formerly known as DLINQ
  • LINQ to Datasets
  • LINQ to Entities
The three main components of LINQ are:
  • Standard Query Operators: These are the extension methods that form the LINQ patterns. It operates on sequences and forms an API that enables querying of any .NET array. The Standard Query Operators in LINQ allows you to perform functions like determining if a value exists in the sequence, summation over a sequence, etc. The query operators supported by the API are:
  • Language extensions: LINQ defines optional language extensions when LINQ is primarily implemented as a library for .NET framework. This makes queries a first-class language construct and also provides syntax for writing queries.
  • LINQ Providers: These are set of classes that generate a method that executes the same query against a particular data source. The different providers define the different flavors of LINQ:
    • LINQ to SQL
    • LINQ to XML
    • LINQ to Objects
  • Select clause: the select clause selects the interesting aspects of the element by performing a projection on the collection. First, the user supplies an arbitrary function in the name of lambda expression which projects the data members. Then, this function is passed as a delegate.
  • Where clause: The Where clause is used to add some additional filters to the query. It allows the definition of a set of predicate rules that are evaluated for each object. The objects that do not match the rules are altered away. Then, the predicate is supplied as a delegate to the operator.
LINQ is useful than stored procedures in the following ways:
  • Deployment: In LINQ, deployment becomes easier as everything is compiled into a single DLL. However, in Stored Procedures, an additional script has to be provided.
  • Debugging: since LINQ is a part of .NET languages, queries can be debugged using the visual studio’s debugger. In the case of Stored Procedures, there is a difficulty in debugging.
  • Type safety at the compiler time, all the queries errors are checked as LINQ is type safe. However, stored procedures are not type safe, so there is a difficulty in checking the errors.
After adding LINQ to SQL classes and after opening the O/R Designer, there is an empty design surface which represents the empty DataContext class that is ready to be configured. This class is a LINQ to SQL class that acts as a channel between a SQL server database and the LINQ to SQL entity class.  This class contains the information regarding the methods for connecting to a database and also manipulating the data in the database. DataContext classes are configured with the connection data that is provided by the first item.
PLINQ is the acronym for Parallel Language Integrated Query. It is used to execute a query by using multiple processors, and it is a parallel implementation of LINQ. At the places where data grows rapidly and where data is heterogeneous, PLINQ ensures scalability of software on the parallel processors. PLINQ is more preferred over LINQ because it supports all the operators of LINQ. It also makes effective use of all the processors in the system, and it runs several LINQ queries simultaneously. PLINQ also ensures that the queries run quickly as it uses parallel execution. Due to its parallel performance, PLINQ enjoys major performance improvement, unlike some legacy codes that requires too much time to execute.
The Select() and the SelectMany() are both used to produce result values form the sources of data. However, the difference is the result set. On the one hand, the select clause produces one result value for every source value, and the result value is the collection that contains the same number of elements from the query. On the other hand, the SelectMany() produces a single result that keeps a concatenated collection from the query.
In Visual Basic, From clause is used to start the basic syntax of LINQ query. However, it ends with Select or Group By clause. If you want to perform additional functions like filtering data or generating data in a specific order, you can use another clause like Where, Order By, Order By Descending, etc.

In C#, the basic syntax starts with From clause and terminates with Select or  Group By clause. If you want to perform various functions like filtering data or generating data in a specific order, you can use another clause like Where, Order By, Order By Descending, etc.