LINQ is pretty darn useful.
Not only does it generate instant results, it also makes you look a lot smarter than you actually are.
But what value does it bring to RPA developers, who already have hundreds upon hundreds of click and drag activities to rely on?
Also, why learn LINQ, when you can simply find solutions on the forum?
There are several reasons.
First, it generates instant results.
Sure, it doesn’t sound sexy, but that’s because you haven’t seen her in action yet.
When you process large datasets, the click and drag activities do such an excellent job of dragging the execution time to infinity and beyond, that it makes Buzz Lightyear jealous.
I once tried processing 25000 records using the For Each row in Table Activity and it took two hours to loop through all records.
I didn’t perform any other operation other than looping through the records.
And it took TWO HOURS.
I was frustrated of course, because I can’t deliver an automation which takes half a century to finish execution.
So I did what any other developer worth his salt would, and Google for solutions.
Google is Your Lord and Savior
Until then, I never visited the Forums.
To me, it seemed like a place that didn’t attract as much attention, but boy was I wrong.
The forum is a community which thrives on helping each other out.
Sure, most forums have a pointing and badge system, but that is done to encourage participation and introduce a competitive spirit which turns it into a game.
More points are awarded to that individual who provide proper, all-encompassing solutions.
This encourages people to ask around in the forum as well, since the responses are lightning fast. You wouldn’t waste time trying to put your problem into words if there is no one there to listen to you.
This is why it didn’t take me long to find what I was searching for, since what I was dealing with was a common issue.
Only problem was, it looked like Klingon.
I didn’t learn it at first, since I got what I was looking for and went along my merry way.
Learning another language didn’t seem all that appealing to me at the time, and it didn’t look like a good investment either because of how complicated it was.
But I found myself visiting the forum on several occasions, and noticed that most answers were drenched in LINQ sauce.
Even topics related to datascrapping had a healthy dressing of LINQ.
That intrigued me, and as my exposure to it increased, so did my curiosity.
I just HAD to explore it.
But It was Torture at First
I didn’t really understand how it all worked, but I was smart enough to put them together and achieve the outcome I was looking for.
I didn’t know why every DataTable had to have a .AsEnumerable appended to it before performing operations onto it.
I memorised the patterns, and that worked for a while, until it didn’t.
None of it made any sense to me, until I purchased few Udemy courses and sat through the entire thing.
You don’t necessarily have to invest into any Udemy course, unless you really like their content and would like to support their work.
All of that aside, learning LINQ just to have superfast execution speed doesn’t sound all that appealing now does it?
What Else is LINQ Good at?
Well, the best part about using LINQ is that it can work with ANY data source.
Yes, you read that right.
Ok, you don’t see what the big deal about that is.
When you work with SQL, XML etc, it has its own language that you have to learn, before you can play around with it.
LINQ allows you to query data without having to learn all those languages. It behaves as a universal language from which you can communicate with any data source.
The more I learned, the more I started to see the logic behind it, and how it worked.
There is a sort of beauty to it that I can’t describe, because I’m too lazy to do so.
I struggled lot to learn what I have so far, and believe it is fair that I share it with the rest of you.
I have dedicated a page to LINQ which you can access here.
I have solved and explained some of the most common variable manipulation problems, along with the xaml files.
I will keep updating that page with more LINQy stuff.
I have started way too many sentences with the letter “I”.
Why Am I Doing This?
I only visited the forum when I needed something from it, but as my knowledge of RPA grew, I slowly started answering questions.
People starting liking my answers and marking it as Best and that is where it all started.
I am a forum-addict.
I’ve been solving questions for about a year now, and I don’t think I can stop.
It’s not like I didn’t try to stop, it’s just that the high I get from solving problems online is addictive.
I’ve reached a stage where I can’t help but help people out whenever I get the chance to while also pun-ishing them at the same time.
Its gotten so bad that I have even started blogging on RPA.
I think it’s too late for me…
So make sure you visit my blog every Monday for new RPA-licious content!