Binary File Viewer

There are times when you need to see the bytes – where a text file has control characters, or you’ve got a binary file of unknown format.

I’ve done a quick search and found “Binary Viewer”, a free application from Proxoft.

It’s one of those utilities that does exactly what you need, no more, no less. It’s small and easy to use. Perfect tool for the job.


HashSet vs List

I was writing a simple class today that needed to check to see if a value was in a list.

As the list was about 2,000 strings, I wondered what the most performance efficient approach was. Normally I create a List<String> and call the .Contains() method to find out if the value I’m checking is in there – but this list is going to be hit millions of times. So getting it wrong could have performance implications.

I did a quick Google search and HashSet<T> seems like a good candidate. So I wrote a very simple console app that would create a list of strings, and then store the list in either a List<String> or a HashSet<String>.

Initially I set my list size as 2000 to model my application, and generated 10,000 calls to the list with a random element. I set up the lists so that about 10% of the random numbers should hit the list, and 90% not be in.

The first run was so quick that I was not sure about the results, so I reran with 20,000 numbers in the lists and 100,000 test hits:

Method Time to run: Hits/misses
List<String> 24.68 seconds 9921 / 90079
HashSet<String> 0.0257 seconds 9719 / 90281


I hadn’t expected such a clear cut difference: a HashSet<T> will be about a thousand times faster than List<T>