Double.TryParse or Convert.ToDouble - which is faster and safer?


Question

My application reads an Excel file using VSTO and adds the read data to a StringDictionary. It adds only data that are numbers with a few digits (1000 1000,2 1000,34 - comma is a delimiter in Russian standards).

What is better to check if the current string is an appropriate number?

object data, string key; // data had read

try
{
  Convert.ToDouble(regionData, CultureInfo.CurrentCulture);
  dic.Add(key, regionData.ToString());
}
catch (InvalidCastException)
{
  // is not a number
}

or

double d;
string str = data.ToString();
if (Double.TryParse(str, out d)) // if done, then is a number
{
  dic.Add(key, str);
}

I have to use StringDictionary instead of Dictionary<string, double> because of the following parsing algorithm issues.

My questions: Which way is faster? Which is safer?

And is it better to call Convert.ToDouble(object) or Convert.ToDouble(string) ?

1
78
10/9/2014 7:26:29 AM

Accepted Answer

I did a quick non-scientific test in Release mode. I used two inputs: "2.34523" and "badinput" into both methods and iterated 1,000,000 times.

Valid input:

Double.TryParse = 646ms
Convert.ToDouble = 662 ms

Not much different, as expected. For all intents and purposes, for valid input, these are the same.

Invalid input:

Double.TryParse = 612ms
Convert.ToDouble = ..

Well.. it was running for a long time. I reran the entire thing using 1,000 iterations and Convert.ToDouble with bad input took 8.3 seconds. Averaging it out, it would take over 2 hours. I don't care how basic the test is, in the invalid input case, Convert.ToDouble's exception raising will ruin your performance.

So, here's another vote for TryParse with some numbers to back it up.

128
4/22/2016 8:03:46 AM

To start with, I'd use double.Parse rather than Convert.ToDouble in the first place.

As to whether you should use Parse or TryParse: can you proceed if there's bad input data, or is that a really exceptional condition? If it's exceptional, use Parse and let it blow up if the input is bad. If it's expected and can be cleanly handled, use TryParse.


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