Alright, so for our applications we have a couple of forms that use the DataGridView control to display tabular data (kinda of a common scenario for many business applications).  The data is returned from our services as an IList<T> in which we can just then bind directly to the grid by using the grid's DataSource property.  Pretty easy task...unless when it comes to sorting. 

From the looks of it, Ayende has the similar problem that he's trying to overcome...

At that point, our IList<T> doesn't cut it.  You could say, well, use an BindlingList<T> and override the ApplySortCore method and do it there, but is that work really worth the hassle?  (maybe, maybe not...)  Well, I set out to such thing and found out that my sortable collection only sorts ascending (using the code from this great MSDN article).  Yeah, but my users want to sort both ascending and descending!  <sarcasm>What a dylema!!</sarcasm>

So, what we decided to was take the easy way out and that is convert our IList<T> to a DataTable object with the correct schema (for the primitive types) that our contained objects have.  Here's what we came up with:

public class CollectionHelper { private CollectionHelper() { } public static DataTable ConvertTo<T>(IList<T> list) { DataTable table = CreateTable<T>(); Type entityType = typeof(T); PropertyDescriptorCollection properties = TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(entityType); foreach (T item in list) { DataRow row = table.NewRow(); foreach (PropertyDescriptor prop in properties) { row[prop.Name] = prop.GetValue(item); } table.Rows.Add(row); } return table; } public static IList<T> ConvertTo<T>(IList<DataRow> rows) { IList<T> list = null; if (rows != null) { list = new List<T>(); foreach (DataRow row in rows) { T item = CreateItem<T>(row); list.Add(item); } } return list; } public static IList<T> ConvertTo<T>(DataTable table) { if (table == null) { return null; } List<DataRow> rows = new List<DataRow>(); foreach (DataRow row in table.Rows) { rows.Add(row); } return ConvertTo<T>(rows); } public static T CreateItem<T>(DataRow row) { T obj = default(T); if (row != null) { obj = Activator.CreateInstance<T>(); foreach (DataColumn column in row.Table.Columns) { PropertyInfo prop = obj.GetType().GetProperty(column.ColumnName); try { object value = row[column.ColumnName]; prop.SetValue(obj, value, null); } catch { // You can log something here throw; } } } return obj; } public static DataTable CreateTable<T>() { Type entityType = typeof(T); DataTable table = new DataTable(entityType.Name); PropertyDescriptorCollection properties = TypeDescriptor.GetProperties(entityType); foreach (PropertyDescriptor prop in properties) { table.Columns.Add(prop.Name, prop.PropertyType); } return table; } }

To see the full code in action, check this sample out:

public class MyClass { public static void Main() { List<Customer> customers = new List<Customer>(); for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) { Customer c = new Customer(); c.Id = i; c.Name = "Customer " + i.ToString(); customers.Add(c); } DataTable table = CollectionHelper.ConvertTo<Customer>(customers); foreach (DataRow row in table.Rows) { Console.WriteLine("Customer"); Console.WriteLine("---------------"); foreach (DataColumn column in table.Columns) { object value = row[column.ColumnName]; Console.WriteLine("{0}: {1}", column.ColumnName, value); } Console.WriteLine(); } RL(); } #region Helper methods private static void WL(object text, params object[] args) { Console.WriteLine(text.ToString(), args); } private static void RL() { Console.ReadLine(); } private static void Break() { System.Diagnostics.Debugger.Break(); } #endregion }