# Best Practices For Entity Framework (Simple & Professional)

This article is to introduce a simple and professional practice to use Entity Framework.

Simple: because it only needs one class (with one interface)

Professional: because it applies SOLID architecture principles

I don't wish to talk more.... let's enjoy it!

# 1- Entity Framework @ Data layer (Basics)

In this article we will use a simple database called “Company” with two tables:

[dbo].[Categories]([CategoryID], [CategoryName])

[dbo].[Products]([ProductID], [CategoryID], [ProductName])

1-1 Generate Entity Framework code

In this layer we generate the Entity Framework code (in project library) (see this article in how can you do that) then you will have the following classes

public partial class CompanyContext : DbContext
public partial class Product
public partial class Category

1-2 Create basic Interface

We will create one interface for our basics functions

public interface IDbRepository : IDisposable
{
    #region Tables and Views functions

    IQueryable<TResult> GetAll<TResult>(bool noTracking = true) where TResult : class;
    TEntity Add<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class;
    TEntity Delete<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class;
    TEntity Attach<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class;
    TEntity AttachIfNot<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class;

    #endregion Tables and Views functions

    #region Transactions Functions

    int Commit();
    Task<int> CommitAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken = default(CancellationToken));

    #endregion Transactions Functions

    #region Database Procedures and Functions

    TResult Execute<TResult>(string functionName, params object[] parameters);

    #endregion Database Procedures and Functions
}

1-3 Implementing basic Interface

/// <summary>
/// Implementing basic tables, views, procedures, functions, and transaction functions
/// Select (GetAll), Insert (Add), Delete, and Attach
/// No Edit (Modify) function (can modify attached entity without function call)
/// Executes database procedures or functions (Execute)
/// Transaction functions (Commit)
/// More functions can be added if needed
/// </summary>
/// <typeparam name="TEntity">Entity Framework table or view</typeparam>
public class DbRepository : IDbRepository
{
    #region Protected Members

    protected DbContext _dbContext;

    #endregion Protected Members

    #region Constractors

    /// <summary>
    /// Repository constructor 
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="dbContext">Entity framework databse context</param>
    public DbRepository(DbContext dbContext)
    {
        _dbContext = dbContext;

        ConfigureContext();
    }

    #endregion Constractors

    #region IRepository Implementation

    #region Tables and Views functions

    /// <summary>
    /// Query all
    /// Set noTracking to true for selecting only (read-only queries)
    /// Set noTracking to false for insert, update, or delete after select
    /// </summary>
    public virtual IQueryable<TResult> GetAll<TResult>(bool noTracking = true) where TResult : class
    {
        var entityDbSet = GetDbSet<TResult>();

        if (noTracking)
            return entityDbSet.AsNoTracking();

        return entityDbSet;
    }

    public virtual TEntity Add<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        return GetDbSet<TEntity>().Add(entity);
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Delete loaded (attached) or unloaded (Detached) entitiy
    /// No need to load object to delete it
    /// Create new object of TEntity and set the id then call Delete function
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="entity">TEntity</param>
    /// <returns></returns>
    public virtual TEntity Delete<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        if (_dbContext.Entry(entity).State == EntityState.Detached)
        {
            _dbContext.Entry(entity).State = EntityState.Deleted;
            return entity;
        }
        else
            return GetDbSet<TEntity>().Remove(entity);
    }

    public virtual TEntity Attach<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        return GetDbSet<TEntity>().Attach(entity);
    }

    public virtual TEntity AttachIfNot<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        if (_dbContext.Entry(entity).State == EntityState.Detached)
            return Attach(entity);

        return entity;
    }

    #endregion Tables and Views functions

    #region Transactions Functions

    /// <summary>
    /// Saves all changes made in this context to the underlying database.
    /// </summary>
    /// <returns>The number of objects written to the underlying database.</returns>
    public virtual int Commit()
    {
        return _dbContext.SaveChanges();
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Asynchronously saves all changes made in this context to the underlying database.
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="cancellationToken">A System.Threading.CancellationToken to observe while waiting for the task to complete.</param>
    /// <returns>A task that represents the asynchronous save operation.  The task result contains the number of objects written to the underlying database.</returns>
    public virtual Task<int> CommitAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken = default(CancellationToken))
    {
        return _dbContext.SaveChangesAsync(cancellationToken);
    }

    #endregion Transactions Functions

    #region Database Procedures and Functions

    /// <summary>
    /// Executes any function in the context
    /// use to call database procesdures and functions
    /// </summary>>
    /// <typeparam name="TResult">return function type</typeparam>
    /// <param name="functionName">context function name</param>
    /// <param name="parameters">context function parameters in same order</param>
    public virtual TResult Execute<TResult>(string functionName, params object[] parameters)
    {
        MethodInfo method = _dbContext.GetType().GetMethod(functionName);

        return (TResult)method.Invoke(_dbContext, parameters);
    }

    #endregion Database Procedures and Functions

    #endregion IRepository Implementation

    #region IDisposable Implementation

    public void Dispose()
    {
        _dbContext.Dispose();
    }

    #endregion IDisposable Implementation

    #region Protected Functions

    /// <summary>
    /// Set Context Configuration
    /// </summary>
    protected virtual void ConfigureContext()
    {
        // set your recommended Context Configuration
        _dbContext.Configuration.LazyLoadingEnabled = false;
    }

    #endregion Protected Functions

    #region Private Functions

    private DbSet<TEntity> GetDbSet<TEntity>() where TEntity : class
    {
        return _dbContext.Set<TEntity>();
    }

    #endregion Private Functions

}

# 2- Entity Framework @ Business layer

In this layer we will write the application business.

It is recommended for each presentation screen, you create the business interface and implementation class that contain all required functions for the screen.

Below we will write the business for product screen as example

/// <summary>
/// Contains Product Business functions
/// </summary>
public interface IProductBusiness
{
    Product SelectById(int productId, bool noTracking = true);
    Task<IEnumerable<dynamic>> SelectByCategoryAsync(int CategoryId);
    Task<Product> InsertAsync(string productName, int categoryId);
    Product InsertForNewCategory(string productName, string categoryName);
    Product Update(int productId, string productName, int categoryId);
    Product Update2(int productId, string productName, int categoryId);
    int DeleteWithoutLoad(int productId);
    int DeleteLoadedProduct(Product product);
    IEnumerable<GetProductsCategory_Result> GetProductsCategory(int categoryId);
}



/// <summary>
/// Implementing Product Business functions
/// </summary>
public class ProductBusiness : IProductBusiness
{
    #region Private Members

    private IDbRepository _dbRepository;

    #endregion Private Members

    #region Constructors

    /// <summary>
    /// Product Business Constructor
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="dbRepository"></param>
    public ProductBusiness(IDbRepository dbRepository)
    {
        _dbRepository = dbRepository;
    }

    #endregion Constructors

    #region IProductBusiness Function

    /// <summary>
    /// Selects Product By Id
    /// </summary>
    public Product SelectById(int productId, bool noTracking = true)
    {
        var products = _dbRepository.GetAll<Product>(noTracking);

        return products.FirstOrDefault(pro => pro.ProductID == productId);
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Selects Products By Category Id Async
    /// To have async method, add reference to EntityFramework 6 dll or higher
    /// also you need to have the namespace "System.Data.Entity"
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="CategoryId">CategoryId</param>
    /// <returns>Return what ever the object that you want to return</returns>
    public async Task<IEnumerable<dynamic>> SelectByCategoryAsync(int CategoryId)
    {
        var products = _dbRepository.GetAll<Product>();
        var categories = _dbRepository.GetAll<Category>();

        var result = (from pro in products
                      join cat in categories
                      on pro.CategoryID equals cat.CategoryID
                      where pro.CategoryID == CategoryId
                      select new
                      {
                          ProductId = pro.ProductID,
                          ProductName = pro.ProductName,
                          CategoryName = cat.CategoryName
                      }
                              );

        return await result.ToListAsync();
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Insert Async new product for given category
    /// </summary>
    public async Task<Product> InsertAsync(string productName, int categoryId)
    {
        var newProduct = _dbRepository.Add(new Product() { ProductName = productName, CategoryID = categoryId });

        await _dbRepository.CommitAsync();

        return newProduct;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Insert new product and new category
    /// Do many database actions in one transaction
    /// each _dbRepository.Commit(); will commit one transaction
    /// </summary>
    public Product InsertForNewCategory(string productName, string categoryName)
    {
        var newCategory = _dbRepository.Add(new Category() { CategoryName = categoryName });
        var newProduct = _dbRepository.Add(new Product() { ProductName = productName, Category = newCategory });

        _dbRepository.Commit();

        return newProduct;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Update given product with tracking
    /// </summary>
    public Product Update(int productId, string productName, int categoryId)
    {
        var product = SelectById(productId,false);
        product.CategoryID = categoryId;
        product.ProductName = productName;

        _dbRepository.Commit();

        return product;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Update given product with no tracking and attach function
    /// </summary>
    public Product Update2(int productId, string productName, int categoryId)
    {
        var product = SelectById(productId);
        _dbRepository.Attach(product);

        product.CategoryID = categoryId;
        product.ProductName = productName;

        _dbRepository.Commit();

        return product;
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Deletes product without loading it
    /// </summary>
    public int DeleteWithoutLoad(int productId)
    {
        _dbRepository.Delete(new Product() { ProductID = productId });

        return _dbRepository.Commit();
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Deletes product after loading it
    /// </summary>
    public int DeleteLoadedProduct(Product product)
    {
        _dbRepository.Delete(product);

        return _dbRepository.Commit();
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Assuming we have the following procedure in database
    /// PROCEDURE [dbo].[GetProductsCategory] @CategoryID INT, @OrderBy VARCHAR(50)
    /// </summary>
    public IEnumerable<GetProductsCategory_Result> GetProductsCategory(int categoryId)
    {
        return _dbRepository.Execute<IEnumerable<GetProductsCategory_Result>>("GetProductsCategory", categoryId, "ProductName DESC");
    }


    #endregion IProductBusiness Function
}

# 3- Using Business layer @ Presentation layer (MVC)

In this example we will use the Business layer in Presentation layer. And we will use MVC as example of Presentation layer (but you can use any other Presentation layer).

We need first to register the IoC (we will use Unity, but you can use any IoC), then write our Presentation layer

3-1 Register Unity types within MVC

3-1-1 Add “Unity bootstrapper for ASP.NET MVC” NuGet backage

3-1-2 Add UnityWebActivator.Start(); in Global.asax.cs file (Application_Start() function)

3-1-3 Modify UnityConfig.RegisterTypes function as following


   public static void RegisterTypes(IUnityContainer container)
    {
        // Data Access Layer
        container.RegisterType<DbContext, CompanyContext>(new PerThreadLifetimeManager());
        container.RegisterType(typeof(IDbRepository), typeof(DbRepository), new PerThreadLifetimeManager());

        // Business Layer
        container.RegisterType<IProductBusiness, ProductBusiness>(new PerThreadLifetimeManager());

    }

3-2 Using Business layer @ Presentation layer (MVC)

public class ProductController : Controller
{
    #region Private Members

    IProductBusiness _productBusiness;

    #endregion Private Members

    #region Constractors

    public ProductController(IProductBusiness productBusiness)
    {
        _productBusiness = productBusiness;
    }

    #endregion Constractors

    #region Action Functions

    [HttpPost]
    public ActionResult InsertForNewCategory(string productName, string categoryName)
    {
        try
        {
            // you can use any of IProductBusiness functions
            var newProduct = _productBusiness.InsertForNewCategory(productName, categoryName);

            return Json(new { success = true, data = newProduct });
        }
        catch (Exception ex) 
        {   /* log ex*/
            return Json(new { success = false, errorMessage = ex.Message});
        }
    }

    [HttpDelete]
    public ActionResult SmartDeleteWithoutLoad(int productId)
    {
        try
        {
            // deletes product without load
            var deletedProduct = _productBusiness.DeleteWithoutLoad(productId);

            return Json(new { success = true, data = deletedProduct });
        }
        catch (Exception ex)
        {   /* log ex*/
            return Json(new { success = false, errorMessage = ex.Message });
        }
    }

    public async Task<ActionResult> SelectByCategoryAsync(int CategoryId)
    {
        try
        {
            var results = await _productBusiness.SelectByCategoryAsync(CategoryId);

            return Json(new { success = true, data = results },JsonRequestBehavior.AllowGet);
        }
        catch (Exception ex)
        {   /* log ex*/
            return Json(new { success = false, errorMessage = ex.Message },JsonRequestBehavior.AllowGet);
        }
    }
    #endregion Action Functions
}

# 4- Entity Framework @ Unit Test Layer

In Unit Test layer we usually test the Business Layer functionalities. And in order to do this, we will remove the Data Layer (Entity Framework) dependencies.

And the question now is: How can I remove the Entity Framework dependencies in order to unit test the Business Layer functions?

And the answer is simple: we will a fake implementation for IDbRepository Interface then we can do our unit test

4-1 Implementing basic Interface (fake implementation)

class FakeDbRepository : IDbRepository
{
    #region Protected Members

    protected Hashtable _dbContext;
    protected int _numberOfRowsAffected;
    protected Hashtable _contextFunctionsResults;

    #endregion Protected Members

    #region Constractors

    public FakeDbRepository(Hashtable contextFunctionsResults = null)
    {
        _dbContext = new Hashtable();
        _numberOfRowsAffected = 0;
        _contextFunctionsResults = contextFunctionsResults;
    }

    #endregion Constractors

    #region IRepository Implementation

    #region Tables and Views functions

    public IQueryable<TResult> GetAll<TResult>(bool noTracking = true) where TResult : class
    {
        return GetDbSet<TResult>().AsQueryable();
    }

    public TEntity Add<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        GetDbSet<TEntity>().Add(entity);
        ++_numberOfRowsAffected;
        return entity;
    }

    public TEntity Delete<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        GetDbSet<TEntity>().Remove(entity);
        ++_numberOfRowsAffected;
        return entity;
    }

    public TEntity Attach<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        return Add(entity);
    }

    public TEntity AttachIfNot<TEntity>(TEntity entity) where TEntity : class
    {
        if (!GetDbSet<TEntity>().Contains(entity))
            return Attach(entity);

        return entity;
    }

    #endregion Tables and Views functions

    #region Transactions Functions

    
    public virtual int Commit()
    {
        var numberOfRowsAffected = _numberOfRowsAffected;
        _numberOfRowsAffected = 0;
        return numberOfRowsAffected;
    }

    public virtual Task<int> CommitAsync(CancellationToken cancellationToken = default(CancellationToken))
    {
        var numberOfRowsAffected = _numberOfRowsAffected;
        _numberOfRowsAffected = 0;
        return new Task<int>(() => numberOfRowsAffected);
    }

    #endregion Transactions Functions

    #region Database Procedures and Functions

    public virtual TResult Execute<TResult>(string functionName, params object[] parameters)
    {
        if (_contextFunctionsResults != null && _contextFunctionsResults.Contains(functionName))
            return (TResult)_contextFunctionsResults[functionName];

        throw new NotImplementedException();
    }

    #endregion Database Procedures and Functions

    #endregion IRepository Implementation

    #region IDisposable Implementation

    public void Dispose()
    {

    }

    #endregion IDisposable Implementation

    #region Private Functions

    private List<TEntity> GetDbSet<TEntity>() where TEntity : class
    {
        if (!_dbContext.Contains(typeof(TEntity)))
            _dbContext.Add(typeof(TEntity), new List<TEntity>());

        return (List<TEntity>)_dbContext[typeof(TEntity)]; 
    }

    #endregion Private Functions
}

4-2 Run your unit testing

[TestClass]
public class ProductUnitTest
{
    [TestMethod]
    public void TestInsertForNewCategory()
    {
        // Initialize repositories
        FakeDbRepository _dbRepository = new FakeDbRepository();

        // Initialize Business object
        IProductBusiness productBusiness = new ProductBusiness(_dbRepository);

        // Process test method
        productBusiness.InsertForNewCategory("Test Product", "Test Category");

        int _productCount = _dbRepository.GetAll<Product>().Count();
        int _categoryCount = _dbRepository.GetAll<Category>().Count();

        Assert.AreEqual<int>(1, _productCount);
        Assert.AreEqual<int>(1, _categoryCount);
    }

    [TestMethod]
    public void TestProceduresFunctionsCall()
    {
        // Initialize Procedures / Functions result
        Hashtable _contextFunctionsResults = new Hashtable();
        _contextFunctionsResults.Add("GetProductsCategory", new List<GetProductsCategory_Result> { 
            new GetProductsCategory_Result() { ProductName = "Product 1", ProductID = 1, CategoryName = "Category 1" },
            new GetProductsCategory_Result() { ProductName = "Product 2", ProductID = 2, CategoryName = "Category 1" },
            new GetProductsCategory_Result() { ProductName = "Product 3", ProductID = 3, CategoryName = "Category 1" }});

        // Initialize repositories
        FakeDbRepository _dbRepository = new FakeDbRepository(_contextFunctionsResults);

        // Initialize Business object
        IProductBusiness productBusiness = new ProductBusiness(_dbRepository);

        // Process test method
        var results = productBusiness.GetProductsCategory(1);

        Assert.AreEqual<int>(3, results.Count());
    }
}