Sie sind auf Seite 1von 11

Understanding and Implementing Repository

and Unit of Work Pattern in ASP.NET MVC


Application
Rahul Rajat Singh, 12 Apr 2013

Introduction
In this article we will try to see what is Repository and Unit of Work Pattern in an ASP.NET MVC
application. We will also implement a small rudimentary sample application to understand the same.

Background
Possibility of using ORMs in our application saves us from a lot of code that needs to be written in
order to create our entities and data access logic. But using ORMs like entity framework sometimes
lead to scattered data access logic/predicates in various place in code.

Repository and Unit of work pattern provides a clean way to access data and at the same time
maintain the test-ablility of the application. Let us try to understand this by implementing a simple
ASP.NET MVC application.

Using the code


Let us first try to create a simple database on which we will be performing CRUD operations. We will
define a simple tables in the database as:

Now with the database/table in created, we will go ahead and generate the ADO.NET entity data
Model for these tables in our application. The generated entities will look like:
Performing Simple Data Access

Now we have the entity framework ready to be used in our application. We can very well use the
Context class in each controller to perform database operations. Let us try to see this by trying
to retrieve the data in our Index action of HomeController.

Hide Copy Code


public ActionResult Index()
{
List<Book> books = null;

using (SampleDatabaseEntities entities = new SampleDatabaseEntities())


{
books = entities.Books.ToList();
}

return View(books);
}

And when we try to run this application, we will see that it is getting the data from the database as:

Note: We will not be doing other CRUD operations here because they can be done on same lines
very easily.
To visualize the above implementation:

Now there is nothing wrong from the code and functionality perspective in doing this. But there are
two problems in this approach.

1. The Data access code is scattered across the application and this is a maintenance nightmare.
2. The Action in the Controller is creating the Context inside itself. This makes this function non
testable using dummy data and we can never be able to verify the results unless we use test data.

Note: If the second point is not clear then it is recommended to read about Test Driven
Development using MVC. We cannot discuss it in this article otherwise the article will become
digressing.

Creating a Repository

Now how can we solve the problem. We can solve the problem by moving all the data access code
of entity framework in one place. So let us define a class that will contain all the data access logic for

Hide Copy Code


Books

table.

But before creating this class, let us also think about the second problem for an instance. If we create
a simple interface defining the contract for accessing the books data and then implement this
interface in our proposed class, we will have one benefit. We can then have another class
implementing the same interface but playing around with the dummy data. Now as long as the
controller is using the Interface our test projects can pass the dummy data class and our controller
will not complain.

So let us first define the contract for accessing books data.


Hide Copy Code
// This interface will give define a contract for CRUD operations on
// Books entity
interface IBooksRepository
{
List<Book> GetAllBooks();
Book GetBookById(int id);
void AddBook(Book book);
void UpdateBook(int id, Book book);
void DeleteBook(Book book);
void Save();
}

And the implementation of this class will contain the actual logic to perform the CRUD operations on
the Bookstable.

Hide Shrink Copy Code


public class BooksRepository : IBooksRepository, IDisposable
{
SampleDatabaseEntities entities = new SampleDatabaseEntities();

#region IBooksRepository Members

BooksRepository()
{
entities = new SampleDatabaseEntities();
}

public List<Book> GetAllBooks()


{
return entities.Books.ToList();
}

public Book GetBookById(int id)


{
return entities.Books.SingleOrDefault(book => book.ID == id);
}

public void AddBook(Book book)


{
entities.Books.AddObject(book);
}

public void UpdateBook(int id, Book book)


{
Book b = GetBookById(id);
b = book;
}

public void DeleteBook(Book book)


{
entities.Books.DeleteObject(book);
}

public void Save()


{
entities.SaveChanges();
}

#endregion

#region IDisposable Members

public void Dispose()


{
Dispose(true);

GC.SuppressFinalize(this);
}

protected virtual void Dispose(bool disposing)


{
if (disposing == true)
{
entities = null;
}
}

~BooksRepository()
{
Dispose(false);
}

#endregion
}

Now let us create a simple Controller in which we will have the reference to this class being used
perform the CRUD operations on Books table.

Hide Copy Code


public class BooksController : Controller
{
private IBooksRepository booksRepository = null;

public BooksController()
:this(new BooksRepository())
{

public BooksController(IBooksRepository bookRepo)


{
this.booksRepository = bookRepo;
}

public ActionResult Index()


{
List<Book> books = booksRepository.GetAllBooks();
return View(books);
}
}
Now here in this above code when the application runs the default parameter-less constructor will
run which will create a BooksRepository object and it will be used in the class. The result of which
is that the application will be able to work with actual data from the database.

Now from our test project we will call the parameterized constructor with an object of the dummy
class containing dummy data. The benefit of which is that we should be able to test and verify the
controller classes using the dummy data.

Lets run the application to see the output

Note: We will not be doing other CRUD operations here because they can be done on same lines
very easily.

Lets try to visualize this version of implementation


Having Multiple Repositories

Now imagine the scenario where we have multiple tables in the database. Then we need to create
multiple repositories in order to map the domain model to the data model. Now
having multiple repository classes poses on problem.

The problem is regarding the ObjectContext object. If we create multiple repositories, should they
contain their ObjectContext separately? We know that using multiple instances of

Hide Copy Code


ObjectContext

object simultaneously can be a problem so should we really allow each repository to contain their
own instances?

To solve this problem. Why to let each Repository class instance have its own instance of
the ObjectContext. Why not create the instance of ObjectContext in some central location and
then pass this instance to the repository classes whenever they are being instantiated. Now this new
class will be called as UnitOfWork and this class will be responsible for creating
the ObjectContext nstance and handing over all the repository instances to the controllers.

Unit Of Work
So let us create a separate Repository to which will be used via UnitOfWork class and
the ObjectContext will be passed to this class from outside.

Hide Shrink Copy Code


public class BooksRepositoryEn
{
SampleDatabaseEntities entities = null;

public BooksRepositoryEn(SampleDatabaseEntities entities)


{
this.entities = entities;
}

public List<Book> GetAllBooks()


{
return entities.Books.ToList();
}

public Book GetBookById(int id)


{
return entities.Books.SingleOrDefault(book => book.ID == id);
}

public void AddBook(Book book)


{
entities.Books.AddObject(book);
}

public void UpdateBook(int id, Book book)


{
Book b = GetBookById(id);
b = book;
}

public void DeleteBook(Book book)


{
entities.Books.DeleteObject(book);
}

public void Save()


{
entities.SaveChanges();
}
}

Now this Repository class is taking the ObjectContext object from outside(whenever it is being
created). Also, we don't need to implement IDisposable here because this class is not creating the
instance and so its not this class's responsibility to dispose it.
Now if we have to create multiple repositories, we can simply have all the repositories take the

Hide Copy Code


ObjectContext

object at the time of construction. Now let us see how the UnitOfWork class creates the repository
and passes it on to the Controller.
Hide Shrink Copy Code
public class UnitOfWork : IDisposable
{
private SampleDatabaseEntities entities = null;

// This will be called from controller default constructor


public UnitOfWork()
{
entities = new SampleDatabaseEntities();
BooksRepository = new BooksRepositoryEn(entities);
}

// This will be created from test project and passed on to the


// controllers parameterized constructors
public UnitOfWork(IBooksRepository booksRepo)
{
BooksRepository = booksRepo;
}

public IBooksRepository BooksRepository


{
get;
private set;
}

#region IDisposable Members

public void Dispose()


{
Dispose(true);

GC.SuppressFinalize(this);
}

protected virtual void Dispose(bool disposing)


{
if (disposing == true)
{
entities = null;
}
}

~UnitOfWork()
{
Dispose(false);
}

#endregion
}
Now we have a parameter-less constructor which will be called from controller default constructor
i.e. whenever our page runs. We also have a parameterized constructor which will be created from
test project and passed on to the controllers parameterized constructors.

The dispose pattern is now implemented by the UnitOfWork class because now it is responsible for
creating the ObjectContext so it should be the one disposing it.

Let us look at the implementation of the Controller class now.

Hide Copy Code


public class BookEnController : Controller
{
private UnitOfWork unitOfWork = null;

public BookEnController()
: this(new UnitOfWork())
{

public BookEnController(UnitOfWork uow)


{
this.unitOfWork = uow;
}

public ActionResult Index()


{
List<Book> books = unitOfWork.BooksRepository.GetAllBooks();
return View(books);
}
}

Now the test-ablity of this controller is still maintained by having the combination of default and
parameterized constructor. Also, the data access code is now centralized in one place with the
possibility of having multiple repository classes being instantiated at the same time. Let us run the
application.
Note: We will not be doing other CRUD operations here because they can be done on same lines
very easily.

And finally let us visualize our implementation with Unit of Work in place.

Point of interest
In this article we saw what is Repository and Unit of work pattern. We have also seen a rudimentary
implementation for the same in an ASP.NET MVC application. The next step to the project would be
to convert all the repository classes into one generic repository so that we don't need to create
multiple repository classes. I hope this has been informative.