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Generic repositories – A silly abstraction layer

, 22 Feb 2012 LGPL3
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Let’s look at what generic repositories give you.

Update: The post is all about GENERIC repositories as in Repository<T>, not about all types of repositories. Repositories are a great way to abstract away the data source and make your code testable and flexible. Read the comment by Joseph Webster, CISSP to find out more.

My recommendation is against generic repositories since they don't give you any additional value compared to regular repository classes which have been written specifically for the requirements that your project have.

Let’s look at what generic repositories give you:

You can change OR/M implementation at any time.


  1. If you find yourself having switch OR/M during a project you have not done you homework before you started the project.
  2. The OR/M choice doesn’t matter since you have abstracted away the features of the chosen OR/M

imho you’ll stick with one OR/M during a project and switch for the next one (if you have to switch).

You have to write less code.

Here is a Generic repository (NHibernate implementation) from a SO question:

public interface IRepository<T> : IQueryable<T>
  void Add(T entity);
  T Get(Guid id);
  void Remove(T entity);

public class Repository<T> : IQueryable<T>
  private readonly ISession session;

  public Repository(ISession session)
    session = session;

  public Type ElementType
    get { return session.Query<T>().ElementType; }

  public Expression Expression
    get { return session.Query<T>().Expression; }

  public IQueryProvider Provider
    get { return session.Query<T>().Provider; }

  public void Add(T entity)

  public T Get(Guid id)
    return session.Get<T>(id);

  IEnumerator IEnumerable.GetEnumerator()
    return this.GetEnumerator();

  public IEnumerator<T> GetEnumerator()
    return session.Query<T>().GetEnumerator();

  public void Remove(T entity)

Take a look at the methods. All they do is to call methods in NHibernate. You do not win anything by doing so. All you get is an abstraction layer that removes the good things with nhibernate/ef/whatever.

It’s better to create a proper base class and move all repeated (DRY) functionality into it (and therefore still be able to take advantage of the features in your favorite OR/M).


Did I miss something that a generic repository gives you? Please make a comment.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv3)


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Founder of OneTrueError, a .NET service which captures, analyzes and provide possible solutions for exceptions.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionDon't repeat yourself. Don't repeat yourself. PinmemberAn00bus23-Jan-13 5:44 
GeneralMy vote of 3 Pinmemberjim lahey24-Feb-12 5:29 
GeneralRe: My vote of 3 Pinmemberjgauffin25-Feb-12 21:44 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberPaul Tait22-Feb-12 19:27 
AnswerWhat about when you are not using (only) an ORM? PinmemberJoseph Webster, CISSP22-Feb-12 11:33 
GeneralRe: What about when you are not using (only) an ORM? Pinmemberjgauffin22-Feb-12 19:44 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmember_FleX22-Feb-12 9:59 
GeneralMy vote of 1 PinmemberDean Oliver22-Feb-12 9:40 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pinmemberjgauffin22-Feb-12 19:41 

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