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Implementing Audit Trail using Entity Framework Part -1

, 27 Mar 2009
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Implementing Audit Trail using Entity Framework's caching entries

Introduction

Entity framework keeps track for those entire objects and relationships which have been deleted, added and modified in the container. EF keeps the state of the object and holds the necessary change-information and all these track information for each object or relationship resides as “objectStateEntry”. Using “ObjectStateManager” one can access all these change-information like object-state (added/modified/deleted), modified properties, original and current values and can easily do audit trail for those objects. To get the Rollback feature from that audit trail we have to consider some issues. We have to maintain the order of entity graph while insertion and deletion. That means root entity has been inserted before the children and during deletion we have to make it reverse. The most important issue is that we have to make sure that audit trail entry will be inserted according this order.

So now I am going to talk about audit trail implementation that’s capable to rollback to a certain period. To make such implementation I am going to use the Entity framework’s caching Management that is called as “ObjectStateManager”.Using this Manager I will be capable to find out the object that is currently changed or added or deleted and resides in EF cache as Object state entry. In part 1, I just going to talk about creating audit trail objects using the object state entry. In Second Part I will talk about roll back feature of this audit trial.

Using the Code

First I make table audit trail in database

DataBaseDbAudit.JPG

For this table, I am going to make an Entity set in my conceptual level as

dbAuditEF.JPG

In Entity Framework, to save my all changes into Db we have call “Context.SaveChanges()” and This Context is a container that has been inherited from “ObjectContext” Class.To create the Audit trail Objects for each “Modified/Added/Deleted”I am going to catch the event-

Context.SavingChanges +=new EventHandler(Context_SavingChanges);

In sample program I have done it with writing partial class -

public partial class AdventureWorksEntities
{ partial void OnContextCreated()
{
    this.SavingChanges += new EventHandler(AdventureWorksEntities_SavingChanges);
}

void AdventureWorksEntities_SavingChanges(object sender, EventArgs e)
{

So in my “AdventureWorksEntities_SavingChanges” method I am going to create all “dbaudit” objects those are going to save in DB.Here its takes each entry from EF cache of state- Added or Deleted or Modified and call a factory method to produce audit trail object.

public partial class AdventureWorksEntities
{
    public string UserName { get; set; }
    List<DBAudit> auditTrailList = new List<DBAudit>();

    public enum AuditActions
    {
        I,
        U,
        D
    }

    partial void OnContextCreated()
    {
        this.SavingChanges += new EventHandler(AdventureWorksEntities_SavingChanges);
    }

    void AdventureWorksEntities_SavingChanges(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        IEnumerable<ObjectStateEntry> changes = 
            this.ObjectStateManager.GetObjectStateEntries(
            EntityState.Added | EntityState.Deleted | EntityState.Modified);
        foreach (ObjectStateEntry stateEntryEntity in changes)
        {
            if (!stateEntryEntity.IsRelationship &&
            stateEntryEntity.Entity != null &&
            !(stateEntryEntity.Entity is DBAudit))
            {//is a normal entry, not a relationship
                DBAudit audit = this.AuditTrailFactory(stateEntryEntity, UserName);
                auditTrailList.Add(audit);
            }
        }

        if (auditTrailList.Count > 0)
        {
            foreach (var audit in auditTrailList)
            {//add all audits 
                this.AddToDBAudit(audit);
            }
        }
    }

And here “AuditTrailFactory” is Factory method to create dbaudit object.Specially for Modify state it keeps the modified properties and serialized as XML.So using these field you can easily show the changes of modified object with doing any comparison of old and new data.

private DBAudit AuditTrailFactory(ObjectStateEntry entry, string UserName)
{
    DBAudit audit = new DBAudit();
    audit.AuditId = Guid.NewGuid().ToString();
    audit.RevisionStamp = DateTime.Now;
    audit.TableName = entry.EntitySet.Name;
    audit.UserName = UserName;

    if (entry.State == EntityState.Added)
    {//entry is Added 
        audit.NewData = GetEntryValueInString(entry, false);
        audit.Actions = AuditActions.I.ToString();
    }
    else if (entry.State == EntityState.Deleted)
    {//entry in deleted
        audit.OldData = GetEntryValueInString(entry, true);
        audit.Actions = AuditActions.D.ToString();
    }
    else
    {//entry is modified
        audit.OldData = GetEntryValueInString(entry, true);
        audit.NewData = GetEntryValueInString(entry, false);
        audit.Actions = AuditActions.U.ToString();

        IEnumerable<string> modifiedProperties = entry.GetModifiedProperties();
        //assing collection of mismatched Columns name as serialized string 
        audit.ChangedColumns = XMLSerializationHelper.XmlSerialize(
            modifiedProperties.ToArray());
    }

    return audit;
}

Here “GetEntryValueInString” is for creating XML text of Previous or modified object. In Entity Framework each entry hold all change defination.First I make a clone the current object.Using entry.GetModifiedProperties() I can get only modified properties of an object and Using “OriginalValues” and “CurrentValues” I can build myself the old data and new data.Factory has told me what that wants – old or new. At the End I have done XML serialized and return back XML string .

private string GetEntryValueInString(ObjectStateEntry entry, bool isOrginal)
{
    if (entry.Entity is EntityObject)
    {
        object target = CloneEntity((EntityObject)entry.Entity);
        foreach (string propName in entry.GetModifiedProperties())
        {
            object setterValue = null;
            if (isOrginal)
            {
                //Get orginal value 
                setterValue = entry.OriginalValues[propName];
            }
            else
            {
                //Get orginal value 
                setterValue = entry.CurrentValues[propName];
            }
            //Find property to update 
            PropertyInfo propInfo = target.GetType().GetProperty(propName);
            //update property with orgibal value 
            if (setterValue == DBNull.Value)
            {//
                setterValue = null;
            }
            propInfo.SetValue(target, setterValue, null);
        }//end foreach

        XmlSerializer formatter = new XmlSerializer(target.GetType());
        XDocument document = new XDocument();

        using (XmlWriter xmlWriter = document.CreateWriter())
        {
            formatter.Serialize(xmlWriter, target);
        }
        return document.Root.ToString();
    }
    return null;
}

To clone the entity I have used the method which I have found in MSDN forum Post (Thanx toPatrick Magee )-

public EntityObject CloneEntity(EntityObject obj)
{
    DataContractSerializer dcSer = new DataContractSerializer(obj.GetType());
    MemoryStream memoryStream = new MemoryStream();

    dcSer.WriteObject(memoryStream, obj);
    memoryStream.Position = 0;

    EntityObject newObject = (EntityObject)dcSer.ReadObject(memoryStream);
    return newObject;
}

That is all for Part-1 where I just create the Audit trail objects for each CUD operation.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Morshed Anwar
Team Leader Adaptive Enterprise Limited (www.ael-bd.com)
Bangladesh Bangladesh
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionHow you extend this to support tracking only selected entity and selected properties of that entity?? PinprofessionalNirosh29-Jan-14 18:47 
AnswerRe: How you extend this to support tracking only selected entity and selected properties of that entity?? PinmemberMorshed Anwar30-Jan-14 4:40 
Questionentry.OriginalValues and CurrentValues are the same on audit PinmemberSean Brogan30-Sep-13 0:43 
AnswerRe: entry.OriginalValues and CurrentValues are the same on audit PinmemberMorshed Anwar30-Sep-13 1:35 
GeneralRe: entry.OriginalValues and CurrentValues are the same on audit PinmemberSean Brogan30-Sep-13 2:46 
GeneralRe: entry.OriginalValues and CurrentValues are the same on audit PinmemberMorshed Anwar30-Sep-13 4:21 
GeneralRe: entry.OriginalValues and CurrentValues are the same on audit PinmemberSean Brogan30-Sep-13 21:26 
GeneralRe: entry.OriginalValues and CurrentValues are the same on audit PinmemberMorshed Anwar1-Oct-13 1:38 
QuestionXMLWriter not support base64 encoded data PinmemberMember 102571856-Sep-13 3:09 
AnswerRe: XMLWriter not support base64 encoded data PinmemberMorshed Anwar6-Sep-13 4:42 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberАslam Iqbal23-Apr-13 20:58 
QuestionFor EntityState.Deleted not working PinmemberMember 998096417-Apr-13 23:03 
QuestionSaving changes event Pinmemberjportelas31-Dec-12 6:38 
AnswerRe: Saving changes event PinmemberMorshed Anwar31-Dec-12 21:59 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberLee Keel21-Nov-12 7:45 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 PinmemberMorshed Anwar21-Nov-12 11:07 
BugCloneEntity throwing Out-of-memory error PinmemberLee Keel19-Nov-12 14:09 
GeneralRe: CloneEntity throwing Out-of-memory error PinmemberMorshed Anwar19-Nov-12 22:29 
GeneralRe: CloneEntity throwing Out-of-memory error PinmemberLee Keel20-Nov-12 6:55 
GeneralRe: CloneEntity throwing Out-of-memory error [modified] PinmemberMorshed Anwar20-Nov-12 22:47 
GeneralRe: CloneEntity throwing Out-of-memory error PinmemberLee Keel21-Nov-12 7:43 
GeneralRe: CloneEntity throwing Out-of-memory error PinmemberLee Keel21-Nov-12 11:01 
GeneralRe: CloneEntity throwing Out-of-memory error PinmemberMorshed Anwar21-Nov-12 11:11 
QuestionProblem with self-tracking entities PinmemberMember 950081122-Oct-12 4:09 
I am trying to use this code for our project with self-tracking entities (EF 4.0)
What happens is that I get too many columns marked as modified and the OldData is always the same as NewData.
How can we modify the code to get it to work?
This is an important issue in our project.
 
Regards
Peter
AnswerRe: Problem with self-tracking entities PinmemberMorshed Anwar22-Oct-12 4:30 

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