Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

Improving LINQ code reusability: Select method

, 27 Nov 2012
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
A simple approach that will allow you to reuse the code used in the Select method.

Select method is used to project each element of a sequence into a new form, i.e., it can be used to map a collection of one type to a collection of another type. In this article I’ll show you a simple approach that will allow you to reuse the code used in the Select method.

Table of contents

The Problem

Consider the following model:

Let’s suppose that you have a services layer, so you don’t want to expose your domain objects directly to the client applications. Instead you create a set of data contracts (or DTOs, if you prefer):

At some stage you’ll have to convert those Domain objects to data contracts. This is a common way of doing it:

var details = repository.All<Album>().Select(album => new AlbumDetail {
    AlbumId = album.AlbumId,
    Price = album.Price,
    Title = album.Title,

    ArtistId = album.ArtistId,
    GenreId = album.GenreId,
    ArtistName = (album.Artist == null) ? null : album.Artist.Name,
    GenreName = (album.Genre == null) ? null : album.Genre.Name
});

There is a problem with this approach – if you need to query the same collection but using different criteria you have to duplicate the code inside the Select method.

Solution 1 – Creating a method for the mapping

In order to reuse the code, we can create a method that converts Album objects (Domain) to data contract objects:

private static AlbumSummary CreateAlbumSummary(Album album)
{
    return new AlbumSummary {
        AlbumId = album.AlbumId,
        Title = album.Title,

        ArtistName = (album.Artist == null) ? null : album.Artist.Name
    };
}

private static AlbumDetail CreateAlbumDetail(Album album)
{
    return new AlbumDetail {
        AlbumId = album.AlbumId,
        Price = album.Price,
        Title = album.Title,

        ArtistId = album.ArtistId,
        GenreId = album.GenreId,
        ArtistName = (album.Artist == null) ? null : album.Artist.Name,
        GenreName = (album.Genre == null) ? null : album.Genre.Name
    };
}

Using the code

var albums = Albums.Select(CreateAlbumDetail);
var albumsByGenre = Albums.Where(x => x.GenreId == genreId).Select(CreateAlbumDetail);

// alternative way
var albums2 = Albums.Select(x => CreateAlbumDetail(x));
var albumsByGenre2 = Albums.Where(x => x.GenreId == genreId).Select(x => CreateAlbumDetail(x));

Solution 2 – Creating a generic ObjectMapper object

The previous solution solves the code reusability problem, but there’s still a tight coupling between components. Abstractions should be used to implement loose coupling between components – in this case, to abstract the mapping code.

Step 1: define a contract (interface) with a method that converts one object of type TSource to an object of type TDestination:

public interface IObjectMapper
{
    TDestination Map<TSource, TDestination>(TSource source);
}

Step 2: create a class that implements IObjectMapper (click to expand):

public class ObjectMapper : IObjectMapper
{
    private Dictionary<Type, Func<object, object>> Mappers = 
            new Dictionary<Type, Func<object, object>>
    {
        { typeof(Tuple<Album, AlbumDetail>), CreateAlbumDetail },
        { typeof(Tuple<Album, AlbumSummary>), CreateAlbumSummary }

        // more mappings here
        // ....
    };


    public TDestination Map<TSource, TDestination>(TSource source)
    {
        if(source == null)
            return default(TDestination);

        Func<object, object> mapper = null;
        Type key = typeof(Tuple<TSource, TDestination>);

        if(Mappers.TryGetValue(key, out mapper))
        {
            var newObject = mapper(source);
            return (TDestination) newObject;
        }

        string errorMessage = string.Format("Invalid mapping (Source: {0}, Destination: {1})";,
                                            typeof(TSource).FullName, 
                                            typeof(TDestination).FullName);
        
        throw new InvalidOperationException(errorMessage);
    }


    private static object CreateAlbumDetail(object source)
    {
        var album = source as Album;

        return new AlbumDetail {
            AlbumId = album.AlbumId,
            Price = album.Price,
            Title = album.Title,

            ArtistId = album.ArtistId,
            GenreId = album.GenreId,
            ArtistName = (album.Artist == null) ? null : album.Artist.Name,
            GenreName = (album.Genre == null) ? null : album.Genre.Name
        };
    }

    private static object CreateAlbumSummary(object source)
    {
        var album = source as Album;

        return new AlbumSummary {
            AlbumId = album.AlbumId,
            Title = album.Title,
            
            ArtistName = (album.Artist == null) ? null : album.Artist.Name
        };
    }
}

Example 1: Using LINQ

Using the mapper in a LINQ expression – convert an Album collection to an AlbumSummary collection:

IObjectMapper mapper = new ObjectMapper();

IEnumerable<AlbumSummary> summaries = repository.All<Album>()
                                        .Select(mapper.Map<Album, AlbumSummary>);

Example 1: Mapping a single object

Using the mapper for a single object:

var album = new Album {
    AlbumId = 1,
    Price = 10.0m,
    Title = "The Dreamer",
    Artist = new Artist { ArtistId = 1, Name = "José James" },
    Genre = new Genre { GenreId = 1, Name = "Jazz" }
};

IObjectMapper mapper = new ObjectMapper();

AlbumDetail albumDetail = mapper.Map<Album, AlbumDetail>(album);

Unit Testing

Some NUnit tests:

[Test]
public void Given_a_non_existing_mapping_when_mapping_object_then_should_throw_InvalidOperationException()
{
    // arrange
    IObjectMapper mapper = new ObjectMapper();
    var albumDetail = new AlbumDetail();

    // act/assert
    Assert.Throws<InvalidOperationException>(() => 
        // non-existing mapping
        mapper.Map<AlbumDetail, AlbumSummary>(albumDetail)
    );
}

[Test]
public void Given_an_album_when_mapping_to_album_summary_should_equals_expected_album_summary()
{
    // arrange
    IObjectMapper mapper = new ObjectMapper();
    
    var album = new Album {
        AlbumId = 4,
        Price = 10.0m,
        Title = "Heritage",
        Artist = new Artist { ArtistId = 4, Name = "Opeth" },
        Genre = new Genre { GenreId = 4, Name = "Metal" }
    };

    var expectedAlbumSummary = new AlbumSummary {
        AlbumId = 4,
        ArtistName = "Opeth",
        Title = "Heritage"
    };
    
    // act
    AlbumSummary albumSummary = mapper.Map<Album, AlbumSummary>(album);
    
    // assert
    Assert.AreEqual(albumSummary, expectedAlbumSummary);
}

Final thoughts

In this article you learned how to reuse the code used in the Select method, and how you can use that code to map single objects. But writing mapping code is tedious and time consuming. There are mapping tools out there that can make your life easier – AutoMapper is one of them. I’ve used it in the past and I definitely recommend it. So, why use Automapper? Quoting their website:

“What makes AutoMapper interesting is that it provides some interesting conventions to take the dirty work out of figuring out how to map type A to type B. As long as type B follows AutoMapper’s established convention, almost zero configuration is needed to map two types”

“Mapping code is boring. Testing mapping code is even more boring. AutoMapper provides simple configuration of types, as well as simple testing of mappings”

References

 

License

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

Share

About the Author

Rui Jarimba
Software Developer (Senior) Dublin Entrprise & Technology Centre Limited
Ireland Ireland
My name is Rui Jarimba and I was born in Madeira island, Portugal and I currently live in Dublin, Ireland.
 
I’m working as a .NET software developer since 2005.
 
Some of my professional interests are:
 
Web development using .NET Framework;
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA);
Database development and modelling;
Web accessibility, usability, and standards;
Software Architecture;
Design Patterns
Follow on   Twitter   LinkedIn

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberFoyzul Karim28-Nov-12 1:28 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 PinmemberRui Jarimba28-Nov-12 2:00 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Mobile
Web01 | 2.8.140821.2 | Last Updated 27 Nov 2012
Article Copyright 2012 by Rui Jarimba
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2014
Terms of Service
Layout: fixed | fluid