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WCF, Entity Framework, and Data Contracts

, 11 Jan 2013
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Expose an Entity Framework class entity as a data contract.

Background 

I have created a WCF service using Entity Framework. My problem is how can I expose Entity Framework class entity as a data contract? I tried to find out the solution on the internet but no luck. 

I found a few articles that suggested me to create custom entity classes with data contract attribute and expose these custom entity classes to the outer world. In each custom classes create a method (example: ConvertTo) that will accept an object of entity framework class and convert it into the custom class object.  

Example 

CustomClass ConvertTo(EntityClass objEntityClass)
{
    this.Property1 = objEntityClass.Property1;
    this.Property2 = objEntityClass.Property2;
    ….
}

Writing ConverTo method in each of the class is a time taken job. It can be written for few classes but not when the number is huge. It is very boring job. Frown | :(

After too many brainstorming I found one solution where I don’t need to write ConverTo method in each of the custom class. I just wrote a small piece of code which is responsible for translating the class. I wanted to share it with you all.  Smile | :)

I have written a code which can take the object of source and destination and copy the property value of source object to the destination object.

public static class Converter
{ 
    public static object Convert(object source, object target)
    {
        //find the list of properties in the source object
        Type sourceType = source.GetType();
        IList<PropertyInfo> sourcePropertyList = 
          new List<PropertyInfo>(sourceType.GetProperties());
        //find the list of properties present in the target/destination 

        objectType targetType = target.GetType();
        IList<PropertyInfo> targetPropertyList = 
           new List<PropertyInfo>(targetType.GetProperties());
        //assign value of source object property to the target object.

        foreach (PropertyInfo propertyTarget in targetPropertyList)
        {
            PropertyInfo property = null;
            //find the property which is present in the target object.

            foreach (PropertyInfo propertySource in sourcePropertyList)
            {
                //if find the property store it
                if (propertySource.Name == propertyTarget.Name)
                {
                    property = propertySource;
                    break; 
                }
            }
            //if target property exists in the source
            if (property != null)
            { 
                // take value of source
                object value = property.GetValue(source, null);
                //assign it into the target property 
                propertyTarget.SetValue(target, value, null); 
            }
        }
        return target;
    }
}

How to use Converter?

Suppose you have two entity classes Employee and Person.

public class Employee
{  
    public string Fname {get;set;}
    public string Lname {get;set;}
}

public class Person
{  
    public string Fname {get;set;}
    public string Lname {get;set;}
    public string Address {get;set;}
}

Now we have an object of Employee and want to copy the value of object employee to the object of Person.

public static class ConverterTest
{ 
    public static void Main(string[] argc)
    {
        Employee employee = new Employee() { Fname = "Jitendra", Lname = "Kumar" };
        Person person = new Person();
        person = Converter.Convert(employee,person) as Person;

        Console.WriteLine(string.Format("{0} : {1} : {2}", person.Fname, 
          person.Lname, object.Equals(person.Address, null) ? "" : person.Address)); 

        Console.WriteLine("Completed");
        Console.Read();
    }
}

Result 

Jitendra : Kumar :
Completed

License

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

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Comments and Discussions

 
SuggestionAnother solution PinmemberGuillaume Leparmentier11-Jan-13 23:54 
QuestionThere are tools for this task PinmemberKlaus Luedenscheidt11-Jan-13 17:23 
AnswerRe: There are tools for this task PinmemberThomas Eyde12-Jan-13 11:52 
AnswerRe: There are tools for this task Pinmemberffernandez2313-Jan-13 3:04 
AnswerRe: There are tools for this task PinmemberMike Lang14-Jan-13 4:51 

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