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Interfaces to add semantic meaning

, 22 Jun 2014
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Using interfaces to add sematic meaning to your POCO classes

Introduction

Much data are organised in a hierarchical manner - for example as Region.Country.Office or Fund.ShareClass.Account.  Each level of these requires a foreign key up to its parent level and this is usually a primitive data type (string, GUID or integer for example) with a meaningful name.

 

A good habit to get into is the creation of interfaces for these hierarchical layers to tag the properties involved in the hierarchy.  For example if we are using integers for our hierarchy navigation then the fund->shareclass->account we could create interfaces like:-

 

    '''<summary>
    ''' A fund - top level DTO
    ''' </summary>
    Public Interface IFundRecord
         ''' <summary>
        ''' The unique identifier of the fund
        ''' </summary>
        ReadOnly Property FundIdentifier As Integer

End Interface

 

Then share class inherits from this:-

    ''' <summary>
    ''' A share class
    ''' </summary>
    Public Interface IShareClassRecord
        Inherits IFundRecord

        ''' <summary>
        ''' The unique identifier of the share class
        ''' </summary>
        ReadOnly Property ShareClassIdentifier As Integer

    End Interface

 

And because .NET allows multiple interface inheritance, we could make an account link to both a share class and an investor:-

    ''' <summary>
    ''' An investor account in a share class
    ''' </summary>
    Public Interface IAccountRecord
        Inherits IShareClassRecord, IInvestorRecord

        ''' <summary>
        ''' The unique identifier of the account
        ''' </summary>
        ReadOnly Property AccountIdentifier As Integer

    End Interface

License

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

About the Author

Duncan Edwards Jones
Software Developer (Senior)
Ireland Ireland
C# / SQL Server developer
Microsoft MVP 2006, 2007
Visual Basic .NET
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