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Using MongoDB .NET Driver with .NET Core WebAPI

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9 Nov 2019CPOL
What’s about Problem / solution format brings an easier understanding on how to build things, giving an immediate feedback.

What’s about

Problem / solution format brings an easier understanding on how to build things, giving an immediate feedback. Starting from this idea, the blog post I will present step by step how to build

a web application to store your ideas in an easy way, adding text notes, either from desktop or mobile, with few characteristics: run fast, save on the fly whatever you write, and be reasonably reliable and secure.

This article will implement just the backend, WebApi and the database access, in the most simple way.

A couple of updates done to the original article

  • Following Peter’s comment, I have simplified the documents returned, see HttpGet requests
  • Following Luciano’s comment, I have extend the update function, making update of the full MongoDB documents at once, not just to some of the properties. There is a new section below, describing this change
  • Trying to read from Angular 2, find the article here, I have ran into CORS problems. An error message was displayed “No ‘Access-Control-Allow-Origin’ header is present on the requested resource”. I have added a new section to describe the solution.
  • I have updated the project to .NET Core 1.1 as well to MongoDB .NET Driver 2.4
  • Added a basic level of exception management
  • Following Peter’s comment I have converted the solution to Visual Studio 2017
  • Updated to .NET Core 2.0
  • Following Matthew’s comment, I have updated the interface INoteRepository to not be coupled to MongoDB libraries
  • added a compound MongoDb index
  • Following the comments from Kirk and Andrea, I have added to the structure the MongoDb BSonId and added a section of model binding of JSON Posts
  • Following comments from Manish and Zahn, I have extended the example with a nested class; Updated to MongoDb.Driver 2.7, which add support for new features of the MongoDB 4.0 Server.

The GitHub project is updated and includes all these changes. You could directly download the sources or clone the project locally.

Topics covered

  • Technology stack
  • Configuration model
  • Options model
  • Dependency injection
  • MongoDb – Installation and configuration using MongoDB C# Driver v.2
  • Make a full ASP.NET WebApi project, connected async to MongoDB
  • Allowing Cross Domain Calls (CORS)
  • Update entire MongoDB documents
  • Exception management
  • Model binding of HTTP Post command (newly added)
  • Nested classes in MongoDb

You might be interested also

Technology stack

The ASP.NET Core Web API has the big advantage that it can be used as HTTP service and it can be subscribed by any client application, ranging from desktop to mobiles, and also be installed on Windows, macOS or Linux.

MongoDB is a popular NoSQL database that makes a great backend for Web APIs. These lend themselves more to document store type, rather than to relational databases. This blog will present how to build a .NET Core Web API connected asynchronously to MongoDB, with full support for HTTP GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE.

To install

Here are all the things needed to be installed:

Creating the ASP.NET WebApi project

Launch Visual Studio and then access File > New Project > .Net Core > ASP.NET Core Web Application.
Image 1
and then
Image 2

Configuration

There are multiple file formats, supported out of the box for the configuration (JSON, XML, or INI). By default, the WebApi project template comes with JSON format enabled. Inside the setting file, order matters, and include complex structures. Here is an example with a 2 level settings structure for database connection.
AppSettings.json – update the file:

{
  "MongoConnection": {
    "ConnectionString": "mongodb://admin:abc123!@localhost",
    "Database": "NotesDb"
  },

  "Logging": {
    "IncludeScopes": false,
    "Debug": {
      "LogLevel": {
        "Default": "Warning"
      }
    },
    "Console": {
      "LogLevel": {
        "Default": "Warning"
      }
    }
  }
}

Dependency injection and Options model

Constructor injection is one of the most common approach to implementing Dependency Injection (DI), though not the only one. ASP.NET Core uses constructor injection in its solution, so we will also use it. ASP.NET Core project has a Startup.cs file, which configures the environment in which our application will run. The Startup.cs file also places services into ASP.NET Core’s Services layer, which is what enables dependency injection.

To map the custom database connection settings, we will add a new Settings class.

namespace NotebookAppApi.Model
{
    public class Settings
    {
        public string ConnectionString;
        public string Database;
    }
}

Here is how we modify Startup.cs to inject Settings in the Options accessor model:

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
    // Add framework services.
    services.AddMvc();
    services.Configure<Settings>(options =>
    {
        options.ConnectionString 
			= Configuration.GetSection("MongoConnection:ConnectionString").Value;
        options.Database 
			= Configuration.GetSection("MongoConnection:Database").Value;
    });
}

Further in the project, settings will be access via IOptions interface:

IOptions<Settings>

MongoDB configuration

Once you have installed MongoDB, you would need to configure the access, as well as where the data is located.

To do this, create a file locally, named mongod.cfg. This will include setting path to the data folder for MongoDB server, as well as to the MongoDB log file, initially without any authentication. Please update these local paths, with your own settings:

systemLog:
  destination: file
  path: "C:\\tools\\mongodb\\db\\log\\mongo.log"
  logAppend: true
storage:
  dbPath: "C:\\tools\\mongodb\\db\\data"

Run in command prompt next line. This will start the MongoDB server, pointing to the configuration file already created (in case the server is installed in a custom folder, please update first the command)

"C:\Program Files\MongoDB\Server\3.2\bin\mongod.exe" --config C:\Dev\Data.Config\mongod.cfg

Once the server is started (and you could see the details in the log file), run mongo.exe in command prompt. The next step is to add the administrator user to the database. Run mongodb with the full path (ex: “C:\Program Files\MongoDB\Server\3.2\bin\mongo.exe”).
sketch

and then copy paste the next code in the console:

use admin
db.createUser(
  {
	user: "admin",
	pwd: "abc123!",
	roles: [ { role: "root", db: "admin" } ]
  }
);
exit;

Then stop the server and update the configuration file, including the security option.

systemLog:
  destination: file
  path: "C:\\tools\\mongodb\\db\\log\\mongo.log"
  logAppend: true
storage:
  dbPath: "C:\\tools\\mongodb\\db\\data"
security:
  authorization: enabled

From now on, we’ll connect to MongoDb using admin user. There is a good practice to not use the superuser role (in our case administrator) for normal operations, but in order to keep the things simple, we will continue to have just a single user.

MongoDB .NET Driver

To connect to MongoDB, add via Nuget the package named MongoDB.Driver. This is the new official driver for .NET, fully supporting the ASP.NET Core applications.
Image 4

Model

The model class (POCO) associated with each entry in the notebook is included below:

using System;
using MongoDB.Bson.Serialization.Attributes;

namespace NotebookAppApi.Model
{
	public class Note
	{
		[BsonId]
		// standard BSonId generated by MongoDb
		public ObjectId InternalId { get; set; }

		// external Id, easier to reference: 1,2,3 or A, B, C etc.
		public string Id { get; set; }                          

		public string Body { get; set; } = string.Empty;

		[BsonDateTimeOptions]
                // attribute to gain control on datetime serialization
		public DateTime UpdatedOn { get; set; } = DateTime.Now;

		public NoteImage HeaderImage { get; set; }

		public int UserId { get; set; } = 0;
	}
}

Note: By default, using the parameter BsonDateTimeOptions, Bson serializer tries to serialize as a DateTime, as UTC. Adding the attribute as follows, we allow saving in local time instead: [BsonDateTimeOptions(Kind = DateTimeKind.Local)]

Assuming the Note would have a header image, here would be a sample embedded class:

public class NoteImage
{
	public string Url { get; set; } = string.Empty;
	public string ThumbnailUrl { get; set; } = string.Empty;
	public long ImageSize { get; set; } = 0L;
}

Defining the database context

In order to keep the functions for accessing the database in a distinct place, we will add a NoteContext class. This will use the Settings defined above.

public class NoteContext
{
    private readonly IMongoDatabase _database = null;

    public NoteContext(IOptions<Settings> settings)
    {
        var client = new MongoClient(settings.Value.ConnectionString);
        if (client != null)
            _database = client.GetDatabase(settings.Value.Database);
    }

    public IMongoCollection<Note> Notes
    {
        get
        {
            return _database.GetCollection<Note>("Note");
        }
    }
}

Adding the repository

Using a repository interface, we will implement the functions needed to manage the Notes. These will also use Dependency Injection (DI) to be easily access from the application (e.g. controller section):

public interface INoteRepository
{
	Task<IEnumerable<Note>> GetAllNotes();
	Task<Note> GetNote(string id);

	// query after multiple parameters
	Task<IEnumerable<Note>> GetNote(string bodyText, DateTime updatedFrom, long headerSizeLimit);

	// add new note document
	Task AddNote(Note item);

	// remove a single document / note
	Task<bool> RemoveNote(string id);

	// update just a single document / note
	Task<bool> UpdateNote(string id, string body);

	// demo interface - full document update
	Task<bool> UpdateNoteDocument(string id, string body);

	// should be used with high cautious, only in relation with demo setup
	Task<bool> RemoveAllNotes();
}

The access to database will be asynchronous. We are using here the new driver, which offers a full async stack.

Just as an example: to get all the Notes, we make an async request:

public async Task<IEnumerable<Note>> GetAllNotes()
{
    var documents = await _context.Notes.Find(_ => true).ToListAsync();
    return documents;
}

Here is the full implementation, for all basic CRUD operations:

public class NoteRepository : INoteRepository
{
	private readonly NoteContext _context = null;

	public NoteRepository(IOptions<Settings> settings)
	{
		_context = new NoteContext(settings);
	}

	public async Task<IEnumerable<Note>> GetAllNotes()
	{
		try
		{
			return await _context.Notes
					.Find(_ => true).ToListAsync();
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}

	// query after Id or InternalId (BSonId value)
	//
	public async Task<Note> GetNote(string id)
	{
		try
		{
			ObjectId internalId = GetInternalId(id);
			return await _context.Notes
							.Find(note => note.Id == id 
									|| note.InternalId == internalId)
							.FirstOrDefaultAsync();
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}

	// query after body text, updated time, and header image size
	//
	public async Task<IEnumerable<Note>> GetNote(string bodyText, DateTime updatedFrom, long headerSizeLimit)
	{
		try
		{
			var query = _context.Notes.Find(note => note.Body.Contains(bodyText) &&
								   note.UpdatedOn >= updatedFrom &&
								   note.HeaderImage.ImageSize <= headerSizeLimit);

			return await query.ToListAsync();
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}

	private ObjectId GetInternalId(string id)
	{
		ObjectId internalId;
		if (!ObjectId.TryParse(id, out internalId))
			internalId = ObjectId.Empty;

		return internalId;
	}
	
	public async Task AddNote(Note item)
	{
		try
		{
			await _context.Notes.InsertOneAsync(item);
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}

	public async Task<bool> RemoveNote(string id)
	{
		try
		{
			DeleteResult actionResult 
				= await _context.Notes.DeleteOneAsync(
					Builders<Note>.Filter.Eq("Id", id));

			return actionResult.IsAcknowledged 
				&& actionResult.DeletedCount > 0;
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}

	public async Task<bool> UpdateNote(string id, string body)
	{
		var filter = Builders<Note>.Filter.Eq(s => s.Id, id);
		var update = Builders<Note>.Update
						.Set(s => s.Body, body)
						.CurrentDate(s => s.UpdatedOn);

		try
		{
			UpdateResult actionResult 
				= await _context.Notes.UpdateOneAsync(filter, update);

			return actionResult.IsAcknowledged
				&& actionResult.ModifiedCount > 0;
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}

	public async Task<bool> UpdateNote(string id, Note item)
	{
		try
		{
			ReplaceOneResult actionResult 
				= await _context.Notes
								.ReplaceOneAsync(n => n.Id.Equals(id)
										, item
										, new UpdateOptions { IsUpsert = true });
			return actionResult.IsAcknowledged
				&& actionResult.ModifiedCount > 0;
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}

	// Demo function - full document update
	public async Task<bool> UpdateNoteDocument(string id, string body)
	{
		var item = await GetNote(id) ?? new Note();
		item.Body = body;
		item.UpdatedOn = DateTime.Now;

		return await UpdateNote(id, item);
	}

	public async Task<bool> RemoveAllNotes()
	{
		try
		{
			DeleteResult actionResult 
				= await _context.Notes.DeleteManyAsync(new BsonDocument());

			return actionResult.IsAcknowledged
				&& actionResult.DeletedCount > 0;
		}
		catch (Exception ex)
		{
			// log or manage the exception
			throw ex;
		}
	}
}

In order to access NoteRepository using DI model, we add a new line in ConfigureServices

services.AddTransient<INoteRepository, NoteRepository>();

where:

  • Transient: Created each time.
  • Scoped: Created only once per request.
  • Singleton: Created the first time they are requested. Each subsequent request uses the instance that was created the first time.

Adding the main controller

First we present the main controller. It provides all the CRUD interfaces, available to external applications.
The Get actions have NoCache directive, to ensure web clients make always requests to the server.

[Produces("application/json")]
[Route("api/[controller]")]
public class NotesController : Controller
{
	private readonly INoteRepository _noteRepository;

	public NotesController(INoteRepository noteRepository)
	{
		_noteRepository = noteRepository;
	}

	[NoCache]
	[HttpGet]
	public async Task<IEnumerable<Note>> Get()
	{
		return await _noteRepository.GetAllNotes();
	}

	// GET api/notes/5 - retrieves a specific note using either Id or InternalId (BSonId)
	[HttpGet("{id}")]
	public async Task<Note> Get(string id)
	{
		return await _noteRepository.GetNote(id) ?? new Note();
	}

	// GET api/notes/text/date/size
	// ex: http://localhost:53617/api/notes/Test/2018-01-01/10000
	[NoCache]
	[HttpGet(template: "{bodyText}/{updatedFrom}/{headerSizeLimit}")]
	public async Task<IEnumerable<Note>> Get(string bodyText, 
											 DateTime updatedFrom, 
											 long headerSizeLimit)
	{
		return await _noteRepository.GetNote(bodyText, updatedFrom, headerSizeLimit) 
					?? new List<Note>();
	}

	// POST api/notes - creates a new note
	[HttpPost]
	public void Post([FromBody] NoteParam newNote)
	{
		_noteRepository.AddNote(new Note
									{
										Id = newNote.Id,
										Body = newNote.Body,
										CreatedOn = DateTime.Now,
										UpdatedOn = DateTime.Now,
										UserId = newNote.UserId
									});
	}

	// PUT api/notes/5 - updates a specific note
	[HttpPut("{id}")]
	public void Put(string id, [FromBody]string value)
	{
		_noteRepository.UpdateNoteDocument(id, value);
	}

	// DELETE api/notes/5 - deletes a specific note
	[HttpDelete("{id}")]
	public void Delete(string id)
	{
		_noteRepository.RemoveNote(id);
	}
}

Adding the admin controller

This will be a controller dedicated to administrative tasks (we use to initialize the database with some dummy data). In real projects, we should very cautiously use such interface. For development only and quick testing purpose, this approach may be convenient.

To use it, we will just add the url in the browser. Running the code below, the full setup will be automatically created (e.g. new database, new collection, sample records). We can use either http://localhost:5000/api/system/init (when using IIS) or http://localhost:53617/api/system/init (when using IIS Express, enabled as default on this sample project). We could even extend the idea, adding more commands. However, as mentioned above, these kind of scenarios should be used just for development, and be never deployed to a production environment.

[Route("api/[controller]")]
public class SystemController : Controller
{
	private readonly INoteRepository _noteRepository;

	public SystemController(INoteRepository noteRepository)
	{
		_noteRepository = noteRepository;
	}

	// Call an initialization - api/system/init
	[HttpGet("{setting}")]
	public string Get(string setting)
	{
		if (setting == "init")
		{
			_noteRepository.RemoveAllNotes();
			var name = _noteRepository.CreateIndex();

			_noteRepository.AddNote(new Note()
			{
				Id = "1",
				Body = "Test note 1",
				UpdatedOn = DateTime.Now,
				UserId = 1,
				HeaderImage = new NoteImage
				{
					ImageSize = 10,
					Url = "http://localhost/image1.png",
					ThumbnailUrl = "http://localhost/image1_small.png"
				}
			});

			_noteRepository.AddNote(new Note()
			{
				Id = "2",
				Body = "Test note 2",
				UpdatedOn = DateTime.Now,
				UserId = 1,
				HeaderImage = new NoteImage
				{
					ImageSize = 13,
					Url = "http://localhost/image2.png",
					ThumbnailUrl = "http://localhost/image2_small.png"
				}
			});

			_noteRepository.AddNote(new Note()
			{
				Id = "3",
				Body = "Test note 3",
				UpdatedOn = DateTime.Now,
				UserId = 1,
				HeaderImage = new NoteImage
				{
					ImageSize = 14,
					Url = "http://localhost/image3.png",
					ThumbnailUrl = "http://localhost/image3_small.png"
				}
			});

			_noteRepository.AddNote(new Note()
			{
				Id = "4",
				Body = "Test note 4",
				UpdatedOn = DateTime.Now,
				UserId = 1,
				HeaderImage = new NoteImage
				{
					ImageSize = 15,
					Url = "http://localhost/image4.png",
					ThumbnailUrl = "http://localhost/image4_small.png"
				}
			});

			return "Database NotesDb was created, and collection 'Notes' was filled with 4 sample items";
		}

		return "Unknown";
	}
}

Launch settings

In order to have a quick display of the values, once the project will run, please update the file launchSettings.json.

sketch

Here is the full file content, pointing by default to api/notes url.

{
  "iisSettings": {
    "windowsAuthentication": false,
    "anonymousAuthentication": true,
    "iisExpress": {
      "applicationUrl": "http://localhost:53617/",
      "sslPort": 0
    }
  },
  "profiles": {
    "IIS Express": {
      "commandName": "IISExpress",
      "launchBrowser": true,
      "launchUrl": "api/notes",
      "environmentVariables": {
        "ASPNETCORE_ENVIRONMENT": "Development"
      }
    },
    "NotebookAppApi": {
      "commandName": "Project",
      "launchBrowser": true,
      "launchUrl": "http://localhost:5000/api/notes",
      "environmentVariables": {
        "ASPNETCORE_ENVIRONMENT": "Development"
      }
    }
  }
}

Running the project

Before running the project, please make sure the MongoDB is running (either as an Windows Service, or via console application, as presented above).

Run first the initialization link:
http://localhost:53617/api/system/init

and then run the default application link
http://localhost:53617/api/notes

Image 6

Use Robo 3T

Using Robo 3T we could check the actual entries inside the database. Connecting to the database, using the credentials, we could see all records.

Even if the unique id has the name _id, the MongoDb .NET Driver maps it to our variable InternalId using the tag [BsonId].

Image 7

Running project on GitHub

Full source for this example is available on GitHub -> https://github.com/fpetru/WebApiMongoDB

Allowing Cross Domain Calls (CORS)

Being different applications, running on separate domains, all calls back to ASP.NET WebAPI site are effectively cross domain calls. With Angular 2, there is first a pre-flight request, before the actual request, (an OPTIONS request). Doing this pre-check, we verify first that cross domain calls are allowed (CORS).

I have enabled CORS by applying two changes:

  • First register CORS functionality in ConfigureServices() of Startup.cs:
  • public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
    {
         // Add service and create Policy with options
         services.AddCors(options => { options.AddPolicy("CorsPolicy",
                                         builder => builder.AllowAnyOrigin()
                                                           .AllowAnyMethod()
                                                           .AllowAnyHeader()
                                                           .AllowCredentials());
                                     });
         // ....
    
         services.AddMvc();
    }
    
  • and then enable the policy globally to every request in the application by calling app.useCors() in the Configure()method of Startup, before UseMVC.
  • public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app)
    {
       // ...
    
       // global policy, if assigned here (it could be defined individually for each controller)
       app.UseCors("CorsPolicy");
    
       // ...
    
       // We define UseCors() BEFORE UseMvc, below just a partial call
       app.UseMvc(routes => {
    }
    

Even if this could be further and more selective applied, the rest of the article remains unchanged.

Fully update the MongoDB documents

Initially the sample project included only selective update of the properties. Using ReplaceOneAsync we could update the full document. Upsert creates the document, in case it doesn’t already exist.

public async Task<ReplaceOneResult> UpdateNote(string id, Note item)
{
     return await _context.Notes
                          .ReplaceOneAsync(n => n.Id.Equals(id)
                                            , item
                                            , new UpdateOptions { IsUpsert = true });
} 

Test the update

To be able to test the update, I have used Postman. It is an excellent tool to test APIs.

I have selected the command type POST, then entered the local URL, and added a new Header (Content-Type as application/json).

ASP.NET Core WebAPI Set-header

And then set the Body as raw and updated a dummy value.
ASP.NET Core WebAPI Make the request

Using RoboMongo we can see the value updated.
MongoDB .NET Driver Updated document in Robomongo

Exception management

Starting with C# 5.0 async and await were introduced into the language to simplify using the Task Parallel Library. We can simply use a try/catch block to catch an exception, like so:

public async Task<IEnumerable<Note>> GetAllNotes()
{
    try
    {
        return await _context.Notes.Find(_ => true).ToListAsync();
    }
    catch (Exception ex)
    {
        // log or manage the exception
        throw ex;
    }
}

In this way we handle a faulted task by asynchronously wait for it to complete, using await. This will rethrow the original stored exception.

Initially I have used void as return. Changing the return type, the exception raised in the async method will get safely saved in the returning Task instance. When we await the faulty method, the exception saved in the Task will get rethrown with its full stack trace preserved.

public async Task AddNote(Note item)
{
    try
    {
        await _context.Notes.InsertOneAsync(item);
    }
    catch (Exception ex)
    {
        // log or manage the exception
        throw ex;
    }
}

Model binding of JSON POSTs in .NET Core

Model binding is the conversion of the raw HTTP request into the arguments for an action method invocation on a controller.
[FromBody] parameter tells the .net core framework to use the content-type header of the request, to decide which of the configured IInputFormatters to use for model binding.

By default, when you call AddMvc() in Startup.cs, a JSON formatte (JsonInputFormatter) is automatically configured. You could add additional formatters if you need to, for example to bind XML to an object.

[HttpPost]
public void Post([FromBody] NoteParam newNote)

To add a new Note, we need first to set Content-Type, to be application/json.
Image 11

Then we send a JSON object, and we successfully add a new Note. Since UserId is not set, the object will take the default value.
Image 12

Query on Embedded / Nested Documents

CSharp driver of MongoDB makes the query on the embedded documents easy. In the example below we mix two filters, one comparing the date from the main document, and one comparing a long member of the nested class.

note.UpdatedOn >= updatedFrom && note.HeaderImage.ImageSize <= headerSizeLimit

Accessing the application using IIS Express, we could use the Get function that contain all the notes with Test, created after 2018-01-01 and size smaller than 10000. Once the project is started, this function could be called by using the next URL in the browser: http://localhost:53617/api/notes/Test/2018-01-01/10000.

At the end

Hope this helped ! Let me know if you have questions or some things needs to be updated.

The post Using MongoDB .NET Driver with .NET Core WebAPI appeared first on Quality App Design.

License

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

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About the Author

Petru Faurescu
Architect
Denmark Denmark
My name is Petru Faurescu and I am a solution architect and technical leader. Technical blog: QAppDesign.com

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