This chapter is taken from book
"Moving to Microsoft Visual Studio 2010" by Patrice Pelland, Pascel Pare, and
Ken Haines published for Microsoft Press.
After reading this chapter, you will be able to
- Use the Entity Framework (EF) to build a data access layer using an existing database or with the Model First approach
- Generate entity types from the Entity Data Model (EDM) Designer using the ADO.NET Entity Framework POCO templates
- Learn about data caching using the Microsoft Windows Server AppFabric (formerly known by the codename "Velocity")
The Plan My Night (PMN) application allows the user to manage his itinerary
activities and share them with others. The data is stored in a Microsoft SQL
Server database. Activities are gathered from searches to the Bing Maps Web
Let's have a look at the high-level block model of the data model for the
application, which is shown in Figure 8-1.
FIGURE 8-1 Plan My Night application architecture diagram
Defining contracts and entity classes that are cleared of any
persistence-related code constraints allows us to put them in an assembly that
has no persistence-aware code. This approach ensures a clean separation between
the Presentation and Data layers.
Let's identify the contract interfaces for the major components of the PMN
- IItinerariesRepository is the interface to our data store (a Microsoft SQL Server database).
- IActivitiesRepository allows us to search for activities (using Bing Maps Web services).
- ICachingProvider provides us with our data-caching interface (ASP.NET caching or Windows Server AppFabric caching).
Note This is not an exhaustive list of
the contracts implemented in the PMN application.
PMN stores the user's itineraries into an SQL database. Other users will be able
to comment and rate each other's itineraries. Figure 8-2 shows the tables used
by the PMN application.
FIGURE 8-2 PlanMyNight database schema
Important The Plan My Night application uses the ASP.NET Membership feature to
provide secure credential storage for the users. The user store tables are not
shown in Figure 8-2. You can learn more about this feature on MSDN: ASP.NET 4 -
Introduction to Membership (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/yh26yfzy(VS.100).aspx).
Note The ZipCode table is used as a reference repository to provide a
list of available Zip Codes and cities so that you can provide autocomplete
functionality when the user is entering a search query in the application.
Plan My Night Data in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
It would be straightforward to create the Plan My Night application in Visual
Studio 2008 because it offers all the required tools to help you to code the
application. However, some of the technologies used back then required you to
write a lot more code to achieve the same goals.
Let's take a look at how you could create the required data layer in Visual
Studio 2008. One approach would have been to write the data layer using ADO.NET
DataSet or DataReader directly. (See Figure 8-3.) This solution offers you great
flexibility because you have complete control over access to the database. On
the other hand, it also has some drawbacks:
- You need to know the SQL syntax.
- All queries are specialized. A change in requirement or in the tables will force you to update the queries affected by these changes.
- You need to map the properties of your entity classes using the column name, which is a tedious and error-prone process.
- You have to manage the relations between tables yourself.
FIGURE 8-3 ADO.NET Insert query
Another approach would be to use the DataSet designer available in Visual Studio
2008. Starting from a database with the PMN tables, you could use the
TableAdapter Configuration Wizard to import the database tables as shown in
Figure 8-4. The generated code offers you a typed DataSet. One of the benefits
is type checking at design time, which gives you the advantage of statement
completion. There are still some pain points with this approach:
- You still need to know the SQL syntax although you have access to the query builder directly from the DataSet designer.
- You still need to write specialized SQL queries to match each of the requirements of your data contracts.
- You have no control of the generated classes. For example, changing the DataSet to add or remove a query for a table will rebuild the generated TableAdapter classes and might change the index used for a query. This makes it difficult to write predictable code using these generated items.
- The generated classes associated with the tables are persistence aware, so you will have to create another set of simple entities and copy the data from one to the other. This means more processing and memory usage.
FIGURE 8-4 DataSet designer in Visual Studio 2008
Another technology available in Visual Studio
2008 was LINQ to SQL (L2S). With the Object Relational Designer for L2S, it was
easy to add the required database tables. This approach gives you access to
strongly typed objects and to LINQ to create the queries required to access your
data, so you do not have to explicitly know the SQL syntax. This approach also
has its limits:
- LINQ to SQL works only with SQL Server databases.
- You have limited control over the created entities, and you cannot easily update them if your database schema changes.
- The generated entities are persistence aware.
Note As of .NET 4.0, Microsoft
recommends the Entity Framework as the data access solution for LINQ to
In the next sections of this chapter, you'll explore some of the new features of
Visual Studio 2010 that will help you create the PMN data layer with less code,
give you more control of the generated code, and allow you to easily maintain
and expand it.
Data with the Entity Framework in Visual Studio 2010
The ADO.NET Entity Framework (EF) allows you to easily create the data access
layer for an application by abstracting the data from the database and exposing
a model closer to the business requirements of the application. The EF has been
considerably enhanced in the .NET Framework 4 release.
You'll use the PlanMyNight project as an example of how to build an application
using some of the features of the EF. The next two sections demonstrate two
different approaches to generating the data model of PMN. In the first one, you
let the EF generate the Entity Data Model (EDM) from an existing database. In
the second part, you use a Model First approach, where you first create the
entities from the EF designer and generate the Data Definition Language (DDL)
scripts to create a database that can store your EDM.
Visual Studio 2008 The first version of the Entity Framework was released with
Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1. The second version of the EF included in the
.NET Framework 4.0 offers many new features to help you build your data
applications. Some of these new enhancements include the following:
- T4 code-generation templates that you can customize to your needs
- The possibility to define your own POCOs (Plain Old CLR Objects) to ensure that your entities
are decoupled from the persistence technology
- Model-First development, where you create a model for your entities and let Visual Studio 2010 create your database
- Code-only support so that you can use the Entity Framework using POCO entities and without an EDMX file
- Lazy loading for related entities so that they are loaded only from the database when required
- Self-tracking entities that have the ability to record their own changes on the client and send these changes so that they can be applied to the database store In the next sections, you'll explore some of these new features.
See Also The MSDN Data Developer Center also
offers a lot of resources about the ADO.NET Entity Framework (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/data/aa937723.aspx)
in .NET 4.
EF: Importing an Existing Database
You'll start with an existing solution that already defines the main projects of
the PMN application.
If you installed the companion content at the default location, you'll find the
solution at this location: %userprofile%\Documents\Microsoft Press\Moving to
Visual Studio 2010\Chapter 8\Code\ExistingDatabase. Double-click the
This solution includes all the projects in the following list, as shown in
- PlanMyNight.Data: Application data layer
- PlanMyNight.Contracts: Entities and contracts
- PlanMyNight.Bing: Bing Maps services
- PlanMyNight.Web: Presentation layer
- PlanMyNight.AppFabricCaching: AppFabric caching
FIGURE 8-5 PlanMyNight solution
The EF allows you to easily import an existing
database. Let's walk through this process.
The first step is to add an EDM to the PlanMyNight.Data project. Right-click the
PlanMyNight.Data project, select Add, and then choose New Item. Select the
ADO.NET Entity Data Model item, and change its name to PlanMyNight.edmx, as
shown in Figure 8-6.
FIGURE 8-6 Add New Item dialog with ADO.NET Entity Data Model selected
The first dialog of the Entity Data Model Wizard allows you to choose the model
content. You'll generate the model from an existing database. Select Generate
From Database and then click Next.
You need to connect to an existing database file. Click New Connection. Select
Microsoft SQL Server Database File from the Choose Data Source dialog, and click
Continue. Select the %userprofile%\Documents\Microsoft Press\Moving to Visual
Studio 2010\Chapter 8\ExistingDatabase\PlanMyNight.Web\App_Data\PlanMyNight.mdf
file. (See Figure 8-7.)
FIGURE 8-7 EDM Wizard database connection
Leave the other fields in the form as is for now and click Next.
Note You'll get a warning stating that the local data file is not in the
current project. Click No to close the dialog because you do not want to copy
the database file to the current project.
From the Choose Your Database Objects dialog, select the Itinerary,
ItineraryActivities, ItineraryComment, ItineraryRating, and ZipCode tables and
the UserProfile view. Select the RetrieveItinerariesWithinArea stored procedure.
Change the Model Namespace value to Entities as shown in Figure 8-8.
FIGURE 8-8 EDM Wizard: Choose Your Database Objects page
Click Finish to generate your EDM.
Visual Studio 2008 In the first version of the EF, the names associated with
EntityType, EntitySet, and NavigationProperty were often wrong when you created
a model from the database
because it was using the database table name to generate them. You probably do
not want to create an instance of the ItineraryActivities entity. Instead, you
probably want the name to be singularized to ItineraryActivity. The Pluralize Or
Singularize Generated Object Names check box shown in Figure 8-8 allows you to
control whether pluralization or singularization should be attempted.
Fixing the Generated Data Model
You now have a model representing a set of entities matching your database. The
wizard has generated all the navigation properties associated with the foreign
keys from the database.
The PMN application requires only the navigation property ItineraryActivities
from the Itinerary table, so you can go ahead and delete all the other
navigation properties. You'll also need to rename the ItineraryActivities
navigation property to Activities. Refer to Figure 8-9 for the updated model.
FIGURE 8-9 Model imported from the PlanMyNight database
Notice that one of the properties of the ZipCode entity has been generated with
the name ZipCode1 because the table itself is already named ZipCode and the name
has to be unique. Let's fix the property name by double-clicking it. Change the
name to Code, as shown in Figure 8-10.
FIGURE 8-10 ZipCode entity
Build the solution by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B. When looking at the output window,
you'll notice two messages from the generated EDM. You can discard the first one
because the Location column is not required in PMN. The second message reads as
The table/view 'dbo.UserProfile' does not have a primary key defined and no
valid primary key could be inferred. This table/view has been excluded. To use
the entity, you will need to review your schema, add the correct keys, and
When looking at the UserProfile view, you'll notice it does not explicitly
define a primary key even though the UserName column is unique.
You need to modify the EDM manually to fix the UserProfile view mapping so that
you can access the UserProfile data from the application.
From the project explorer, right-click the PlanMyNight.edmx file and then select
Open With Choose XML (Text) Editor from the Open With dialog as shown in Figure
8-11. Click OK to open the XML file associated with your model.
FIGURE 8-11 Open PlanMyNight.edmx in the XML Editor
Note You'll get a warning stating that the PlanMyNight.edmx file is
already open. Click Yes to close it.
The generated code was commented out by the code-generation tool because there
was no primary key defined. To be able to use the UserProfile view from the
designer, you need to uncomment the UserProfile entity type and add the Key tag
to it. Search for UserProfile in the file. Uncomment the entity type, add a Key
tag and set its name to UserName and make the UserName property not nullable.
Refer to Listing 8-1 to see the updated entity type.
LISTING 8-1 UserProfile Entity Type XML Definition
<Property Name="UserName" Type="uniqueidentifier" Nullable="false"
<Property Name="FullName" Type="varchar" MaxLength="500"
<Property Name="City" Type="varchar" MaxLength="500"
<Property Name="State" Type="varchar" MaxLength="500"
<Property Name="PreferredActivityTypeId" Type="int"
If you close the XML file and try to open the EDM Designer, you'll get the
following error message in the designer: "The Entity Data Model Designer is
unable to display the file you requested. You can edit the model using the XML
There is a warning in the Error List pane that can give you a little more
insight into what this error is all about:
Error 11002: Entity type 'UserProfile' has no entity set.
You need to define an entity set for the UserProfile type so that it can map the
entity type to the store schema. Open the PlanMyNight.edmx file in the XML
editor so that you can define an entity set for UserProfile. At the top of the
file, just above the Itinerary entity set, add the XML code shown in Listing
LISTING 8-2 UserProfile EntitySet XML Definition
<EntitySet Name="UserProfile" EntityType="Entities.Store.UserProfile" store:Type="Views" store:Schema="dbo" store:Name="UserProfile">
[UserProfile].[UserName] AS [UserName],
[UserProfile].[FullName] AS [FullName],
[UserProfile].[City] AS [City],
[UserProfile].[State] AS [State],
[UserProfile].[PreferredActivityTypeId] as [PreferredActivityTypeId]
FROM [dbo].[UserProfile] AS [UserProfile]
Save the EDM XML file, and reopen the EDM Designer. Figure 8-12 shows the
UserProfile view in the Entities.Store section of the Model Browser.
Tip You can open the Model Browser from the View menu by clicking Other
Windows and selecting the Entity Data Model Browser item.
FIGURE 8-12 Model Browser with the UserProfile view
Now that the view is available in the store metadata, you add the UserProfile
entity and map it to the UserProfile view. Right-click in the background of the
EDM Designer, select Add, and then choose Entity. You'll see the dialog shown in
FIGURE 8-13 Add Entity dialog
Complete the dialog as shown in Figure 8-13, and click OK to generate the
You need to add the remaining properties: City, State, and
PreferredActivityTypeId. To do so, right-click the UserProfile entity, select
Add, and then select Scalar Property. After the property is added, set the Type,
Max Length, and Unicode field values. Table 8-1 shows the expected values for
each of the fields.
TABLE 8-1 UserProfile Entity Properties
Now that you have created the UserProfile entity, you need to map it to the
UserProfile view. Right-click the UserProfile entity, and select Table Mapping
as shown in Figure 8-14.
FIGURE 8-14 Table Mapping menu item
Then select the UserProfile view from the drop-down box as shown in Figure 8-15.
Ensure that all the columns are correctly mapped to the entity properties. The
UserProfile view of our store is now accessible from the code through the
FIGURE 8-15 UserProfile mapping details
Stored Procedure and Function Imports
The Entity Data Model Wizard has created an entry in the storage model for the
RetrieveItinerariesWithinArea stored procedure you selected in the last step of
the wizard. You need to create a corresponding entry to the conceptual model by
adding a Function Import entry.
From the Model Browser, open the Stored Procedures folder in the Entities.Store
section. Right-click RetrieveItineraryWithinArea, and then select Add Function
Import. The Add Function Import dialog appears as shown in Figure 8-16. Specify
the return type by selecting Entities and then select the Itinerary item from
the drop-down box. Click OK.
FIGURE 8-16 Add Function Import dialog
The RetrieveItinerariesWithinArea function import was added to the Model Browser
as shown in Figure 8-17.
Function Imports in the Model Browser You can now validate the EDM by
right-clicking on the design surface and selecting Validate. There should be no
error or warning.
EF: Model First
In the prior section, you saw how to use the EF designer to generate the model
by importing an existing database. The EF designer in Visual Studio 2010 also
supports the ability to generate the Data Definition Language (DDL) file that
will allow you to create a database based on your entity model. In this section,
you'll use a new solution to learn how to generate a database script from a
You can start from an empty model by selecting the Empty model option from the
Entity Data Model Wizard. (See Figure 8-18.)
Note To get the wizard, right-click the PlanMyNight.Data project, select
Add, and then choose New Item. Select the ADO.NET Entity Data Model item.
FIGURE 8-18 EDM Wizard: Empty model
Open the PMN solution at %userprofile%\Documents\Microsoft Press\Moving to
Visual Studio 2010\Chapter 8\Code\ModelFirst by double-clicking the
The PlanMyNight.Data project from this solution already contains an EDM file
named PlanMyNight.edmx with some entities already created. These entities match
the data schema you saw in Figure 8-2.
The Entity Model designer lets you easily add an entity to your data model.
Let's add the missing ZipCode entity to the model. From the toolbox, drag an
Entity item into the designer, as shown in Figure 8-19. Rename the entity as
ZipCode. Rename the Id property as Code, and change its type to String.
FIGURE 8-19 Entity Model designer
You need to add the City and State properties to the entity. Right-click the
ZipCode entity, select Add, and then choose Scalar Property. Ensure that each
property has the values shown in Table 8-2.
TABLE 8-2 ZipCode Entity Properties
Add the relations between the ItineraryComment and Itinerary entities.
Right-click the designer background, select Add, and then choose Association.
(See Figure 8-20.)
FIGURE 8-20 Add Association dialog for FK_ItineraryCommentItinerary
Visual Studio 2008 Foreign key associations are now included in the .NET 4.0
version of the Entity Framework. This allows you to have Foreign properties on
your entities. Foreign Key Associations is now the default type of association,
but the Independent Associations supported in .NET 3.5 are still available.
Set the association name to FK_ItineraryCommentItinerary, and then select the
entity and the multiplicity for each end, as shown in Figure 8-20. After the
association is created, double- click the association line to set the
Referential Constraint as shown in Figure 8-21.
FIGURE 8-21 Association Referential Constraint dialog
Add the association between the ItineraryRating and Itinerary entities.
Right-click the designer background, select Add, and then choose Association.
Set the association name to FK_ItineraryItineraryRating and then select the
entity and the multiplicity for each end as in the previous step, except set the
first end to ItineraryRating. Double-click on the association line, and set the
Referential Constraint as shown in Figure 8-21. Note that the Dependent field
will read ItineraryRating instead of ItineraryComment. Create a new association
between the ItineraryActivity and Itinerary entities. For the
FK_ItineraryItineraryActivity association, you want to also create a navigation
property and name it Activities, as shown in Figure 8-22. After the association
is created, set the Referential Constraint for this association by
double-clicking on the association line.
FIGURE 8-22 Add Association dialog for FK_ItineraryActivityItinerary
Generating the Database Script from the Model Your data model is now completed
but there is no mapping or store associated with it. The EF designer offers the
possibility of generating a database script from our model.
Right-click on the designer surface, and choose Generate Database From Model as
shown in Figure 8-23.
FIGURE 8-23 Generate Database From Model menu item
The Generate Database Wizard requires a data connection. The wizard uses the
connection information to translate the model types to the database type and to
generate a DDL script targeting this database.
Select New Connection, select Microsoft SQL Server Database File from the Choose
Data Source dialog, and click Continue. Select the database file located at %userprofile%\Documents\Microsoft
Press\Moving to Visual Studio 2010\Chapter 8\Code\ModelFirst\Data\PlanMyNight.mdf.
(See Figure 8-24.)
FIGURE 8-24 Generate a script database connection
After your connection is configured, click Next to get to the final page of the
wizard, as shown in Figure 8-25. When you click Finish, the generated T-SQL
PlanMyNight.edmx.sql file is added to your project. The DDL script will generate
the primary and foreign key constraints for your model.
FIGURE 8-25 Generated T-SQL file
The EDM is also updated to ensure your newly created store is mapped to the
entities. You can now use the generated DDL script to add the tables to the
database. Also, you now have a data layer that exposes strongly typed entities
that you can use in your application.
Important Generating the complete PMN database would require adding the
remaining tables, stored procedures, and triggers used by the application.
Instead of performing all these operations, we will go back to the solution we
had at the end of the "EF: Importing an Existing Database" section.
The EDM Designer uses T4 templates to generate the code for the entities. So
far, we have let the designer create the entities using the default templates.
You can take a look at the code generated by opening the PlanMyNight.Designer.cs
file associated with PlanMyNight.edmx. The generated entities are based on the
EntityObject type and decorated with attributes to allow the EF to manage them
at run time.
Note T4 stands for Text Template Transformation Toolkit. T4 support in Visual
Studio 2010 allows you to easily create your own templates and generate any type
of text file (Web, resource, or source). To learn more about the code generation
in Visual Studio 2010, visit Code Generation and Text Templates (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb126445(VS.100).aspx).
The EF also supports POCO entity types. POCO classes are simple objects with no
attributes or base class related to the framework. (Listing 8-3, in the next
section, shows the POCO class for the ZipCode entity.) The EF uses the names of
the types and the properties of these objects to map them to the model at run
Note POCO stands for Plain-Old CLR Objects.
ADO.NET POCO Entity Generator
Let's re-open the %userprofile%\Documents\Microsoft Press\Moving to Visual
Studio 2010\Chapter 8\Code\ExistingDatabase\PlanMyNight.sln file.
Open the PlanMyNight.edmx file, right-click on the design surface, and choose
Add Code Generation Item. This opens a dialog like the one shown in Figure 8-26,
where you can select the template you want to use. Select the ADO.NET POCO
Entity Generator template, and name it PlanMyNight.tt. Then click the Add
Note You might get a security warning about running this text template.
Click OK to close the dialog because the source for this template is trusted.
FIGURE 8-26 Add New Item dialog
Two files, PlanMyNight.tt and PlanMyNight.Context.tt, have been added to your
project, as shown in Figure 8-27. These files replace the default
code-generation template, and the code is no longer generated in the
FIGURE 8-27 Added templates
The PlanMyNight.tt template produces a class file for each entity in the model.
Listing 8-3 shows the POCO version of the ZipCode class.
LISTING 8-3 POCO Version of the ZipCode Class
public partial class ZipCode
public virtual string Code
public virtual string City
public virtual string State
The other file, PlanMyNight.Context.cs, generates the ObjectContext object for
the PlanMyNight.edmx model. This is the object you'll use to interact with the
Tip The POCO templates will automatically update the generated classes to
reflect the changes to your model when you save the .edmx file.
Moving the Entity Classes to the Contracts Project
We have designed the PMN application architecture to ensure that the
presentation layer was persistence ignorant by moving the contracts and entity
classes to an assembly that has no reference to the storage.
Visual Studio 2008 Even though it was possible to extend the XSD processing with
code-generator tools, it was not easy and you had to maintain these tools. The
EF uses T4 templates to generate both the database schema and the code. These
templates can easily be customized to your needs.
The ADO.NET POCO templates split the generation of the entity classes into a
allowing you to easily move these entities to a different project.
You are going to move the PlanMyNight.tt file to the PlanMyNight.Contracts
project. Right-click the PlanMyNight.tt file, and select Cut. Right-click the
Entities folder in the PlanMyNight.Contracts project, and select Paste. The
result is shown in Figure 8-28.
FIGURE 8-28 POCO template moved to the Contracts project
The PlanMyNight.tt template relies on the metadata from the EDM model to
generate the entity type's code. You need to fix the relative path used by the
template to access the EDMX file.
Open the PlanMyNight.tt template and locate the following line:
string inputFile = @"PlanMyNight.edmx";
Fix the file location so that it points to the PlanMyNight.edmx file in the
string inputFile = @"..\..\PlanMyNight.Data\PlanMyNight.edmx";
The entity classes are regenerated when you save the template.
You also need to update the PlanMyNight.Context.tt template in the
PlanMyNight.Contracts project because the entity classes are now in the
Microsoft.Samples.PlanMyNight.Entities namespace instead of the
Microsoft.Samples.PlanMyNight.Data namespace. Open the PlanMyNight.Context.tt
file, and update the using section to include the new namespace:
Build the solution by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B. The project should now compile
Putting It All Together
Now that you have created the generic code layer to interact with your SQL
database, you are ready to start implementing the functionalities specific to
the PMN application. In the upcoming sections, you'll walk through this process,
briefly look at getting the data from the Bing Maps services, and get a quick
introduction to the Microsoft Windows Server AppFabric Caching feature used in
There is a lot of plumbing pieces of code required to get this all together. To
simplify the process, you'll use an updated solution where the contracts,
entities, and most of the connecting pieces to the Bing Maps services have been
coded. The solution will also include the PlanMyNight.Data.Test project to help
you validate the code from the PlanMyNight.Data project.
Note Testing in Visual Studio 2010 will be covered in Chapter 10.
Getting Data from the Database
At the beginning of this chapter, we decided to group the operations on the
Itinerary entity in the IItinerariesRepository repository interface. Some of
these operations are
- Searching for Itinerary by Activity
- Searching for Itinerary by ZipCode
- Searching for Itinerary by Radius
- Adding a new Itinerary
Let's take a look at the corresponding methods
in the IItinerariesRepository interface:
- SearchByActivity allows searching for itineraries by activity and returning a page of data.
- SearchByZipCode allows searching for itineraries by Zip Code and returning a page of data.
- SearchByRadius allows searching for itineraries from a specific location and returning a page of data.
- Add allows you to add an itinerary to the database.
Open the PMN solution at %userprofile%\Documents\Microsoft
Press\Moving to Visual Studio 2010\Chapter 8\Code\Final by double-clicking the
Select the PlanMyNight.Data project, and open the ItinerariesRepository.cs file.
This is the IItinerariesRepository interface implementation. Using the
PlanMyNightEntities Object Context you generated earlier, you can write LINQ
queries against your model, and the EF will translate these queries to native
T-SQL that will be executed against the database.
Navigate to the SearchByActivity function definition. This method must return a
set of itineraries where the IsPublic flag is set to true and where one of their
activities has the same activityId that was passed in the argument to the
function. You also need to order the result itinerary list by the rating field.
Using standard LINQ operators, you can implement SearchByActivity as shown in
Listing 8-4. Add the highlighted code to the SearchByActivity method body.
LISTING 8-4 SearchByActivity Implementation
public PagingResult<Itinerary> SearchByActivity(string
activityId, int pageSize,
ctx = new PlanMyNightEntities())
var query =
from itinerary in
itinerary.Activities.Any(t => t.ActivityId == activityId)
Note The resulting paging is implemented in the PageResults method:
query, int page, int
int rowCount = rowCount =
if (pageSize > 0)
query = query.Skip((page - 1) * pageSize)
var result =
PageSize = pageSize,
CurrentPage = page,
TotalItems = rowCount
IQueryable<Itinerary> is passed to this function so that it can add the paging
to the base query composition. Passing IQueryable instead of IEnumerable ensures
that the T-SQL created for the query against the repository will be generated
only when query.ToArray is called.
The SearchByZipCode function method is similar to the SearchByActivity method,
but it also adds a filter on the Zip Code of the activity. Here again, LINQ
support makes it easy to implement, as shown in Listing 8-5. Add the highlighted
code to the SearchByZipCode method body.
LISTING 8-5 SearchByZipCode Implementation
public PagingResult<Itinerary> SearchByZipCode(int
activityTypeId, string zip,
int pageSize, int
ctx = new PlanMyNightEntities())
var query =
from itinerary in
itinerary.Activities.Any(t => t.TypeId == activityTypeId && t.Zip == zip)
The SearchByRadius function calls the RetrieveItinerariesWithinArea import
function that was mapped to a stored procedure. It then loads the activities for
each itinerary found. You can copy the highlighted code in Listing 8-6 to the
SearchByRadius method body in the ItinerariesRepository.cs file.
LISTING 8-6 SearchByRadius Implementation
public PagingResult<Itinerary> SearchByRadius(int
activityTypeId, double longitude,
double latitude, double
ctx = new PlanMyNightEntities())
// Stored Procedure with output
var totalOutput =
var items =
ctx.RetrieveItinerariesWithinArea(activityTypeId, latitude, longitude, radius,
pageSize, pageNumber, totalOutput).ToArray();
item in items)
int total = totalOutput.Value ==
DBNull.Value ? 0 : (int)totalOutput.Value;
TotalItems = total,
PageSize = pageSize,
CurrentPage = pageNumber
The Add method allows you to add Itinerary to the data store. Implementing this
functionality becomes trivial because your contract and context object use the
same entity object. Copy and paste the highlighted code in Listing 8-7 to the
Add method body.
LISTING 8-7 Add Implementation
ctx = new PlanMyNightEntities())
There you have it! You have completed the ItinerariesRepository implementation
using the context object generated using the EF designer. Run all the tests in
the solution by pressing Ctrl+R, A. The tests related to the
ItinerariesRepository implementation should all succeed.
With the advances in multicore computing, it is becoming more and more important
for developers to be able to write parallel applications. Visual Studio 2010 and
the .NET Framework 4.0 provide new ways to express concurrency in applications.
The Task Parallel Library (TPL) is now part of the Base Class Library (BCL) for
the .NET Framework. This means that every .NET application can now access the
TPL without adding any assembly reference.
PMN stores only the Bing Activity ID for each ItineraryActivity to the database.
When it's time to retrieve the entire Bing Activity object, a function that
iterates through each of the ItineraryActivity instances for the current
Itinerary is used to populate the Bing Activity entity from the Bing Maps Web
One way of performing this operation is to sequentially call the service for
each activity in the Itinerary as shown in Listing 8-8. This function waits for
each call to RetrieveActivity to complete before making another call, which has
the effect of making its execution time linear.
LISTING 8-8 Activity Sequential Retrieval
item in itinerary.Activities.Where(i =>
i.Activity == null))
item.Activity = this.RetrieveActivity(item.ActivityId);
In the past, if you wanted to parallelize this task, you had to use threads and
then hand off work to them. With the TPL, all you have to do now is use a
Parallel.ForEach that will take care of the threading for you as seen in Listing
LISTING 8-9 Activity Parallel Retrieval
Parallel.ForEach(itinerary.Activities.Where(i => i.Activity ==
item.Activity = this.RetrieveActivity(item.ActivityId);
See Also The .NET Framework 4.0 now includes the Parallel LINQ libraries (in
System.Core.dll). PLINQ introduces the .AsParallel extension to perform parallel
operations in LINQ queries. You can also easily enforce the treatment of a data
source as if it was ordered by using the .AsOrdered extensions. Some new
thread-safe collections have also been added in the
System.Collections.Concurrent namespace. You can learn more about these new
features from Parallel Computing on MSDN (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/concurrency/default.aspx).
PMN is a data-driven application that gets its data from the application
database and the Bing Maps Web services. One of the challenges you might face
when building a Web application is managing the needs of a large number of
users, including performance and response time. The operations that use the data
store and the services used to search for activities can increase the usage of
server resources dramatically for items that are shared across many users. For
example, many users have access to the public itineraries, so displaying these
will generate numerous calls to the database for the same items. Implementing
caching at the Web tier will help reduce usage of the resources at the data
store and help mitigate latency for recurring searches to the Bing Maps Web
services. Figure 8-29 shows the architecture for an application implementing a
caching solution at the front-end server.
Typical Web application architecture Using this approach reduces the pressure on
the data layer, but the caching is still coupled to a specific server serving
the request. Each Web tier server will have its own cache, but you can still end
up with an uneven distribution of the processing to these servers.
Windows Server AppFabric caching offers a distributed, in-memory cache platform.
The AppFabric client library allows the application to access the cache as a
unified view event if the cache is distributed across multiple computers, as
shown in Figure 8-30. The API provides simple get and set methods to retrieve
and store any serializable common language runtime (CLR) objects easily. The
AppFabric cache allows you to add a cache computer on demand, thus making it
possible to scale in a manner that is transparent to the client. Another benefit
is that the cache can also share copies of the data across the cluster, thereby
protecting data against failure.
FIGURE 8-30 Web application using Windows Server AppFabric caching
See Also Windows Server AppFabric caching is available as a set of extensions to
the .NET Framework 4.0. For more information about how to get, install, and
configure Windows Server AppFabric, please visit Windows Server AppFabric (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/ee695849.aspx).
See Also PMN can be configured to use either ASP.NET caching or Windows Server
AppFabric caching. A complete
walkthrough describing how to add Windows Server AppFabric caching to PMN is
available here: PMN: Adding Caching using Velocity
In this chapter, you used a few of the new Visual Studio 2010 features to
structure the data layer of the Plan My Night application using the Entity
Framework version 4.0 to access a database. You also were introduced to
automated entity generation using the ADO.NET Entity Framework POCO templates
and to the Windows Server AppFabric caching extensions.
In the next chapter, you will explore how the ASP.NET MVC framework and the
Managed Extensibility Framework can help you build great Web applications.